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History and Charm in a Small Package-Galveston Island

My first thoughts of a vacation are laid back, no hassle, exotic trips to the beach. My mind has been changed. Last week’s visit to Galveston Island, Texas has made me a convert to sticking to what is right here in the states. Yes Galveston Island has beaches but there is so much more. A city rich in culture, history and pride, Galveston Island offers a little bit of everything for whatever vacation you’re planning; a romantic getaway, a family retreat or a lesson on times past on a small footprint.

Moody Gardens Hotel and Spa Resort- It all started with a decadent suite just for me and Rob. Way too much room for the two of us but it was so nice to have space to spread out and relax in-between activities. Moody Gardens is more than a hotel too; it’s a non-profit foundation for the conservation and education of nature and wildlife. A member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, Moody Gardens works with captive and injured animals and their rehabilitation.

Aquarium Pyramid-More than 10,000 marine animals and 1 million gallons of water is the showcase at Aquarium Pyramid. Coming over the the Galveston Causeway this 10-story blue-glass aquarium stands out against the palm trees and blue skies. The Aquarium Pyramid is separated into 4 regions of the world; Carribean, South Atlantic, North Pacific and South Pacific. Each exhibit is centered around the species from that region and gives an educational overview of their natural habitat, predators and lifespan.
moody gardens pyramid aquarium



Rainforest Pyramid-Glass and steel make up this see through pyramid filled with free roaming exotic animals and birds. A recent $25 million upgrade has revolutionized the way we learn about the rainforest by bringing guests up to the canopy, up close and personal to what lives within. Carnivorous plants, lizards, butterflies, macaws and even a white faced saki monkey can all be seen right before your eyes. Once on the floor you’ll visit the replica home of a giant green anaconda, piranhas and vampire bats.

rainforest pyramid moody gardens

Schlitterbahn Waterpark was a family owned and operated hidden gem located right next to Moody Gardens. From the hotel room you could see the rides and slides and it instantly drew us in. Even though the outside park is open seasonally the indoor park is enough for a family to enjoy a relaxing and exciting day together. We are looking into heading back to enjoy the full park next summer.

Schlitterbahn Cliffhanger ride

learn to body surf at BoogieBahn

Historic Galveston is full of stories, memories and reminders of surviving. Walking and driving past buildings you’ll see markers stating the flood lines from 1900 Hurricane, Hurricane Ike 2008, and others in between. Sea water damaged trees are transformed into pieces of art. Buildings are being brought back to their original state reminiscent of from Being one of the oldest seaports in the States and considered the “Ellis Island of the South” Galveston Island has a deep rooted foundation in maritime operations and immigration. Lots of it’s architecture has stood the test of time and is now protected by the Historical Foundation. Bishops Palace was a place that had to be seen. Built in 1892, this now museum stands as a regal Victorian presence in the midst of smaller less conspicuous homes. It survived the 1900 hurricane virtually unharmed and now attracts visitors who admire works from Nicholas Clayton and home rich in character, charm and eccentric design.

Birds of Galveston Tree Carving

bishops palace galveston tx

Bishops Palace Architecture

bishops palace galveston tx historic mansion

Bishops Palace Details

The Galveston Seawall was built shortly after the 1900 hurricane to protect the island from disastrous storms and surges. The seawall is exactly that, a wall built into the island at the waterline about 17 feet above sea level. Spanning 10 miles long of the 32 mile long island it’s the perfect spot to watch surfers, sunbathers and the tranquil water crashing on the shore. Memorial Day 2012 expect to see a newly constructed Pleasure Pier; an amusement park built right out on the water.

The Hotel Galvez and Spa might be one of the most beautiful architecturally designed hotels I’ve ever seen. It’s multi-leveled roofs, tall windows and grand entrance make it a sight from its historic beachfront. They are celebrating 100 years with a history rich in the military, community and rebuilding of the city. Our next visit to Galveston will hopefully be on one of their rooms overlooking the water; where state of the art meets old world charm.

hotel galvez photo courtesy of Wyndam

Hotel Galvez

I was surprised with the beauty and culture found all over Galveston Island. The people were friendly, the sites were plentiful and the heritage was rich. Since it was just Rob and I that got to enjoy the tours and fun we really want to head back so the kids can experience the fun too.

A special thanks to the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and the participants of the Galveston Island Familiarization tour for hosting us during our Carnival Magic experience. We hope to see you all again soon.

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