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Once you've had your fill of beach life and are ready to explore, Galveston has lots of sites and experiences designed just for you. Many of them, including Galveston's local ferry rides, are free to the public, if you're watching your budget. But all of Galveston's tourist experiences are completely sophisticated with the needs and comforts of the local tourist industry in mind.
The top of the list in anyone's Galveston recommendations is Moody Gardens. This complex of hotel, golf course and amusement park is well recognized by its three enormous glass pyramids. Each pyramid contains something completely magical. One contains an aquarium with everything inside it from fantastic displays of fish to a tunnel of sharks and a cluster of penguins. The second is a kind of zoo, marketing itself as a rain forest. It's an adventure all in itself, filled as it is with indigenous birds, butterflies and monkeys as well as snakes and lizards. And the third pyramid is a highly developed and maintained discovery center with many delightful interactive activities for visitors old and young.
Remember soda shops which sold handmade milkshakes and sweets such as coconut ice and fudge and toffee apples in the 1950s – or remember seeing movies which feature them? Well, La Kings Confectionary in Galveston is a retro throwback to those old style sweets and drink that will make you feel like dressing up in period costume as you experience the sweetmeats your granddad loved when he was a teenager. But seriously, if you do want to dress up in historical style, visit the Strand of Galveston in December, where there's a Dickens on the Strand Christmas pageant to enjoy.
And what would an island city be without a fun waterpark with games and slides? Not as much fun, of course. Schlitterbahn is still – after it opened way back in 1966 – considered among the best waterparks in the areas. Featuring no less than 20 different types of water rides, with a range of thrill levels to choose from – from "slow" or "lazy" to "aggressive" or "river rapids" – Schlitterbahn guarantees you huge fun whether you're fit and adventurous or a little terrified of all the speed and shouting.
It may look like a tiny island, but Galveston has enough space for so many activities, once you arrive there you might realize you need to stay for longer. There are hiking trails and kayaking trails, quiet fishing spots and places just to lie back and enjoy the tropical climate on your body. Indeed, to expert fisherman, Galveston is considered to be the best saltwater fishing venues in Texas, where you can fish flounders, cobias and even sharks, should you wish to.
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But if you find yourself tired of the buzz and shout of waterparks and beach activities, or even the quietude of fishing, Galveston is also rich in museums and it features all kinds of more sedate experiences from ghost tours of the more secret interstices of the city's cemeteries and reputedly haunted houses, to historical ones that will take you back to the founding of the city by French and Spanish pirates in 1816.