Set on the shores of the Gulf Coast of Texas, the coastal resort and barrier island city of Galveston is renowned for its 32-mile stretch of beautiful beaches, which caters to all crowds from families to fun-seekers. It is also home to several vibrant historic districts with over 400 beautifully preserved Victorian Age homes and attractions like the Elissa, a landmark tall ship, and the Moody Gardens, where giant glass pyramids house a variety of animals and sharks. The coastal city also offers a great selection of restaurants for romantic dining and celebrating love. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Gaido's Seafood Restaurant
2.Galvez Bar & Grill
4.Landry's Seafood House
5.Mario's Seawall Italian Restaurant
6.Galveston restaurants: Number 13 Prime Steak and Seafood
9.Rudy & Paco Restaurant & Bar
11.Galveston restaurants: The Steakhouse
13.Shearn's Seafood and Prime Steaks
14.Restaurants in Galveston, TX: Trattoria La Vigna
15.Restaurants in Galveston, TX: Waterman Restaurant
16.Galveston restaurants: Willie G's Seafood & Steaks
16 Best Restaurants in Galveston, Texas
- Gaido's Seafood Restaurant, Photo: Gaido's Seafood Restaurant
- Galvez Bar & Grill, Photo: Galvez Bar & Grill
- Grotto Ristorante, Photo: Grotto Ristorante
- Landry's Seafood House, Photo: Landry's Seafood House
- Mario's Seawall Italian Restaurant, Photo: Mario's Seawall Italian Restaurant
- Galveston restaurants: Number 13 Prime Steak and Seafood, Photo: Number 13 Prime Steak and Seafood
- Porch Cafe, Photo: Porch Café
- Riondo's Ristorante, Photo: Riondo's Ristorante
- Rudy & Paco Restaurant & Bar, Photo: New Africa/stock.adobe.com
- Saltwater Grill, Photo: Saltwater Grill
- Galveston restaurants: The Steakhouse, Photo: The Steakhouse
- Sapori Ristorante, Photo: Sapori Ristorante
- Shearn's Seafood and Prime Steaks, Photo: Shearn's Seafood and Prime Steaks
- Restaurants in Galveston, TX: Trattoria La Vigna, Photo: Trattoria La Vigna
- Restaurants in Galveston, TX: Waterman Restaurant, Photo: Waterman Restaurant
- Galveston restaurants: Willie G's Seafood & Steaks, Photo: Willie G's Seafood & Steaks
- Cover Photo: Marc/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Moody Gardens
Located in Galveston, Texas, Moody Gardens focuses on connecting visitors to nature through conservation, education, research, and recreation. Visitors will find a huge variety of activities to enjoy including an aquarium, world-class theaters, a paddlewheel boat, a museum, and even zipline courses. There are also many educational and recreational programs available year-round for visitors of all ages.
Founded in 1986, Moody Gardens was originally meant to be used as an equestrian center with a focus on developing a riding program for people who have suffered head injuries. The center quickly evolved into one of the most premier recreational and educational facilities in the southern United States.
From its humble beginnings, many additions were made over the years including the opening of the Rainforest Pyramid in 1993, the opening of the Discovery Pyramid in 1997, the opening of the on-site hotel and spa in 1998, and the opening of the Aquarium Pyramid in 1999. Most recently, Moody Gardens added a golf course and a conference center.
Aquarium Pyramid: This exhibit contains more than 10,000 marine animals on display in a variety of sanctuaries. The exhibit features species from the South Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and the North and South Pacific. The goal of this exhibit is to engage and inspire visitors to connect with the sea and protect its delicate and endangered ecosystems.
There are many new additions to the aquarium including a Gulf of Mexico Rig, a Jellyfish gallery, the Mangrove Lagoon, and the Flower Garden Banks. Visitors can also witness penguins playing in their habitat and walk through a glass tunnel surrounded by hundreds of sharks and sting rays.
Rainforest Pyramid: This exhibit features hundreds of birds, towering trees, and blooming flowers that visitors can get up-close-and-personal with as they learn all about their natural habitats and habits.
Theaters: Moody Gardens features two world-class theaters for visitors to enjoy, an MG 3D theater and a 4D special effects theater. There are a variety of educational and entertaining shows for visitors of all ages. Prices and show times vary – visit the website for more information.
Colonel Paddlewheel Boat: This paddlewheel boat is an exact replica of the ones from the 1800s. Visitors can enjoy an hour-long cruise complete with dinner, drinks, and dancing. Tickets and cruise times will vary, reservations are required.
Spongebob Subpants Adventure: This exhibit, located in the Discovery Pyramid, is special for the younger visitors to enjoy. Young sea captains will be immersed in a 3D film complete with special effects and all kinds of surprises! The best part? The adventure and interactions are different every time! Ticket prices for this family fun adventure vary.
