Galveston/Moody Gardens... What activities are worth the money?

rnorwo1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
We were thinking of taking a spur of the moment trip to Galveston/ Moody Gardens next weekend. We may get there in time for the festival of lights Fri night, then we will have all day Saturday and Sunday for fun. Which activities are worth the money there? Doing all of them will be pricey so want to only pick sure-hits.

We can get the day passes, but there are 5 of us (kids 11, 7, and 3) and that will be $250 for one day. The annual membership is $320 I think... are these attractions worth coming back another time to do again? We have to go to Houston for DS11's drs appts frequently, so there will be other times for us to "stop by" on the way there from home (baton rouge area, 4 1/2 hour drive or so).

Also, is it worth it to stay at the MG hotel there? It'll be $500 for two nights! If not, any other nearby hotel suggestions that are kid friendly and not outrageously priced?

What about Schlitterbahn's indoor water park? Is it worth the money? In case we only choose one or two activities at MG instead of the unlimited, this may be another option for entertainment.

Oh, and Any good, family friendly restaurants in the area?
Thanks for any advice!
 

erin22

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
The aquarium is nice and the rainforest pyramid is neat too, but by the time you pay for those two you are pretty much at the cost of the day pass.

We took two 12 year olds and spent from 10-2 there and we were done with everything.

Schlitterbahn's indoor park is on the small side, but the girls were content to go around the wave river for hours.
 

rnorwo1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
The aquarium is nice and the rainforest pyramid is neat too, but by the time you pay for those two you are pretty much at the cost of the day pass.

We took two 12 year olds and spent from 10-2 there and we were done with everything.

Schlitterbahn's indoor park is on the small side, but the girls were content to go around the wave river for hours.
Do you mean you were done with those two, the aquarium and the rainforest, in 4 hours, or everything there? I looked at everything over and over and this is really going to be an expensive two days, well over $1000. I am desperate to go somewhere, we've had so much going on and I would love to give the kids a couple of carefree days, but geez, that's a lot!
 

erin22

Earning My Ears
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
We did the aquarium, rain forest, ride film, 3d movie, 4d movie, and browsed the gift shop in that time. I don't think it is worth the cost.
 

rnorwo1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
Wow! Thanks for the info, I really need to reconsider this. $1k will go a long way on a nicer, longer trip somewhere else.
 

Jedimike

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 10, 2011
I agree with previous posters -- Moody Gardens not worth the cost. When we first moved to the Houston area 6 years ago, we went down there, thought the Annual Pass looked like a deal since it would pay for itself in only two visits, but then we never went back. Not once the rest of the year. The one visit was pretty short and we saw everything. I've been to Aquariums all over the country, and most are better than the Moody Gardens one. The part of Moody Gardens we enjoy the most is the Hurricane Beach, but it is only open in the summer.

San Antonio is much more fun. The Sea World park/resort is growing and is a lot of fun.
 

rnorwo1

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2006
I agree with previous posters -- Moody Gardens not worth the cost. When we first moved to the Houston area 6 years ago, we went down there, thought the Annual Pass looked like a deal since it would pay for itself in only two visits, but then we never went back. Not once the rest of the year. The one visit was pretty short and we saw everything. I've been to Aquariums all over the country, and most are better than the Moody Gardens one. The part of Moody Gardens we enjoy the most is the Hurricane Beach, but it is only open in the summer.

San Antonio is much more fun. The Sea World park/resort is growing and is a lot of fun.
SA was my first plan, but I don't know about the drive for just two nights. I'm looking now at maybe still going to Galveston but staying at a much cheaper hotel and just doing the festival of lights and the indoor waterpark. We can do that for half the price.
Would still love other ideas!
 
  • sissy_ib

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2010
    Moody Gardens is nice but in no way worth the kind of money you are talking. $250 for the day you could go somewhere much better! If you have been to a decent zoo and aquarium Moody Gardens will not impress you at all. In fact everything I have seen on Galveston is overrated.
     

    Gina

    Remembers the Great DIS Board Crash of '99
    Joined
    Aug 16, 1999
    WOW... I don't know what Galveston you people have seen, but even going all the time DS & I can't get enough. Especially at Moody Gardens! And I used to live in San Antonio -- I'll take Galveston ANY day!! :cloud9:

    The Aquarium Pyramid is wonderful... the Rainforest Pyramid even better! Maybe if you rush through going "Oh look, a fish", and "Oh look, a monkey" you might be bored, but thankfully we're not that jaded. The details are phenomenal -- I love to just sit on a bench in the middle of the Rainforest Pyramid and listen to all the birds and watch the monkeys scampering overhead.

