Galveston Capital Tourism and Marketing – 6 Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Galveston

Galveston Capital Tourism and Marketing - 6 Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Galveston.JPGYou’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 7 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.

Bishop’s Palace

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/.

Rosenberg Library

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/.

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Singapore opening: Galveston Island

Beaches, historic buildings, million dollar mansions, fairground rides and delicious seafood can all be enjoyed on a day out on Galveston Island, Texas.

 

Galveston’s Strand Historic District, centred around the five blocks between 20th and 25th street near the wharf, is a wonderful reflection of the architectural styles popular in the mid- to late 1800s when the city hit its zenith. You can stroll under the high canopies of many shop fronts with their wrought iron balconies perusing the antiques, gifts, T-shirts and all manner of other goods, or take some refreshment in one of the cafes along the way.

 

We ventured into La King’s Confectionery shop where glass cabinets filled with chocolates of all shapes and sizes and multi-coloured candies flank a long seating area. Here you can indulge in a soda, milkshake or float made in a 1920s soda fountain, which is served from behind a marble counter on the other side of the shop.

 

In the Red Dirt Shirts company we learned how the idea for these unusual terracotta-coloured T-shirts came about when Hurricane Ike hit Hawaii in 1992, turning the proprietor’s stock of white T-shirts the colour of the red earth churned up by the storm. The owner saw an opportunity for a unique dying process and today sells his Red Dirt Shirts in Arizona, Utah and Hawaii as well as Texas.

 

Galveston’s history is also reflected in the many Victorian houses on the Island, a number of which are open to the public. We visited the Moody Mansion built in 1895 by the British architect William Tyndall for local socialite Narcissa Willis. After her death, the house was sold to W.L.Moody, a wealthy businessman who moved in with his wife and four children. The Moody family lived there until 1986 when it was turned into an historic museum. Some of the rooms are absolutely delightful and a guided tour of the house gives an interesting insight into the life of this Victorian Texas family.

 

Another historical house worth a look is the Bishop’s Palace, a mansion built in 1893 for the lawyer and politician Walter Gresham and his family. This house was purchased in 1923 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston and became the residence of Bishop Christopher Byrne until 1963. Both houses survived the hurricane of 1900, reputedly the deadliest in US history, which killed more than 10,000 people.

 

If historical buildings do not interest you, there are plenty of other activities to do in Galveston, such as spending a few hours on one of the Island’s beaches to the south, or enjoying a drink in one of the many bars and restaurants along Seawall Boulevard. There is a pleasure pier near the main beach area with fairground rides, amusements and eateries.

 

We elected to go on a short harbour tour with an amusing commentary from the boat captain, during which we saw two or three dolphins surfacing near the boat, probably out of curiosity which was an added bonus.

 

The Railroad Museum is great for train enthusiasts, with its many late 19th and early 20th century rail cars (some of which you can step inside) and the lovely Santa Fe Union station building with its white, plaster figures of people sitting or standing awaiting the arrival of their train.

 

Other places to visit on Galveston Island, depending on your interests, include Seawolf Park with its World War II submarine and destroyer, the restored 1877 tall ship Elissa, which you can climb aboard and the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig, which is now a museum.

 

We finished our day with a delicious seafood dinner at Olympia Grill on Pier 21, the waterfront dining and entertainment area near Galveston’s historic harbour.