Galveston Tours

ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE MONDAY, MAY 1ST and TUESDAY, MAY 2ND

Galveston County Master Gardener Demonstration Garden and the Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office

Carbide Park is just a 13-mile (22 minute) drive from the Moody Gardens Hotel in Galveston and is located one mile from Interstate 45.  Visit the facilities before your return drive home. The GCMGA Demonstration Garden consists of 3.5-acre site with raised vegetable beds, a fruit and citrus orchard, Earth-Kind® Garden, Butterfly Garden, Serenity Garden with a Japanese garden design, Tomato Variety Performance Beds, a re-purposed Southern Greenhouse and a rain water collection unit. Master Gardeners will be on site to greet Master Gardeners from other counties and to answer questions. The Galveston County AgriLife Extension Office is located nearby and will be open to conference attendees.  FREE.

Click the link to see an aerial view of the GCMGA Demonstration Garden posted on YouTube.

Moody Gardens One Day Pass

Visit the beautiful, totally renovated Moody Gardens Aquarium before visiting the recently renovated Rainforest Pyramid with a walkover canopy to view a variety of animals and birds in the canopy of the lush tropical rainforest.  After lunch, ride the Colonel Paddlewheel Boat around Offatt’s Bayou for one hour, where you can enjoy the upper deck seating area for a great view or sit below either inside in air conditioned comfort or outside for a very enjoyable tour on the bayou.  ($25 per guest, $15 for those staying a minimum of one night at the Moody Gardens Hotel).

 

TOURS for MONDAY, MAY 1ST

The Grand 1894 Opera House/East End Tree Sculptures Tour

First stop, The Grand 1894 Opera House in downtown Galveston.  Join Master Gardener (and fifth-generation Galvestonian) Mary Lou Kelso for a one-hour guided tour of this very special place in the history of Galveston and its residents.  It survived both the 1900 and 1915 storms.  After Hurricane Ike (2008), several noted performers made donations to help restore this renowned gem.  It is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

We will then board the bus and proceed to visit the East End Historic area.  More than 35,000 Galveston trees had to be cut down after Hurricane Ike due to saltwater and sludge contamination.  Many of these trees had been planted after the 1900 storm.  The citizens of Galveston led a grass roots effort to preserve the memory of the trees by carving approximately 35 sculptures from the remaining stumps.  You will view a Dalmatian dog and fire hydrant at the downtown fire station, Toto and the Tin Man, the Birds of Galveston and many more sculptures with intriguing backgrounds.  After the tour, we will take Avenue O back to the hotel so that you will see more beautiful Galveston architecture!  $20.00 per guest.

Tour of Two Mansions

We will first proceed to visit the 1892 Bishop’s Palace on 14th and Broadway.  Renowned architect Nicholas Clayton built this gorgeous home.  It is known as Gresham’s Castle as the Gresham family were the original homeowners.  In time, the Galveston Houston Catholic Diocese purchased this masterpiece and it became the residence for Bishop Byrne and known as the Bishop’s Palace.  You will see many beautiful stained glass windows, lovely wooden staircases, porches, and a chapel on the second floor where Bishop Byrne said mass.  The building was recently sold to the Galveston Historic Foundation.  A major renovation of the roof will soon take place in which every single tile will need to be cut individually.  GHF has already made some much-needed renovations to preserve this Galveston treasure.

We will reboard the bus to visit the historic 1895 Moody Mansion which was the home of Galveston financier William Moody. This 31-room home has stunning stained glass windows throughout along with beautiful furnishings, porches, a solarium, staircases, and a dumb waiter. You will start the tour in the carriage house at the back of the mansion, which houses a few antique automobiles. Master Gardeners will note the varied landscape of plants on the palatial grounds.  $35.00 per guest.

Tour of the Broadway Cemetery Historic District in Galveston

Join Galveston historian Chris Haynes, who lives in the Galveston Historic East End, on a very informative tour at the Broadway Cemetery Historic District.

