Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Travel Texas :: Moody Gardens & The Space Center

Have you ever needed a weekend to recover from your weekend? Well, I sure did! I spent all morning Monday at Panera enjoying a mocha and trying to recap everything this past weekend held.

My husband works in a multinational corporation setting and for over a week gentlemen from around the world and country have been training here in Longview. This past weekend, the group headed south to Galveston and Kemah. I was fortunate enough to get to tag along.

Friday afternoon, we loaded up luggage and our group of twenty-one headed to the Galveston area. After checking into our hotel, we hit the Kemah Boardwalk for dinner and fireworks. We dined at Joe's Crab Shack, where the guys told the wait staff it was Jake's birthday. He had to shake salt and pepper shakers and dance while the restaurant sang Happy Birthday; he was a good sport, considering his birthday was months ago!

Needless to say, it was a late night of eating, firework watching, and story telling from around the world. We entertained people from Canada, Brazil, Columbia, South Africa, and Australia, as well as other parts of the U.S.

After a quick lunch at Hooter's Saturday, the group headed to Moody Gardens. Built in the 1980s, the complex includes a one-acre rainforest environment pyramid, the Discovery Pyramid of science exhibitions, a 3-D IMAX theater, and one of the country’s largest aquariums, also housed in a pyramid. A small water park and a replica paddle boat are also on site. The attraction has been renovated and reworked since Jake and I were there in 2001 to celebrate our Honeymoon. Moody Gardens provides an amazing adventure for the young and old alike.

While definitely hot Saturday, the Rainforest Pyramid was my favorite. I remember being in awe when I first visited as a child. Now, visitors experience all levels of the forest and even get up close with butterflies.

The aquarium is a breathtaking experience as onlookers view penguins, seals, sharks, and all things sea. I have an affinity for these creatures.

Bodies Revealed was on exhibit in the Discovery Pyramid. Most of our group enjoyed this exhibit and while I have heard positive things about it, Jake and I choose not to explore. I'm not really into seeing exhibits that could potentially haunt my dreams.

We spent our evening on the Seawall in Galveston at Island Famous' The Spot. A serve yourself style restaurant, The Spot was the fastest way to feed a group as large as ours. After dinner, we made our way to the top level called the Rum Shack and enjoyed the beautiful view.

Jake and I slipped away for a walk along the beach. I haven't been on the beach since 10-30-10 when we left Virginia Beach for Texas, so I wasn't going to miss my chance. It was nice to feel the water and sand on my toes again.

On Sunday morning, we headed to the Johnson Space Center where the International Space Station's Mission Control resides. The Space Center offers a museum as well as tours of the astronaut training facility and the newest mission control room. We got a chance to see a Saturn V rocket up close. Wow! Those astronauts were brave! I ended up purchasing the boys freeze dried space food - after all, what better souvenir could you ask for?

I had a great time with wonderful and interesting company. I enjoyed sharing Texas history with our foreign friends; and it's always neat to see what souvenirs they purchase to remember their time in Texas.

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