Moody Gardens &  NASA
just south of Houston

his past weekend we went to Moody Gardens in Galveston (Sat.) Then to NASA on Sunday. Here are some pics and my reviews if you haven't gone there already or are planning to go.

Moody Gardens is just across the causeway on Galveston Island. You can't help but see it as you cross because it consists of three huge pyramids ... one blue, one glass, one brown. They just look huge because there are no other buildings around to give them scale. They're maybe 75 to 100 feet tall actually.

blue pyramid - 45kb

Looks like the pyramid of Cheops doesn't it? This is the aquarium. It's probably the best attraction here ... a world class aquarium.

rain forest pyramid - 11kbHere's the glass pyramid. A little smaller than the blue, it's got a rain forest inside ... hence, the glass. It's a greenhouse ... and ... it's hot inside except where the AC vents here and there. The sun's reflection ruined the pic.

Luscious isn't it?

inside the greenhouse - 56kb

You can see a couple of tiny monkeys in there and some birds and fish and turtles, etc. Nice, but not as interesting as the aquarium. I don't have a pic of the brown pyramid. It is the smallest and had some musical gadgets for kids to play with and a stationary "film ride" that tilts on hydraulics. Not too impressive.

ferryboat - 19kb Here's the ferryboat you can ride on. It's roughly the adult equivalent of one of those choochoo trains in the mall for three year olds. It goes over to the causeway and back and that's it. It's slow and takes an hour to do that. If it was my ride, I'd have it partially sink every outing so as to scare the guests into thinking that they were going to die ... you know ... liven up the place. It's free with the package (35 bucks general admission).

birds - 15kb These birds aren't flying actually ... they're hovering over the poop deck waiting for kids to hold up Cheeto's. They pick 'em out of your hand. Buncha' damn beggars. Well, that's all that will be left of nature soon. Great White Shark ... trained to do back flips in exchange for a dead hamster ... good grief.

Overall, it's a fairly pleasant afternoon. I'd say it was about 60% as good as Sea World. It needs more stuff for kids to do though.


Next day we got up and went to NASA. It's not as good as the Florida NASA ... but what ya gonna' do? They just don't shoot 'em off here so there's no space shuttle sitting of the tarmac being rolled into firing position. I've seen a blast off in Florida ... SpaceLab ... the biggest thing sent off in one blastoff. You could only get within 5 miles of the launch. I thought we couldn't hear anything from that distance ... but ... after waiting what seemed like a full minute ... here comes the pounding ... roughly equivalent to rock band concert speakers from about ten feet away ... but this is five freakin' miles. I was duly impressed.

NASA tram - 10kb Well, here in Houston, you get to ride on an open air tram for an hour or so. They have red, white and blue tours but only the red was running today (typical). On one tour, we might have seen the new space lifeboat (the X38) being built ... but ... it was closed. So, we just went out and saw the old control room and then the place where they practice on full scale mockups of the shuttle and space station (in various pieces). Interesting ... but I've seen it before. I'd like to see a full blow rocket test from about 50 feet away ... aaarrrrggghhh!! Some action please.

They have a nice IMAX "meat-locker" movie playing. That's a regular IMAX movie but with an AC setting at around 59o, i.e. a meat-locker. My wife bought me a light cotton jacket because I was freezing in the exhibits ... but it didn't help much in the IMAX. One person was hurt by an icycle falling from the ceiling ... and three died from hypothermia. They tried desperately to thaw them out by blasting them with an old surplus Columbia thruster but that failed. Four hundred other people contracted pneumonia that day alone but they don't care there because ... they have NASA "jumpsuits" which cover them head to foot ... and ... of course, they set the AC for their own comfort. If you ever go to NASA, make sure to go to Alaska first to buy some suitable clothing direct from Eskimos.

To give you an idea of how cold NASA is ... I took my lunch outside to eat on a picnic table so I could warm up my bones which were beginning to rattle. My video camera got all fogged up as soon as we sat down and demanded that I "Remove the Cassette". It wouldn't work till I left the cassette tray open for about ten minutes to thaw out and dry. In Houston, over 3000 people are killed each year in pedestrian-car traffic accidents caused when said pedestrians walk out of restaurants and can't see where they are going because their freakin' glasses are all fogged up.

rockets - 7kb They do have some nice exhibits inside. And, they put in a monkey cage for kids to play in since I last came here about a decade ago. General admission ... $16.95

And, oh yeah ... you get to see some old rockets too. But nothing you'd want to take home as a souvenir. My grandson spyed a great looking space shuttle model hanging from the gift shop ceiling. My wife inquired as to its price ... 900 bucks ... yeah, I guess it was reeeeeeaaaallll nice.

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