Corpus Christi, a coastal city in Nueces County, is the eighth-largest city in the state of Texas. The name of the city, a Latin word meaning the Body of Christ, was given to a Spanish settlement in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. At present, the city is a major tourist destination in the state and has been nicknamed as The Sparkling City by the Sea. Some of the most visited attractions in the southeastern part of the city, near the Pharaoh Valley subdivision, include the Hans and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge, situated on the western shore of the Oso Bay; and the Pharaoh’s golf course, a haven for a number of migratory and coastal birds.
The main places of tourist interest on the North Beach include the Texas State Aquarium, the USS Lexington Museum, and the Corpus Christi’s museum district. The main attractions in the Museum District are:
- Corpus Christi Museum of Science and history
- the Museum of Asian Cultures
- Harbor Playhouse Theater
- South Texas Institute for the Arts
- Heritage Park
The museum district is actually a part of the downtown area, which is also home to a number of companies, shops, skyscrapers, the Texas Surf Museum, and Mirador de la Flor. Downtown is also a popular center of marinas.
Other well-frequented tourist places nearby include
- Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
- Padre Island National Seashore
- Mustang Island State Park
- King Ranch
- South Padre Island Drive (SPID).
The SPID is the main retail corridor of the city, with two major shopping malls, the Sunrise Mall and the Padre Staples Mall. Besides, the city also has a number of other small strip centers, shopping centers, and elegant restaurants.
Corpus Christi is also known for its recreational activities. The main tourist activities include fishing, hunting, kayak fishing, kiteboarding, windsurfing, kite flying, and skateboarding. The famous Corpus Christi Skate Park, situated in Cole Park on the shoreline of the Corpus Christi Bay near downtown, is a 12,000 square ft (1100 square meters) Concrete Park, which features a skating bowl, and a street course with stairs, railings and flat surfaces. The city has a lot to offer and is well worth visiting.
- Website: www.cctexas.com
Mustang Island State Park
Mustang Island State Park, situated south of the city of Port Aransas, Texas, is a 3,954 acre (16.01 sq-km) coastal barrier island with an extraordinary and complicated ecosystem. This state park is located along the spectacular Gulf of Mexico and has a 5-mile (8-km) beachfront. It was inaugurated in the year 1979. The Park is primarily known for its outdoor recreational activities. The main tourist activities at the Park include fishing, excellent birding, picnicking, and mountain biking, sunbathing, camping, swimming, and surfing. Besides, a number of interpretive ecological tours are made available to the visitors upon request.
Mustang Island is largely dependent upon sand dunes for its protection from sea and storms. These coastal dunes are anchored by mats of vegetation and reach an average height of 15-20 ft (4.5-6.0 m). The common flora and fauna that can be found on the island include sea oats, soil bind morning glory, pocket gophers, rice rats, cotton rats, striped skunks, cottontail, rabbits, coyotes, armadillos, waterfowl, shorebirds, hawks, and songbirds. Over 600 distinct species of saltwater fish inhabit the water along the coast.
- Mailing Address: 17047 State Highway 361, PO Box 326, Corpus Christi, TX 78373
- Telephone: (361) 749-5246
- Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/spdest/findadest/parks/mustang_island/
Texas State Aquarium
The Texas State Aquarium, situated in Corpus Christi, Texas, is a non-profit aquarium committed to promoting the Gulf of Mexico and conservation. The major attractions at the Aquarium include the four Dolphins: Cobie, DJ, Kai, and Shadow. Kai and DJ were brought from the Brookfield Zoo, while Shadow and Cobie came from the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Cobie passed away at the age of 15 from a chronic lung illness. At the Dolphin Bay, one can learn a lot about the Atlantic bottlenose dolphins.
Another major attraction at the Texas State Aquarium is the Hawn Wild Flight Theater. This theater was added to the Aquarium on April 24, 2007. It was established to honor the Hawn family for their venerable dedication to the Aquarium’s mission of wildlife education and conservation in South Texas. The Aquarium also features animal interviews, hands-on-experience with stingrays and sharks, and daily dive presentations. Other highlights at the Aquarium include the Islands of Steel, where one can see a sand tiger shark; and the wonderful world of sea turtles and river otters. The Texas State Aquarium offers all the fun and adventure of an aquatic journey.
- Address: 2710 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78402
- Telephone: (361) 881-1200
- Hours: 9 AM – 5 PM daily
- Website: www.texasstateaquarium.org