Corpus Christi is the perfect location for the Texas State Aquarium. As a coastal city, it’s naturally home to many migratory birds, sea turtles, saltwater fish, jellyfish, alligators, and other animals. Many budding marine biologists go to Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi to get a hands-on education along the Gulf Coast. In addition to the natural marine life presence, students can find even more at the Texas State Aquarium. The nonprofit aquarium offers student internships and volunteer opportunities. Students of any and all degree programs can take advantage of the $2 student discount on admission tickets with school ID. The regular ticket price for adults is $34.95. Whether you want to learn about marine ecosystems, see a shark up close, or feed flamingos, the aquarium can provide that experience. Here are a few attractions to look for next time you visit the Texas State Aquarium.
The Caribbean Journey
The Caribbean Journey exhibit was inspired by the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. The reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is teeming with life and beauty. It contains coral reefs, blue Caribbean waters, thousands of plant and animal species, and the Tulum Ruins. The Texas State Aquarium has put in years of work to bring the Caribbean/Mexican environment to Corpus Christi in its newest exhibit. The exhibit contains vibrant coral formations, cenotes, and a sunken shipwreck. There is also a 400,000-gallon shark habitat, a 4D theater, and hands-on and interactive exhibits. A true representation of the Sian Ka’an, there are dozens of exotic plants, flowers, and trees under a film skylight roof.
The Caribbean Journey exhibit features:
- A shark exhibit
- Caribbean flamingos
- The Jungle
- Coral reef
- A 4D theater
The Dolphin Bay exhibit contains two levels: the top level and the underwater observation level. At the top level, visitors can witness the talented and trained bottlenose dolphins perform acrobatics with their trainers. During the show, visitors also learn about the care these dolphins receive to improve and protect their social, cognitive, and psychological well-being. All of the aquarium’s dolphins were born in protective environments and are unable to be released into the wild. They serve as ambassadors for their cousins in the wild and help raise awareness about marine mammal protection.
Meet the dolphins:
- Shadow — The big brother of the group, Shadow is the oldest dolphin in Dolphin Bay. His birthday is July 23, 1992.
- Kai — One of the most playful dolphins, Kai’s name means “spirit of the sea” in Hawaiian.
- Liko — This beautiful dolphin has distinct countershading and has a great personality to match.
- Schooner — The youngest of the group, Schooner, stands out in intelligence. He is considered to be the smartest in Dolphin Bay by his trainers.
Dolphins at the Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi, Texas by TravelingOtter via Flickr.
Bo the Alligator
Find Bo the Alligator in the Swamp Tales exhibit. This exhibit replicates forested wetlands of the Gulf Coast. American alligators have had a challenging past, nearly going extinct in the 1960s. Some like Bo have managed to persevere. The species has regained its numbers thanks to endangered species protections. In 1990, Bo was found in a drainage ditch in Taft, Texas. Now, he makes the Texas State Aquarium his permanent home. Inside Swamp Tales, visitors will also see red-ear sliders and Texas diamondback terrapin turtles.
The 4D Experience
The 4-dimension theater provides an immersive experience with state-of-the art technology and special effects that make viewers feel as if they’re swimming right alongside marine life. Admission to the theater is included at no extra cost with aquarium admission. Showings occur every 30 minutes, and films change periodically. The current showings are BBC Earth:Shark andIce Age: No Time for Nuts 4-D Experience. View the trailer for BBC Earth: Shark below.
The jungle exhibit inside the Carribean Journey exhibit is filled with some of the most interesting and exotic animals, like the two-toed sloth. Keep your eyes open for this stealthy creature as you walk through the winding pathways of the jungle. On your journey, you’re also likely to run into some flamingos, toucans, and iguanas. Turn your eyes to the trees, and you might spot Xena, the two-toed sloth, grazing in the trees. Sloths are one of the world’s slowest mammals. They use their long limbs and two-claws to move through the trees. Take notes from Xena, and take your time while exploring the beautiful and tropical exhibit. There’s no need to rush.
Exclusive encounters give visitors a behind-the-scenes look into the ongoings of the aquarium. The encounter options include:
- Discover Dolphins
- Feed the Fish
- Feed the Flock
Each encounter charges a separate admission fee. During the Feed the Fish encounter, participants get to feed some of the animals, including sharks! Feed the Fish is available on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. for $49.95 per person. Types of sharks at the aquarium include the sandbar shark, the Port Jackson shark, the epaulette shark, the horn shark, and white-spotted bamboo shark.