Perched on picturesque Galveston Island, Moody Gardens possesses a storied history that complements its scenic surroundings. Its horticultural and animal-therapy programs—which began in the mid-1980s—pair visitors living with physical and emotional disabilities with horses and multihued flora, helping them learn coping skills and build confidence. Next to the sprawling grounds, the Moody Gardens Golf Course boasts multiple holes that run alongside the rippling waters of the Gulf and its intervening waterways, forming intimidating hazards and housing a thriving civilization of merpeople who use golf balls for currency. The tourist destination also thrills families with water attractions, including a wave pool and a lazy river. The restored 10-story Rainforest Pyramid holds more than 1,700 exotic plants and animals from Asian, African, and American rainforests, while the Aquarium Pyramid features a diverse range of ocean inhabitants including sharks and penguins.
Dark wood and glowing lamps create an inviting atmosphere inside The M&M Restaurant & Bar, maintaining the building's place as a local institution in three centuries. Built for $500 in 1844, the restaurant has served generations of diners and even withstood the deadly hurricane of 1900. Changing hands and identities across the years, The M&M served as a saloon at the turn of the century, a grocer through Prohibition, and a boarding house during community productions of Oliver!. Today, chefs put together a menu that focuses on fresh seafood and juicy cuts of seared meats complemented by a rousing selection of libations. Families gather around tables topped with white linens or booths lined with green and brown fabrics, and summer months coax guests out onto the spacious patio.