Moody Gardens Underwater Shipwreck

Moody Gardens, Journey to New Depths Aquarium Renovation

The $37 million Journey to New Depths aquarium renovation project included several exhibit upgrades within the iconic pyramid structure. Moody Gardens now showcases a new ray touch tank with mangroves, a new warm climate penguin exhibit, renovations to a cold climate penguin exhibit, large and small gulf rig tanks with coral, a California tank, and a replica of a 19th-century shipwreck.

Fabricating Aquarium Exhibit Features at COST

The fiberglass shipwreck, a replica of Jean Lafitte’s rum runner The Pride, was fabricated completely in COST’s plant and then shipped to the site for Moody’s dive team to install in a functioning tank. Extensive fiberglass detail work delivered a distressed wood theme finish, complete with attached faux barnacle and other invertebrate. Other shipwreck items, such as packing crates, cannons, masts, crow’s nest, etc. were also installed around the wreck scene for added interest.

New rig tanks required a number of brightly colored simulated coral fastened to a “steel” oil rig leg. The large tank sets below a fabricated replica of an oil rig deck. Custom corals were fabricated and shipped to the site to be applied by COST artisans to this shotcrete substrate.

The mangrove lagoon area included decorative 3Form panels, custom murals, simulated sand, rockwork, and faux mangrove trees that all provide a naturalistic habitat for the Cownose Stingrays and Bonnethead Sharks. Even the hand wash station involved converting a standard wash basin into a theme buoy.

COST's scope of work included shop drawings, structural engineering, scale models, fabrication of the shipwreck, and associated theme work, rockwork, coral, earth bank textures, faux sands, murals, and simulated ice.

The project team also included Seattle-based PJA Architects and Gilbane’s Houston Office, the general contractor.

More information on this project can be found on the Moody Gardens website.

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