You’ve just landed in Galveston for some much-needed R&R and glance out the hotel patio window at the Gulf of Mexico. Instead of the sunny skies and balmy weather that the meteorologist promised, it’s looking more like rain, high winds and choppy seas are on tap the next few days.
So what’s a free-spirited Island tourist to do? Not to worry. There’s plenty of fun-filled activities in Galveston that don’t require our trademark sunny skies. Consider these 8 things to do on a rainy day in Galveston:
Pier 21 Theater
Pier 21 Theater is located at 21st Street and Harborside Dr., above Willie G's. There are three shows for your enjoyment:
- The Great Storm tells the story of the 1900 hurricane that hit Galveston Island on Sept. 8. It has been digitally restored from its 35mm slide presentation to an advanced wide-screen, high-definition format. The documentary shares the personal stories of survivors and the recovery of Galveston following the deadliest natural disaster in United States history.
- The Pirate Island of Jean Lafitte is a sure shot. Pirate or patriot? Smuggler or businessman? Merciless murderer and thief, or hero in time of war? These are the contradictions of the legendary Jean Laffite, whose harsh actions have secured his place in infamy – but his motives remain a mystery to this day. Whatever the reasons, the mere mention of Laffite in the early decades of the 1800s sent merchant ships throughout the Gulf of Mexico racing for safe harbor. During the last three years of his marauding campaign, Laffite made Galveston Island his base of operations. As for the treasure he is said to have buried there, none has been found … yet.
- Galveston-Gateway on the Gulf is a documentary that tells the story of the immigrants who shaped the island's business, social, and cultural scenes. Between 1835 and 1935, more than 200,000 immigrants from all over the world entered the United States through Galveston. Their stories are as rich and diverse as their origins, and they gave the island a most unique cultural heritage which continues today.
For more details and show times, call 409-763-8808 or visit www.galveston.com/pier21theatre/.
The Bryan Museum
The Bryan Museum (1315 21st St.) offers an unforgettable experience by opening a gateway to the rich cultural history of the Southwestern United States. The museum is committed to the preservation, education, and promotion of the history and art of the American Southwest through engaging exhibitions and programming.
Assembled over a lifetime by Mary Jon and J.P. Bryan, the collection spans more than 2,500 years and boasts some 70,000 items, ranging from ancient Native American cultural artifacts to modern 21st century pieces.
The collection includes rare documents in German, French, Spanish and English, exquisite saddles and spurs, antique firearms, rare books, fine art, religious art, folk art, portraits and rare maps. And there’s also a museum shop with everything from books, jewelry, educational toys, T-shirts and other gifts.
For more information, call 409-632-7685 or visit www.galveston.com/thebryanmuseum/.
Giant Screen 6P Laser Projection System at Moody Gardens
To check out Texas Big, step into the MG 3D Theater at Moody Gardens Galveston Island. The theater has the world’s first 4K 3D giant screen 6-Primary laser projection system on the largest screen in Texas – a 60-by-80-foot white screen almost three and half times brighter than normal theaters.
The new laser projection system captures mind-boggling vibrant colors with new 3D glasses technology, and boasts a top-of-the-line 11.1 surround sound with Auro 3D. I got a chance to check out “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at Moody Gardens’ MG 3D Theater. When I put on the new 6P glasses, I found myself ducking rocket ships that shot by, while marveling at laser sounds that shot from one end of the theater to the other.
For more information, visit www.moodygardens.com.
Lone Star Flight Museum
The Lone Star Flight Museum (2002 Terminal Dr. next to Moody Gardens) is home to one of the finest collections of restored aircraft and aviation exhibits in the nation. Over 40 restored aircraft are displayed and most are in working condition. The collection includes WWII fighters, bombers, trainers, and executive planes.
The museum is a volunteer, not-for-profit educational museum, dedicated to the men and women who developed aviation to the science it is today; and, to the memory and spirit of those who flew in the defense of our country and freedom throughout the world.
For more information, call 409-740-7722 or visit http://www.galveston.com/lonestarflightmuseum/.
Galveston's grandest and best-known building, the Bishop's Palace is an ornate delight of colored stone, intricately carved ornaments, rare woods, stained-glass windows, bronze dragons and other sculptures, luxury materials and furnishings, and impressive fireplaces from around the world (including one lined with pure silver).
Built by lawyer Colonel Walter Gresham and designed by Nicholas Clayton, Galveston's premier architect, the Victorian castle was cited by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 100 most important buildings in America. The home was built from 1886 to 1892.
For ticket and tour information, call 409-762-2475 or visit http://www.galveston.com/bishopspalace/.
What better time than a rainy day to immerse yourself in other exciting Moody Gardens attractions?
Explore the ocean and meet penguins and sharks at the Aquarium Pyramid. Enjoy an authentic rainforest adventure and close encounters with free-roaming monkeys, macaws and other endangered animals and plants at the Rainforest Pyramid.
Aquarium Pyramid: Experience life as you explore the ocean depths in the South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific and The Caribbean. And dive into the oceans of the world in a 1.5-million-gallon aquarium teeming with creatures from tuxedo-clad penguins to seals, stingrays and sharks.
Rainforest Pyramid: Experience life as you visit the rainforests of Asia, Africa and the Americas. Enjoy a rare, up-close and interactive experience with endangered plants and animals ranging from Giant Amazon River Otters to Saki Monkeys and Chinese Alligators.
For more information, call (409) 683-4249 or visit www.galveston.com/moody-gardens-galveston-island/.
Founded in 1871, the Rosenberg Library is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation.
With funding provided through a bequest from Henry Rosenberg, the Rosenberg Library Association was organized in 1900 as a private corporation to give free library service to all Galvestonians.
After the Rosenberg Library opened in 1904, it absorbed the collections of the Galveston Public Library, thus formalizing its new role as the public library for the city of Galveston.
Holdings of the museum department include historical Galveston and early Texas artifacts, paintings of Galveston subjects, and a sizable collection of Russian and Greek icons. And the Fox Rare Book Room contains rare books, first editions, and examples of fine printing.
For more information, call 409-763-8854 or visit http://www.galveston.com/rosenberglibrary/.
Galveston Railroad Museum
Close your eyes and you can almost hear the train whistles beckoning passengers during a bygone era at the Railroad Museum, a complex of historic facilities and unique attractions.
Located at the head of the Strand at 25th Street, the vast Railroad Museum boasts one of the largest restored railroad collections in the Southwest, and is one of the five largest in the country. With numerous railroad memorabilia and exhibits, including more than 40 pieces of locomotives and rolling stock, the museum is a national treasure.
Most Saturdays, the museum offers rides aboard the "Harborside Express" train between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., boarding every 20 minutes.
For more information, call 409-765-5700 or visit http://www.galveston.com/railroadmuseum/.