Discovery Museum: Moody Gardens is proud to feature a world class museum with rotating exhibits. Visitors will be immersed in educational exhibits featuring engineering, art, flight, music, hydraulics, light, and much more.
Ropes Course & Zipline: This exciting area allows visitors to test their agility, strength, and balance. A 5-tier ropes course positioned high above the ground is even complete with a zip line! This exhibit is open daily during the summer months.
Palm Beach: This area is a great place to take a relaxing trip around the lazy river, enjoy a water slide, or play in the wave pool. This area is open daily throughout the summer months and is sure to entertain members of the whole family.
There are a wide variety of educational end exciting vents hosted year-round at Moody Gardens, some upcoming events include the Gardens’ Giants Pre-K Camp on July 22, the Boy Scout Merit Badge Day on July 26, and the weekly summer event Bands on the Sand. Be sure to check out the Moody Gardens event calendar for more information on all upcoming events.
There are many educational programs available at Moody Gardens including a kid’s camp during the summer, an overnight camp, workshops, scour programs, and a variety of resources for educators. There are home school programs, special curriculum resources, and an annual open house for educators.
Visitors are encouraged to get involved with conservation programs, volunteering, and internships. There are also a variety of outreach programs, field trips, and various activities hosted year-round including scavenger hunts and animal shows / experiences.
The website is filled with resources including a webcam of the animals, a blog about their past events, and an upcoming events calendar.
Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard, Galveston, Texas 77554, Phone: 800-582-4673
Back to: Galveston, Texas
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Attraction Spotlight: Galveston Railroad Museum
Located in Galveston, the Galveston Railroad Museum has been serving the community as well as its numerous visitors for the last 30 years. This institution is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving, displaying, and restoring various historically significant locomotives. In addition, the Galveston Railroad Museum offers educational and interactive opportunities that underline the impact that railroading has had on American history and culture.
The museum provides ample social and educational opportunities for local children and their families. The space can be rented out for special occasions, such as birthday parties, weddings, and photoshoots. Educators can schedule field trips that include a ride on the caboose, interactive lights and cross bucks, and a tour of the model train theatre. In addition, the museum has a unique program for Boy Scouts hoping to obtain railroading-related merit badges. The museum also supports Eagle Scouts interested in restoring the older railcars by providing materials for this type of work.
The Galveston Railroad Museum has a 4-acre railyard, which contains five tracks of rail cars. Most notably, it houses the world’s largest collection of railcar dining ware. The railcars on display offer an interesting perspective on how railroads and railcars have changed and developed over time. Their oldest locomotive on display is the Fort Worth and Dallas Caboose, which was first constructed in the last decades of the 19th century and remained in service for nearly 100 years. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Caboose is emblematic of its time due to the year in which it was constructed. It was built in the late 1920s, at a time when Santa Fe was beginning to promote steel trains in place of wooden ones. Railroad aficionados will appreciate the way in which the Southern Pacific Box Car, built in 1917, with its efficient use of wood and steel, serves as a predecessor for trains built during WW2, when steel was scarce.
The stylistic differences of the railcars allow visitors to appreciate the different ways that railroading shaped America. Visitors can learn about early versions of air conditioning on trains by examining the Glen Fee Sleeping Car. In the 1930s, ducts were added to this rail car, allowing air to pass over blocks of ice, which produced a cooling effect. Similarly, the Western Fruit Express Refrigerator Car, which was constructed in the late 1930s, transported perishable food items by virtue of the fact that it could hold up to 10,000 tons of ice.
To get a sense of how the movers and shakers of the day got around during the roaring twenties, visitors can examine the Anacapa Private/Business Car. It consists of three bedrooms, servants’ quarters, shower facilities, dining room, observation deck, kitchen, and parlor. The ornate design and the luxurious amenities speak to the optimism and innovation of the era.
The Galveston Railroad Museum also has two trains painted in the well-known Warbonnet paint scheme. The Warbonnet trains were first introduced during the 1930s, in a period now referred to as the streamliner era. Their unique design was the brainchild of Leland A. Knickerbocker of General Motors. Even today they stand out due to their colorful red, yellow, and silver paint as well as design features that pay homage to Native American culture.
The most recent exhibition at the Galveston Railroad Museum was titled The Waco, Trinity, Beaumont and Sabine Railway. This exhibit was curated by Ellen Rider and featured photos and documents of former workers.
In addition to the main exhibits, there is much to see and experience at the Galveston Railroad Museum. The restored semaphores, murals, and historical train car interiors all make for interesting photo opportunities.
