Galveston Island is on the Texas Gulf Coast about 35 miles south of Houston. The island has been the target of a number of storms over the years. Most notably the Hurricane of 1900, also known as the Great Galveston Hurricane hit the island with deadly winds, rain and tidal surge. With winds estimated at 145 MPH, approximately 6,000 to 12,000 lives were lost and most of the structures that existed at the time were either destroyed or severely damaged. The island’s residents decided to construct a seawall to provide some protection from future storms. This wall was eventually extended to a length of 10 miles.
One of the few structures that survived that 1900 storm was a private residence known as Bishop’s Palace. This home was built between 1887 and 1893 for Walter Gresham and his wife Josephine. Mr. Gresham, from King and Queen County, Virginia, graduated from the University of Virginia, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1867. He served in the Texas House of Representatives and in the Congress of the United States. In 1923 this home was purchased by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston and became the residence of Bishop Christopher E. Byrne, thus Bishop’s Palace.
One of the major entertainment destinations in Galveston is Moody Gardens. It’s a combination of attractions including: Rainforest Pyramid, Aquarium, Discovery Pyramid, Zip Line, a paddle wheel boat and throw in a hotel and convention center. We went through the Rainforest Pyramid. Now, we’ve been to rainforests in Peru and Ecuador and I would point out what may be obvious: going through this attraction is not a substitute for the real thing much in the same way as visiting the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas is not a substitute for visiting the city of Paris, France. However, if it is unlikely that you will make it to a rainforest in person, this attraction provides an experience that allows you to view a wide variety of wildlife that you would find in a rainforest in the context of a safe setting. You go through on a number of different levels so that you can view the birds, monkeys and a wide variety of water creatures in a somewhat realistic setting.
Next stop: Lake Charles, LA