    Then there's the IMAX-3D theater, and the 4D Special FX theater -- kids love those. And don't forget a ride on the Colonel paddlewheel boat! And the Festival of Lights is just breathtaking... absolutely amazing. Will definitely put you in the holiday spirit.

    If you check at their website, the hotel (which is GORGEOUS) has several packages available that include the room as well as either Moody gardens tickets or Festival of Lights passes.
    http://moodygardenshotel.com/special_offers/

    Also, check out the Island Pass and see if there are 4 or more activities there that you might want to do. You'll save big bucks if there are. http://www.galvestonislandpass.com/default.aspx

    If you're looking to save money over the Moody Gardens Hotel, check out Inn at the Waterpark -- right by both Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn, and fun for kids with a neat miniature golf course. They have packages that include MG tickets, with the whole thing being a lot less than the MG Hotel. http://www.innatthewaterpark.com/default-en.html

    Hope this helps... I'm still :eek: that somebody would prefer San Antonio over Galveston... lol


    -gina-


    EDIT: Even better -- there's currently a Groupon for MG and the Festival of Lights! http://www.groupon.com/deals/moody-gardens-houston-2
     

    rnorwo1

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 23, 2006
    WOW... I don't know what Galveston you people have seen, but even going all the time DS & I can't get enough. Especially at Moody Gardens! And I used to live in San Antonio -- I'll take Galveston ANY day!! :cloud9:

    The Aquarium Pyramid is wonderful... the Rainforest Pyramid even better! Maybe if you rush through going "Oh look, a fish", and "Oh look, a monkey" you might be bored, but thankfully we're not that jaded. The details are phenomenal -- I love to just sit on a bench in the middle of the Rainforest Pyramid and listen to all the birds and watch the monkeys scampering overhead.

    Then there's the IMAX-3D theater, and the 4D Special FX theater -- kids love those. And don't forget a ride on the Colonel paddlewheel boat! And the Festival of Lights is just breathtaking... absolutely amazing. Will definitely put you in the holiday spirit.

    If you check at their website, the hotel (which is GORGEOUS) has several packages available that include the room as well as either Moody gardens tickets or Festival of Lights passes.
    http://moodygardenshotel.com/special_offers/

    Also, check out the Island Pass and see if there are 4 or more activities there that you might want to do. You'll save big bucks if there are. http://www.galvestonislandpass.com/default.aspx

    If you're looking to save money over the Moody Gardens Hotel, check out Inn at the Waterpark -- right by both Moody Gardens and Schlitterbahn, and fun for kids with a neat miniature golf course. They have packages that include MG tickets, with the whole thing being a lot less than the MG Hotel. http://www.innatthewaterpark.com/default-en.html

    Hope this helps... I'm still :eek: that somebody would prefer San Antonio over Galveston... lol


    -gina-


    EDIT: Even better -- there's currently a Groupon for MG and the Festival of Lights! http://www.groupon.com/deals/moody-gardens-houston-2
    Thanks for the groupon link... I'll go back and do the math and see. I lookd at the inn at the waterpark but the reviews are not great, so I'm a little leary of that. I know that my kids would enjoy all of the activities there, I just can't let go of what else we can do for that kind of money, lol! We went to a dinosaur exhibit there years ago and thought the grounds and hotel were beautiful... I know I need to decide soon! Thanks again!
     

    naomi78155

    SAHM 2two. LOVE DiS!
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2009
    So glad I found this thread! DD 5 and I will be in Galveston this weekend. I was thinking about the FOL and snow tubing at MG! We will be at a dance convention, so our free time is limited.
     
  • MomOf3LovesMickey

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2010
    I live in Galveston County and just saw in the paper Sunday that when you go to the Festival of Lights you can purchase tickets to the other attractions for $6. Major Savings! And like a PP said make sure to take that report card! Also there are other times of the year when it is totally worth the admission. I took my kids to see Bodies Revealed at the Discovery pyramid last year and I would have totally paid $25 for that.
     

    dolphinrescuegirl

    <marquee><font color=deeppink>I rather be swimming
    Joined
    Feb 17, 2006
    We actually got married at Moody Gardens in the aquarium part. There is also a rainforest, IMAX, and a 4D ride. Totally worth the $$ and we went all the time even though DH worked there.

    Also loved Schlitterbahn and would have gotten passes. We only got to go a couple of times as they opened right before we moved to FL. There is also a nice railroad musuem.

    Salsa's has the best Mexican food around! DH and I missit a lot!! There is also a rainforest cafe. During the summer the strand is fun to walk down with street performers. They also have performers in front of rainforest cafe during summer. Lots of nice restaurants along the water behind the strand.


    The ferry is a free ride and that's how we did our dolphin watching! Always guaranteed except in winter when they migrated south.

    Sometimes I really miss living in Galveston!
     


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