The coastal city of Corpus Christi, Texas, offers visitors proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. This getaway offers visitors a mix of modern and historic attractions that highlight its journey from the past through the present.
Corpus Christi Attractions
The Texas State Aquarium has several exhibits, programs and camps for visitors who want to learn more about and explore marine life. Some of the aquarium's exhibits include Dolphin Bay, Eagle Pass, Floating Phantoms, Islands of Steel, Living Shores, Otter Creek, Shark Touch, Stingray Lagoon and Swamp Tales. Also at the attraction is the HEB Splash Park and Owen's Paleo Park. The splash park is a zero-depth wetscape water play area found in the aquarium's Coastal Bend. Vacationers can play in marine-themed park features such as water spray jets, interactive water toys, water cannons and much more. Owen's Paleo Park is a fossil dig site where guests can discover fossilized remains of animals including the giant ground sloth and saber-toothed cat. Programs at the aquarium include Reptile Research, Fish Quest, Discovering Dolphins, Daily Diets, Explore Your Shore! and Behind-the-Scenes.
The USS Lexington is a ship and museum that allows visitors to get an up-close experience aboard a vessel used during World War II. The aircraft carrier was the last remaining ship still in service from the period. It was moved to Corpus Christi in 1992 and opened to the public in October of that year. Attractions on the ship include the Joe Jessel 3-D MEGA Theater, virtual battle stations, a flight simulator and a cafe. The virtual battle station is perfect for visitors of all ages and allows you to get a view of what it was like for deployed soldiers during World War II. Guests can be a pilot in Dog Fight, fire at enemy aircraft in Combat and land a plane in Carrier Landing.
For serenity, head to Padre Island, the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island terrain in the world. The Padre Island National Seashore separates Laguna Madre from the Gulf of Mexico and features 70 miles of protected coastline, dunes, prairies and wind tidal flats. At the seashore you may catch a glimpse of the Kemp's ridley sea turtle or one of 380 bird species who live there. There's a history of Spanish shipwrecks dating as far back as 1554 at the site that guests can learn about, and the national seashore also has military history when the northern section of the island served as a Navy bombing range from World War II to 1960.
Thanks to Corpus Christi's warm climate, any season is a great time to visit. Those in search of a great recreation area on the water should head to Mustang Island State Park where you can indulge in swimming, hiking and mountain biking on 5 miles of open beach. When you visit the park be sure to try surfing and kayaking. Those who visit during the spring and fall should check out the park for bird watching during these respective migration periods. Also near Mustang Island State Park is Lake Corpus Christi State Park and Copano Bay Fishing Pier.
Things to Do in Corpus Christi
Dining: Seafood is a must-have while staying in Corpus Christi as well as authentic Tex-Mex cuisine. Watch the sun set over the water as you eat dinner at Fajitaville. Visitors to the city can also try out new dishes or get a real Texas meal such as premium-quality steak or authentic barbecue. Other notable eateries in Corpus Christi include Acapulco's Mexican Restaurant, Alley Grill, Cotten's BBQ, Crab-N Restaurant and Montana Mike's Steakhouse.
Shopping: La Palmera features more than 100 retail stores in an enclosed, air-conditioned mall. You can also head to Sunrise Mall, Bel-Aire Shopping Center, Corpus Christi Trade Center, Crossroads Shopping Village, Antique Row or Carmel Village Shopping Center for additional retail and specialty options. Some of the stores in the city include Bleu Frog Mercantile that sells vintage items and Padre Islander, where you can find everything you need for a day at the beach.
South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center: Check out beautiful and unique Texan flora and fauna at this local venue. Visitors to the center can also see scenic views of wetlands and native habitat throughout the 180 acres. There are 2,000 orchids to see and smell, making it one of the largest public collections to view in the Southern U.S. Don't miss the over 100 varieties of roses in the Rose Garden as well.
Suter Wildlife Refuge: Near Orso Bay is the Suter Wildlife Refuge, a 72-acre habitat for migrating birds and other creatures. There's an 800-foot boardwalk that is a prime spot for bird watching as it stretches across marshes, tidal pools and the bay, offering spectacular views. Explorers can take advantage of the one-mile nature trail along the shore as well as picnic tables, grills, a playground, interpretive displays and a butterfly garden.