Friday, December 7, 2012

Galveston, Texas Revisited

We have now parked our home in Dickinson, Texas.  The town lies between Houston and Galveston.  We were in this area two years ago and have returned because my brother Jared and his wife Sherry live here.  We just had to return to Galveston, I have many happy memories from my childhood of times our family spent on that beach.  John and I were determined to get in some time yesterday just to walk on the sandy shores of the Gulf, which we did.  It was necessary to wear a jacket, but still the sun was warm whenever it did decide to come out.  While on the beach we happened upon Pleasure Pier, a recreational area overlooking the beach with amusement rides.  During World War II it was a recreational facility for the U.S. military.  Hurricanes Carla and Ike destroyed the pier twice since then, this past year it was once again restored.  The majority of our day was spent at Moody Gardens, a resort complex featuring beaches, gardens, a convention center and several theaters.  Three glass pyramids are the centerpieces of this complex.  There is an aquarium, rain forest, and science center in each one of those buildings.  In the background of the picture below is one of the pyramids. The gardens currently are decorated with holiday lights.  We were at the gardens late in the day, just before the lights were turned on.
We toured the Rainforest Pyramid while there was still light.  Immediately upon entering the building an interpretive sign informed us that there are more plants and animals in rainforests than any other habitat on earth.  What a sobering thought, in light of the fact that so many of those rainforests are now gone!  We had a delightful time in this pyramid.  It has streams, waterfalls, exotic plants, tropical fish and birds from the rainforests of Africa, Asia and South America.
One of the species of tropical birds in the rainforest is the scarlet ibis.  The ibis on the left in the picture above is the older one.  It takes 6-8 months for the kids of this species to have their feathers turn from black to pink, because of their special diet.  Also in the Rainforest Pyramid is a Butterfly House.  I could not pass up taking a picture of this zebra longwing who posed so beautifully for me!
Another creature who surprised me by suddenly appearing in front of me was the white-face saki.
I especially was thrilled to see so many orchids in the rainforest.  They are the second largest plant family in the world with about 22,000 to 26,000 different species.  You know one by taste- the vanilla plant.  In the rainforest there was a Christmas tree of tropical plants, including several orchids.
I have mentioned here only a few details of the many awesome sights which we saw in the rainforest.  We certainly spent more time there than we had planned to do, but it was worth every minute!  I will have to write about our time spent in the Aquarium Pyramid for the next posting. 

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