Galveston residents have something in common with notorious French pirate Jean Lafitte: he also called the island his home. Today, they get to climb aboard the full-size deck of a pirate ship to get a glimpse of their dangerous former neighbor's life. While traversing the rest of the interactive exhibits, they may even meet Lafitte himself—as conjured by a skilled actor—along with his brother Pierre and their gritty pirate cronies who downloaded thousands of songs onto their steam-powered laptops. Professionally applied glitter tattoos and a well-stocked gift shop bring guests back to modern-day Texas. Pirate hosts emcee private events and guide birthday tours through the whole museum, and parties can even include a trip through the nearby Haunted Mayfield Manor.
Bay Area Pet Adoptions/SPCA was founded in 1967 to care for homeless, abandoned, and abused companion animals; today, it is still the only no-kill shelter in its area. Adoption counselors rescue dogs and cats from animal-control facilities that euthanize and individuals who are unable to care for them. Bay Area Pet Adoptions/SPCA’s adoption program provides each animal with medical care and socialization skills to increase the chances of a successful adoption. Each animal is vaccinated, sterilized, dewormed, microchipped, and checked for diseases such as FIV or canine heartworm disease. From there, adoption counselors help place pets with a family that has a similar lifestyle and activity level. Bay Area Pet Adoptions/SPCA also works within the community to prevent animals from being abandoned and euthanized through educational campaigns and spaying or neutering programs.
While Star Fleet excels, with its 20 years in business, at whisking passengers along Galveston Bay aboard its fleet of five luxurious yachts, it offers more. The charter yacht company also donates exclusively to the Galveston Bay Foundation, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the local waterway. Customers can rest assured that portions of their proceeds are going toward a worthy cause whether they're celebrating a wedding aboard the multi-level Star Gazer or pub crawling alongside Mai Tai–swilling otters on the Lake Limo.
Combining freeform painting with socializing, Shelley Shanks' Scribble Birds invites artists of all skill levels to join in colorful revelry by providing supplies and instruction in a relaxed environment. Groups gather around canvases and easels on the last Wednesday of every month at 7 p.m. for around two hours, grabbing drinks from the nearby bar that can serve as liquid inspiration or as a diluter for watercolor works. Paintbrushes dance across canvases, colorfully waltzing to the tune of the artists' desires and creating an original piece that accompanies students home.
By engaging children on their own level, the teachers at Kids R Kids childcare center and learning academy recognize their students for what they really are: developing brains trapped inside tiny, perfectly spherical heads. The programs hew to a philosophy of "Hug First, Then Teach," meaning they encourage a child's development on an emotional, intellectual, social, and physical level. Also essential to their teaching approach is family involvement?when new skills are introduced, the instructors make sure the parents know about the approach and aren't politically opposed to arithmetic.
They rely on their own curriculum, Brain Waves, which takes a neurologically based approach that combines educational lessons with good nutrition, regular sleep schedules, and secure relationships. Additionally, the Brain Waves curriculum helps develop brains with many forms of language (including sign language) and exposure to technology in a controlled environment.
For the fifth year running, a forest of masts fills the South Shore Harbour as more than 400 boats beckon sea-salted skippers and land-legged first timers alike. Bay boats, ski boats, sailboats, catamarans, cruisers, and powerboats are all on display—many for sale—and the experience can include skimming across the surface on a 32-foot Yellowtail, a 45-minute jaunt on a sailboat, and a temperature-controlled diving experience for curious landlubbers. To educate audiences, speakers take to the stage, including NASA-honored scientists, marine meteorologists, and Evel Knievel’s former bodyguard and notorious adventurer Bob Bitchin, whose name should not be repeated in polite company.