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Galveston is a port city and beach resort on a barrier island just off the mainland coast of Texas. Galveston is prone to storms as it guards the entrance to the enormous Galveston Bay. The city, located on a long narrow island, extends for about 30 miles parallel to the Texas coast. Galveston was the richest city in Texas and home to more millionaires than any city in the US. Its main attractions are the downtown historic district with its Victorian commercial buildings and houses, and the beaches, which draw crowds of Houstonians and other Texans during the summer. After the Civil War, Galveston became a major exporter of grain and cotton. The level of confidence rose so tremendously that the threat of a hurricane was ignored. Even Isaac Cline of the newly founded US. Weather Bureau referred to it as "an absurd delusion." The people of Galveston took his advice and decided not to erect a seawall.
On September 8, 1900, a storm and tidal wave devastated the island killing over 6,000 people, destroyed homes and left 8,000 more homeless. Among the dead was Isaac Cline's wife. After this storm Galveston was no longer one of the most prosperous cities in the nation. It now became the poorest. It's economy never fully recovered. The people of Galveston erected a 7 miles long and 17 feet high seawall, which now covers one-third of Galveston's ocean front. They also improved the town by raising about 500 city blocks. Tourism is Galveston's main source of economy. Many of the city's landmark's were preserved by the Galveston Historical Foundation. The city is only an hour's drive from Houston and is a good destination for families; it's a quiet town with many points of interest including Moody Gardens and the tall ship Elissa, and it's not far from NASA and Kemah.

 

Attractions

Galveston State Park:
The beaches here are quiet, but there are no lifeguards. A good idea if you want to mix it up with hiking the four miles of trails and maybe do a bit of birdwatching. On the west end of Galveston Island.
Bishop's Palace:
On the American Institute of Architects' list of the 100 outstanding buildings in the U.S. is Bishop's Palace, named for the Galveston-Houston Catholic diocese that was housed here from 1923 - 1950. Designed by Nicholas Clayton for Colonel Walter Gresham, it took seven years to build and was completed in 1893. Wait'll you see the hand-carved staircase that took three years to construct. Labor Day - Memorial Day: Daily noon - 4 p.m. Memorial Day - Labor Day: Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Sunday noon - 4 p.m. 1402 Broadway.
Pier 21 Theater If you'd like to see an exceptional documentary on the hurricane of 1900, stop in at the Pier 21 Theater. Sunday - Thursday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Friday - Saturday 11 a.m. - 8 p.m., running every hour on the half hour. Harborside Dr. and 21st St.
Moody Gardens:
Nearly 250 acres of sun, fun and, believe it or not, education are what you'll find inside Moody Gardens. There's a 10-story Rainforest Pyramid filled with lush tropical plants, butterflies, birds, bats and fish; a 400-seat IMAX 3D Theater; a Discovery Museum housing interactive space exhibits inspired by NASA; and an IMAX Ridefilm Theater offering guests a moving, shaking space-film experience. There's an excellent beach here, Palm Beach, replete with lagoons and waterfalls. Daily 10 a.m. - 8 p.m (until 9 p.m. during the summer months). One Hope Blvd.Galveston, Texas 77554 Tel: 800-582-4673 web: http://www.moodygardens.com
Haak Vineyards and Winery:
The only winery in Galveston County, the Haak Vineyards and Winery makes premium wines (try their award-winning Blanc du Bois), not just from local grapes but from other areas of Texas. It's down the road a piece (about 20 miles) in Santa Fe, TX -- and worth the trip for tours and tastings. They also have a wonderful experimental olive orchard that's worth a look. Monday - Friday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., Sunday noon - 6 p.m.6310 Ave. T, Santa Fe.
Gulf Greyhound Park:
The world’s top greyhound racing facility is just fifteen minutes from Galveston. See the country’s top greyhounds race at up to 45 miles per hour with races every 12 to 15 minutes. The track offers four levels of air-conditioned comfort and is open year-round.
Interstate 45 at Exit 15
800.ASK.2WIN; 409.986.9500
Evening Racing:
Tuesday through Saturday Post time: 7:30 pm
Matinee Racing: Friday, Saturday and Sunday Post time: 1:30 pm
The Texas Seaport Museum:
The Texas Seaport Museum is where to see the 430-ton square-rigger Elissa, which was built in Scotland in 1877 and still sails the Gulf coast and beyond. The museum's computer database lets visitors look for information on more than 133,000 immigrants who passed through the Port of Galveston, much like Ellis Island in New York. Information includes their countries of origin, dates of arrival and planned destinations. Daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Harborside Dr.
Lone Star Flight Museum:
If it has anything to do with Texans and aviation, you'll find it at the Lone Star Flight Museum. Take a look at over 35 aircraft and a memorial to the 303rd Bomb Group (H) Eighth Air Force. Daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 2002 Terminal Dr.
Treasure Island Tour Train:
A pink-awninged, open-air rain carries up to 64 passengers on a leisurely 17-mile narrated trip that takes about an hour-and--half to cover the high-lights of both old and new Galveston.
The Railroad Museum and Terminal:
An old waiting room -- now called the People's Gallery -- with 39 life-sized "passengers" whose actual conversations you can listen in on. Outside, on the tracks, you'll see old Pullman sleepers, a 1922 Santa Fe engine and more. Wednesday - Sunday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m, but hours can vary, so call ahead. 25th St. and Strand.
Mardi Gras Museum:
Celebrating Mardi Gras has been a Galveston tradition since 1867, and the Mardi Gras Museum offers something for bead hurlers, young and old. The museum displays an eclectic array of costumes and memorabilia dating back to nineteenth-century festivals. In 1986, several prominent architects from around the world helped design unique models of a city arches to commemorate a similar project in 1881. Two of the models still stand in Galveston, and the remaining five are on display at the museum along with pictures detailing their design and construction.
The beaches:
The beaches are always Galveston's most popular attraction. They may not measure up to those of the most popular beach destinations; the sand is a light tan color instead of white but it's all sand and no rocks, and while the water isn't turquoise, it's at a wonderful temperature for much of the year. East Beach and Stewart Beach, operated by the city, have pavilions with dressing rooms, showers, and restrooms, ideal for day-trippers. Stewart Beach is located at the end of Broadway, and East Beach is about a mile east of Stewart Beach. There's a $5 per vehicle entrance fee, closed November - February. 6th Street & Seawall Blvd. Most other beaches are free; many of the nicest are on the west side of the island. Another activity popular with visitors and locals alike is to walk, skate, or ride a bike atop the seawall, which extends 10 miles along the shoreline.
Unlike Houston, there are many tours offered here: Galveston Harbour Tours (tel. 409/765-1700) offers a Saturday morning dolphin watch tour and a more frequent harbor tour; Duck Tours (tel. 409/621-4771) offers bus tours of the island; and Ghost Tours (tel. 409/949-2027) offers a walking tour of the Strand District. On Broadway there are a few massive 19th-century mansions that offer tours: Ashton Villa, 2328 Broadway (tel. 409/762-3933); the Bishop's Palace, 1402 Broadway (tel. 409/762-2475), the most interesting of the bunch because there's more to see; and the Moody Mansion, 2618 Broadway (tel. 409/762-7668).


More Information

Port of Galveston
Pier 25, 25th Street & Harborside Dr.
Galveston, TX 77553
www.portofgalveston.com
409-765-9321- Phone
409-766-6171 - Fax
Parking: $8.00 per day*
Useful Links About Cruise Port of Galveston:
Galveston Travel Information

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