Chris will guide you through this historic site, composed of seven burial grounds, where many people who helped form Galveston in 1835 and its early years have been laid to rest. The cemetery houses a Catholic cemetery, Episcopal Cemetery, Jewish Cemetery, City Cemetery, etc.  There is a lot of distance to cover but the bus will allow everyone to hop off and on the bus to view the beautiful grave sites.  After leaving the cemetery, we will travel to 27th and Avenue O to tour Kempner Park and Garten Verein, a beautiful German octagonal structure built by German businessmen in 1880 as a dance pavilion.  Nowadays, it is used for weddings, meetings, etc.   $20.00 per guest.

 

TOURS for TUESDAY, MAY 2ND

Moody Gardens Golf Course

Interested in playing golf?  We have a special morning planned at the Moody Gardens Golf Course which features a 16-million-dollar comprehensive renovation by the renowned golf course architects of Jacobsen Hardy Golf Course Design.  Opened in 2008, the course highlights its unique seaside tropical location with 18 holes meandering through upland and lowland native areas, natural wetlands, and featuring over 500 palm trees.  Cost includes 18 holes of play, a golf cart, and a tub of balls.  $50.00 per guest; includes cart.

Saltwater Fishing Excursion 

Spend a fun day on the Galveston Bay while bay and jetty fishing or just enjoying the water from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  All tackle and squid bait will be provided. The Boat Captain will be sharing half a century of prized Gulf fishing experience with you.  You are welcome to bring a soft-sided cooler; drinks and food are allowed (no alcohol).  The Grill will be cooking breakfast tacos and coffee along with other menu items in air conditioned comfort.

Please Note:  A one-day saltwater fishing license is required ($11.00) if you choose to fish.  You may purchase it on the boat or you can purchase beforehand at Walmart, Academy, etc.

For those who are not interested in fishing but would like to enjoy the trip out into the bay, you can pay a reduced fee to sit and enjoy the scenery.  $40.00 per guest for fishing; $20.00 per guest for sail only.

Broadway Cemetery Historic District and Mansion Tours

Join Chris Haynes, a Galveston historian and fifth generation Galvestonian, and Master Gardener Mary Lou Kelso to tour the historic Broadway Cemetery.  You will be guided on a one hour tour of seven cemeteries while you view burial plots of many of the people who helped formed Galveston’s history.  Broadway Cemetery Historic District houses a Catholic cemetery, Episcopal Cemetery, Jewish Cemetery, City Cemetery, etc.   You will be amazed by the dates on the tombstones and the phenomenal people who made such a difference in Galveston’s and Texas’ early years.

The tour group will then board the bus to proceed down Broadway Street to visit Moody Mansion at 2618 Broadway for a guided tour at 10:15 a.m. The 31-room home is named after William L. Moody who was a famous financier.  The home was completed in 1895.  The carriage house in the rear houses a small antique car museum with a palatial outside garden area. We will tour the first and second floors of the home and have a chance to see a very impressive home that has gone through so many generations over the years.

After the tour, we will again board the bus and proceed to Bishop’s Palace located at 14th and Broadway.  You will be given a guided tour of this stately home which was built by renowned Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton in 1892 in what is now known as the East End Historic District.  Bishop’s Palace is also known as Gresham’s Castle and is an ornate Victorian home with 19,082 square feet.  In its later years, the palace was owned by the Galveston Houston Catholic Diocese, but it was recently sold to the Galveston Historical Foundation.  There is a gift shop in the basement of this most impressive home.  Across the street, you will view Sacred Heart Catholic Church that once housed an elementary school on the premises.  $45.00 per guest.

The Grand 1894 Opera House and Shopping in the Downtown Historic District

First stop will be at The Grand 1894 Opera House for a one hour guided tour. Visitors will enjoy seeing “behind the scenes” of this gorgeous treasure. “The Official Opera House of Texas” survived both the 1900 and 1915 hurricanes. This landmark holds a very special place in history for Galveston and for its residents. The Grand is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

 

The group will then head to The Strand Historic District which features Victorian era buildings that now house restaurants, antique stores, clothing stores, curio shops, etc.  Additionally, you will love La King’s, which houses a candy factory and old timey soda shop.  Before departing you will be able to dine at one of the many restaurants in this shopping area.  $45.00 per guest.