Port of Galveston cruise terminal showcases Flower Garden Banks exhibits

By Leslie Whaylen Clift

Earlier this year in April 2019, two exhibits from Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary were installed at the Port of Galveston within Cruise Terminal 2 in Galveston, Texas. During these last 3 months, the Reef on the Road traveling kiosk exhibit and the Gulf of Mexico Treasures: Coral Reefs and Beyond have been seen by 165,000 visitors boarding cruise ships for trips across the Gulf of Mexico. Cruises out of Galveston often pass near Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary en route to Caribbean destinations. These exhibits enhance the travel experience and educate travelers about the wonders that lie beneath them in the Gulf of Mexico. 

Reef on the Road delivers messages of underwater beauty and diversity, as well as reasons for action to conserve our fragile ocean planet. The Port of Galveston is the seventh location for the exhibit since it first debuted at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Conference in the fall of 2014. 

Gulf of Mexico Treasures: Coral Reefs and Beyond conveys visual underwater images printed on a special edition, dye-infused metal. This educational exhibit directly relates to NOAA’s mission of conserving marine resources by communicating to the public, from local to national levels, the value of such resources, particularly Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary’s coral reef habitats. 

Together, these two exhibits through a combination of short messages, interactive elements, photographs, and videos, guests will be engaged in learning about Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, our local ocean treasure. The exhibits also allow visitors a unique look into the issues impacting the marine ecosystem, as well as encouraging each person to examine the personal role they have in the protection of one of our nation’s underwater treasures. 

Hosting these exhibits in the cruise terminal will build awareness of the sanctuary with a nationwide audience that will travel right past it on the way to their destinations. 

Funding for the development of these two exhibits were provided through the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.