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Rainforest Pyramid, Moody Gardens

Galveston, Texas

Moody Gardens is an educational tourist destination that uses nature to excite visitors about conservation and wildlife. As part of its renovation and expansion, RAA was asked to develop a new visitor experience that would connect visitors with the mysteries of the rainforest.

Visitors at “Rainforests of the World” follow an interpretive trail throughout the entire Rainforest Pavilion. The journey begins at the ranger station where visitors pick up their tools for exploration, including their own personal field guide. As guests progress through their journey, each theme area has its own page on the field guide.

Visitors then travel through a 200-foot-long tunnel that creates a glowing rainforest canopy. In an immersive soundscape, visitors encounter sculptural, lantern-like, glowing trees that invite visitors to listen closely to the symphony of animal noises and identify species. Afterwards, visitors embark on a trip through the world’s three major tropical rainforest zones (Asia, Africa, and the Americas). They encounter plants and animals from each area and learn about what is indigenous in those forests.

As guests leave the rainforest, lighting and sound effects showcase a day in the rainforest, while LED “rain sticks” display messages about the forests’ importance, and their threats. The one-of-a-kind “Moodyscope” – the world’s largest optical viewing device – shows the cycle of life in the forest.

Working with Moody Gardens animal husbandry and education departments, RAA crafted the “Rainforest’s of the World” storyline. The planned 90-minute experience at the Rainforest Pavilion simulates a two-day journey through the rainforests of Asia, Africa, and the Americas. The narrative arc of the experience enlists, educates, and entertains the visitor by creating a 4-dimensional cohesive and intuitive journey across three environmental worlds.

Size 20,000 square feet

Year 2011