Rainforest Cafe & The Jungle River Ride, Galveston

Jungle-themed restaurant complete with animatronics (elephants, tigers, snakes, birds, monkeys), sound effects, waterfall, tanks of tropical fish, and rain forest atmosphere. I like this place for once a year, or maybe every other. The noise level from the continuous loop of animal shrieks and simulated rainforest thunderstorms (and crowds talking over these), combined with sudden uproars of singing and applause from birthday revelers, can be too much sensory stimulation for an autistic child. Our au son had to wear his sound-blocking headphones until he got acclimated to the noise, at which point I wanted to wear them. This place is designed for kids to enjoy, with sparkler-topped sundaes and gator drink cups. In this photo everyone is preoccupied with a new DS game birthday gift.

At the Rainforest Café in Galveston my kids really enjoyed something many people don’t know about: that location has an underground jungle river ride in its basement! This it is not even mentioned on the Rainforest website, and some may not notice that there is a place by the entrance to go down to a ride below. It’s quite tame, also jungle-themed with animatronics, but it adds greatly to the entertainment value of the place. Sorry, no pictures to show because it was too dark, you’ll just have to experience it. 5310 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, TX  77551 (409) 744-6000

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