After we went to Moody Gardens this summer, Radley asked if we could go back for his birthday. We immediately said yes and were so excited! The plan was for him to bring one friend and we'd spend the night in Galveston on Friday and then spend all day Saturday at Moody Gardens.
Well, the MG aquarium is undergoing a major renovation so it's closed; the Discovery pyramid is switching out their exhibit so it's closed. The beach is only open in the summer. So the only pyramid open at this time is the Rainforest.
BUT, never fear, we still had a blast. We decided to check out the Downtown Aquarium in Houston and stuck with the overnight plan because everyone loves staying in a hotel. Just made the experience more fun. Radley asked his friend, Gabe, to join us and my favorite part of the weekend may have been in the car. We had been driving for maybe 5 minutes and Gabe asked, "Mrs. King - is it okay if Radley opens his present now?" He was too excited to give that gift and Radley was even more excited about the Pikachu Ex(???) cards.
Old Fashioned - with actual whiskey
Goat cheese, blueberry and pecans
Butter biscuits with honey
Sweet potato and marshmallow
The boys both picked banana pudding in a waffle cone.
The aquarium didn't open until 10, so Ryan found us a fun local spot for breakfast. Get in your car/hop a plane/hitchhike with a stranger/steal a car and get yourself to The Breakfast Klub now. It opened at 8, we arrived at 8:10 and the line was already wrapped around the building.
But the wait was more than worth it. (Plus they take your order while you are in line so when you get to your seat there was maybe 5 minutes before our food arrived.)
Ryan ordered the Katfish and Grits with a side of potatoes, the boys got pancakes and fried eggs, and the girls shared the french toast. I ate their scrambled eggs and a few potatoes bc #Whole30. But I would be lying if I said I didn't taste a teeny bite of that toast.
Fantastic, friendly service, fun atmosphere and amazing food. GO!
We still had plenty of time to spare before the aquarium opened and we were first in line to arrive. Ryan and I laughed because it was probably the first time we were early anywhere. Ha! We stopped to snap a quick picture of the kids before we headed in...
And they were so excited about that one, that I made them take one more. Poor Gabe - he isn't used to me yet. ;)
We made our way inside and were treated to a really well-done aquarium. The exhibits were really cool and the signage was creative and educational. The kids loved the jellyfish exhibit because the lights changed colors which made the jellyfish change from orange to yellow to blue. Next to it was torn up plastic shopping bags floating in water and lighting up the same way. It was an awesome example of why it is so important for us to use reusable bags when we can and if we have to use plastic to be mindful of how we dispose of them.
Each exhibit was broken up by region and they got a kick of out the freshwater/swampland section. Gabe wins for most realistic portrayal of a kid on boat.
You can imagine the squeals in this exhibit...
"MOM!!! It's DORYYYYYYY!!!"
Nemo was also around, but he wouldn't sit still for a picture. And since we were the first ones in the place, no one else was around which meant they got this glorious view all to themselves.
My favorite guy was this tiny seahorse. I mean. Can I please just put him in my pocket?
And then in the most random turn of events, they also have a white tiger in the aquarium. They have an overnight program where you can sleep at the aquarium with their Wild Dreams Overnight program. I have to admit, it sounds kind of fun....
The exhibits end straight into their stingray reef where you can pet these cool creatures. Radley got surprised when one of them splashed him and if I'm not mistaken, it was totally on purpose.
You can even buy some fish and feed them - super cool!
We headed outside and boarded the train for the Shark Voyage. The boys didn't want to sit with us and opted for the back of the train.
This takes you inside a tunnel that is filled with sharks. The kids' favorite was this sawfish, which is actually a member of the ray family and not a fish at all.
You sit in the tunnel for a few minutes and just get to see sharks swim all around. Radley was in heaven.
Then we just enjoyed some time in the park area on the rides that were open (lots were closed because lightening was in the area). :(
The aquarium was actually smaller than it seemed online, so we made it through everything rather quickly. We decided to head to the Houston Arboretum and let the kids go on a quick Pokemon hunt. We pulled into the parking lot and it immediately started to rain. Like buckets and buckets of rain. So, we switched gears and headed to....
THE MALL!! HAHAH.
Y'all. I had forgotten how awesome a REAL mall is. I hadn't been to the Galleria in almost a decade which is crazy. We grabbed lunch at the food court, hunted for Pikachu, played with legos, watched ice skaters and just watched a lot of people. When we were wrapping up, Radley asked if we could go back to the aquarium before we headed home and since our passes were good all day, we decided... why not?
And, I had forgotten to take a picture of all of us that morning, so it sounded like a great idea to me!
We made our way back through....
and this time the tiger tried to escape!
The extra bonus to going back was that the rides were open. First up were the brave boys...
then Landry wanted to join...
then Emmy worked up the courage. And y'all - this ride was so cheesy but they road it at least seven times.
Reminding me yet again, that the little things in the life usually bring us the most joy.
So glad we got to celebrate our great big kid with some great big fun!