Sunshine and warm weather lured huge crowds to entertainment hot spots for the second and final weekend of spring break.
Crowds were constant on the beach in Galveston, and families in particular flocked to the Kemah Boardwalk, the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier and Moody Gardens.
Galveston Island Beach Patrol Chief Peter Davis said Saturday was one of the busiest days in the last several years for the patrol.
“It was a perfect storm of rough water, strong rip currents and tons of people that all came together,” he said. “Every beach was packed. There had to have been a couple hundred thousand people out here Saturday. We were scrambling up and down (the) seawall all day.”
Lifeguards moved about 630 people away from dangerous areas that day, and about 150 people on Sunday in an effort to prevent drownings, he said.
Still, there were two water rescues during the weekend involving swimmers who were overcome by the strong currents and pushed into no-swimming areas near rocky piers at 37th and 47th streets. Both rescues ended successfully with no injuries, Davis said.
Two people did have to be transported to the hospital Saturday for treatment of minor wounds they suffered when a catamaran crashed into rocks at 103rd Street, he said.
The rest of the time, beach patrol officers were busy issuing huge numbers of citations related to alcohol and litter, he said.
Law enforcement agencies in the rest of the county reported 39 alcohol-related arrests, mainly for charges of public intoxication, driving under the influence and minor in possession, as well as 21 drug-related arrests.
Regional Director for Landry’s Theme Park Division Mark Kane reported positive attendance numbers, largely thanks to families, at both the Kemah Boardwalk and the pleasure pier on the island.
The city of Kemah was smart to partner with the Gulf Coast Center in Texas City to provide spring break shuttle service to help alleviate traffic around the boardwalk.
“Everything was moving smoother than it did last year,” Kane said. “I think we’ve learned some tricks with the traffic when it bottlenecked last year, so it’s been pretty seamless.”
Screams of pleasure spun from roller coasters on the jam-packed pleasure pier all weekend, which Kane said indicated it was a great first spring break for the pier.
Families boosted ticket sales for one- and two-day passes for Moody Gardens both spring break weekends, though overall attendance fell just below projections, spokeswoman Jerri Hamachek said.
“That’s a good bargain that enables families to take advantage of all the attractions,” she said. “They especially liked the ‘Flight of the Butterflies’ attraction, a 3D film we unveiled for spring break.”
But Hamachek said Moody crowds weren’t exclusively families, as the Moody Gardens Golf Course had a good turn out, too.