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JUL-AUG 2016

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26 selecttraveler.com J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6 a taste of east texas S T A T E o f M I N D M arley loudly proclaimed his arrival and proceeded to take over the room. I couldn't tell if the shrill squawks were a reggae imitation of his namesake, Bob Marley, but they sure left an impression. I met Marley, an endangered Northern Rockhopper pen- guin, at Moody Gardens' aquarium on a recent trip to the com- plementary east Texas neighbors Galveston and Houston. Galveston offers a mix of history and laid-back beach vibe, while Houston, 40 miles west, is a cosmopolitan me- tropolis fi lled with a wide choice of museums, theaters and restaurants. GARDENS ON THE GULF I started in Galveston, located on an island in the Gulf of Mexico with 32 miles of beaches, a busy cruise port and a downtown and surrounding neighborhoods fi lled with his- toric buildings and Victorian houses. e busiest stretch of beach is in front of a seawall built after a devastating 1900 hurricane and across the road from hotels, resorts, restaurants and shops. ose who don't want to soak up the sun on the beach can take in the ocean view on a 10-mile-long sidewalk alongside the beach, credited by the Guinness Book of Records with being the longest con- tinuous sidewalk in the world, or hit the Historic Pleasure Pier, which juts into the gulf with old-fashioned rides, carni- val games and souvenir shops. My fi rst stop, however, was on the bay side of the island at Moody Gardens, a 242-acre multi-faceted complex that has an aquarium, rainforest and science discovery center in three large glass pyramids; an artifi cial beach; cruises aboard a paddlewheel boat; a hotel; and a convention center. e aquarium is undergoing a $30 million multistage ren- ovation set for completion next May. Its blue pyramid con- tains 1.5 million gallons of water with a variety of sharks, BY HERB SPARROW GALVESTON AND HOUSTON ARE A TWO-STEP FOR TRAVELERS Galveston's beachfront

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