Moody Gardens — Rainforest Pyramid
Murdochs Souvenir Shop
I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Galveston’s west end has 2 “pocket beaches” along Seawall Boulevard. Each of these beaches has parking and lovely beach access and they are free if you are walking or bicycling. The day use charge for vehicles is $12 per weekday, or $15 on weekends or holidays or an annual pass for $50. The one I visited the most was at 7 1/2 mile road and was called Pocket Beach #1. Vehicles are allowed to drive on the beach. I was able to ride my bicycle over from Stella Mare RV Park in the summer of 2018. In in the winter of 2019, I was able to walk over from Dellanera RV Park which is just to the east with connecting beaches. They require dogs to be leashed but in the winter when few people are around, many dog owners let their dogs off leash.
Moody Gardens is a tourist attraction complex with various exhibits that you can pay for individually. Upon advice from friends, I paid for the Rainforest Pyramid rather than the aquarium while visiting. I rushed through because there was a large group of high school students just behind me, about 60-100 of them! It took me about 40 minutes to go through all the exhibits and return to my starting point. Be forewarned that when you first enter the pyramid, it is very humid. My camera lens was constantly fogging up and it was hard to take pictures. I was charged the senior rate, even though I’m not 65 yet and paid just under $20 for my ticket. You can purchase combo tickets if you want to take in more than one venue on the day you are visiting. In addition to the rainforest exhibits, there is a movie available but I didn’t stay for that. During the winter months, some of the outdoor animals are not on exhibit. There is a large gift shop at the entrance to the rainforest pyramid and I’m sure there is a gift shop at the aquarium as well. There are buffets and special holiday events as well as animal encounters that you can pay for as well. I can imagine that this place will get very crowded in summer months. I wasn’t sure where to park and ended up doing quite a bit of walking. Be prepared.
Murdochs is an iconic Galveston souvenir shop and historic location on the west end which has been re-built following hurricanes several times . There is parallel parking on Seawall Blvd and be prepared for lots of cars during holidays and weekends. Even if you don’t buy anything, while in Galveston, this should be one of your must-see stops.