Galveston Island is about 50 minutes from Houston and on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The Island has a very different feel to Houston - it's relaxed and quite easy going.
There are two main areas - the East Beach area and the West Beach area. I've not explored either so I can't really go on about the virtue of either.
The coastline is very pretty during the day and the evening. It can be quite stormy at times as well - avoid the area is there is a Hurricane coming this way! Galveston Island was virtually distroyed by a Hurricane at the beginning of the 20th century. Sea defences have protected the area since it was rebuilt.
I just came back from a visit to Moody Gardens and found the place sad. Stay away!
I did not have too much time to spend here, so my review is going to be restricted to just one attraction- The Ridefilm.
Here is the description of this ride on the Moody Gardens website:
"Strap on your seatbelt and hold on for an incredible experience! Ridefilm technology offers the ultimate in high-impact, immersive simulation. Each 18-passenger ride is surrounded by a seamless 180° wraparound screen that fully encompasses each viewer's peripheral vision. High quality images and awesome sound combine to make you a part of the action."
Is this the same film I saw? Or are we talking about two entirely different things?
Only two things in the above description are accurate:
1. It is an 18-passenger ride
2. You must fasten your seat belts to ride
Let me tell you about the Ridefilm I saw at Moody Gardens:
1. Incredible experience? My foot! Like motion simulators? Go try the ones at Disneyland and Universal studios. Skip this excuse for a motion simulator. Perhaps that is why they coined a new term for it- 'Ridefilm'.
2. High impact? In fact, there was no impact at all, save for a few jerky movements. 3. Ridefilm technology? Duh!
4. High quality images? You see blurred images of dinosaurs.
5. Awesome sound- Yes, the dinosaurs keep growling and hissing. Period.
We entered the ride with high expectations. But what a let down it was!
Five minutes later and around 40 dollars poorer (The ridefilm is 8.95/person), we left Moody Gardens promising ourselves we would never go back.
When we were heading out, we heard a mom ask her kids, "Did you enjoy the Ridefilm?" and they barely nodded. The answer was evident from their bored faces.
The Ridefilm is not fit to be called a ride or even a film. Moody Gardens should take it off their list of attractions. But if they took off every bad ride and attractions, they would be left with nothing, wouldn't they?
Galveston is definitely worth a day trip from Houston. Walk on the board walk; visit the aquarium; eat great seafood or ride the ferry. All are enjoyable. One recommendation would be to call the visitor's information and check to see if any major groups are visiting during the time of your stay. Growing up my grandparents would take my brother and I to Galveston every summer. Since my Grandmother recently passed away, I wanted to go to Galveston to walk along the seawall and remember good times. My plan didn't quite work out as it was black fraternity weekend the day that I was there and there was many 100 's of thousands attending. At the time I was pregnant and white well I'm still white but not pregnant so I stuck out like a sore thumb. Mind you, everyone was friendly but I wasn't able to commune with nature and reminence.
At the Eastern tip of Galveston island, there is a ferry that links Galveston to the next barrier island (well peninsula in this case!) along the Gulf of Mexico, Bolivar Peninsula. From the ferry, you have a great view on Galveston Bay, on the tankers, sailboats and all the possible boats crossing the bay. If you are lucky, you might see dolphins following the ferry! There is a ferry every 20 mn, 24 hours a day. A 15 minute cruise which is free and fun!