Railroad enthusiasts often marvel at the model train layouts on display at the Galveston Railroad Museum. The museum is currently displaying an HO and an O-Gauge layout of model trains. These can be seen in the Sullivan Room, which was dedicated to Russell Sullivan, a mechanical engineer whose family donated 400 pieces of his model train collection to the museum after his passing.
In addition to viewing the model trains, visitors can also hitch a ride on the Harbourside Express train. These rides typically run until 1:45pm in the afternoon and are only available on Saturdays. It is advisable to check the schedule for these rides on the museum’s website prior to planning your visit as they are only available on certain dates and are subject to change due to weather conditions.
2602 Santa Fe Place, Galveston, TX 77550, Phone: 409-765-5700
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Attraction Spotlight: The Bryan Museum
The Bryan Museum in Galveston, Texas is home to one of the largest collections of artwork and artifacts relating to Texas and the American West in the world. The museum presents a history of Texas in chronological order with emphasis on Spanish Colonial influences. The Bryan Museum is home to The Bryan Collection which was begun by J.P. Bryan when he was just 10 years old with the purchase of a Moore’s Revolver and a Derringer.
Bryan’s father, J.P Senior was a prolific collectors of Texas maps and documents which he sold in 1966 to the University of Texas. Bryan began amassing a collection of rare books soon after and acquired Judge Lewis Wilson’s collection of Texas literature. The collections expanded quickly with the addition of fine arts with a focus on Texas and American West art. By 2011, the collection took up 25,000 square feet of office space at the Torch Energy Advisors Inc and was called “The Torch Collection.”
The former Galveston Orphans Home was purchased in 2013 and restoration commenced to make the historic structure suitable for housing the collection that Bryan had amassed. The Bryan Museum was opened to the public in the summer of 2015 with 20,000 feet of exhibit space presenting the chronological history of the American West and Texas in permanent galleries.
The permanent exhibitions at The Bryan Museum educate visitors on the history of Texas and the West through chronological exhibits. There are also special and temporary exhibitions on a rotating schedule. More details on temporary exhibits can be found on The Bryan Museum website.
Orientation-This small gallery welcomes guests into the Bryan and tells the pre-Columbian through Mexican Revolution history of the American West. The central case features a video that interacts with JP Bryan. Other cases represent the history of Galveston, the fire of 1885, Texas colonization and the Galveston Orphans Home.
Spanish Colonial Era- This gallery spans thousands of years of the Spanish Colonial Era and features Native American and French influences as well as the Spanish influence on Texas and the West. The Spanish Mission System is featured in this exhibit.
Texas Frontier- Anglo-American influence over the West is featured in this exhibit that explores Mexico’s governing rule over Texas and history of American Statehood that was the Spanish-American War. Artifacts in this gallery are from 19th century.
Statehood and Beyond- American slavery and the Civil War is explored in this gallery that also how Texas moved away from slavery and developed the cowboys. This exhibit shows the Wild West during the late 19th century, Confederate Texas, Siege of Galveston and cattle ranching.
Rest of the West- This collection lines the hallway and staircases and features artwork from New Mexico and California, the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. The gun display showcases some of the best and most rare guns that have ever been made and features weapons that were popular amongst cowboys, outlaws, and lawmen.
Texas Masters- Artists that are born in Texas or have left an impression on Texas are featured in this gallery that includes work from Jose Arpea y Perea, Robert Onderdonk and others. Mediums include oil paintings, sculptures, pastels, and illustrations.
Galveston Orphans Home-Paying homage to the historic landmark that houses The Bryan Museum, this gallery commemorates past and restoration of the Orphanage. A children’s hideout that was discovered during renovations can be explored in the staircase and view treasures found hidden in the walls and attic of the home.
Regular tours of the museum are available to visitors with museum admission and do not require advance registration. Volunteers are on hand to guide visitors through the galleries on weekends during 1.5-hour tours. Self-guided tours are always encouraged with visitors free to take as much time as they need to explore the galleries.
Group Tours- Adults may preschedule private tours for 10-50 guests to be guided through museum exhibits. Tours take a minimum of two hours. Group tour include discounts in the museum shop. Youth tours are also available and can be customized to grade level or curriculum. Tours can be requested online.
There are many special events that make The Bryan a great resource for the community.
Wine in the Bryan Gardens- Every Thursday adult guests can enjoy live entertainment and adult beverages in the evening while touring the conservatory and botanical gardens behind The Bryan Museum.
Speaker Series- Lecture series are presented at The Bryan by art professionals. These talks feature special guests with more details being found online. RSVPs are encouraged.
An Evening at The Bryan- An annual fundraising gala held at and to benefit The Bryan Museum.
1315 21st Street, Galveston, TX 77550, Phone: 409-632-7685
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