South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center
The South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center is an experience that you don’t want to miss out on and is a perfect destination for families, nature enthusiasts, teachers, and students alike. Nestled on a beautiful 182 acres on Oso Creek on the south side of Corpus Christi, you’ll find the open-air, screened-in, 2,600-square-foot Butterfly House, where larval plants and nectar attract countless species of native and migratory butterflies.
Also, be sure to check out the Anderson Bromeliad Conservatory, featuring over 800 Aechmea bromeliads and genera. The Samuel Jones Orchid Conservatory is one of the newest additions, completed in 2015, and features one of the Southwest’s largest collection of orchids, where you’ll find Phalaenopsis, Dendrobium, Paphiopedilum, Cattleya, and other types of genera.
- Location: 8545 S. Staples St., Corpus Christi, TX 78413
- Hours of Operation: 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
- Cost: $8 for adults; $6 for seniors, military, and college students; $4 for children ages 3–12; children under 3 get in free.
The Art Museum of South Texas
Opened in October 1972, designed by the famed architect Philip Johnson, and constructed entirely out of white shellcrete and plaster, the Art Museum of South Texas primarily features regional artworks and exhibitions that are representative of the region’s rich history. In 2006, the post-modern architect Ricardo Legorreta expanded the facility, nearly doubling its size and adding more gallery space, an expanded museum store, and a new cafe with stunning views of the bay. Be sure to check out their schedule for upcoming exhibitions, educational programs, and theatrical and musical performances that are always changing.
- Location: 1902 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, TX 78401
- Hours of Operation: Monday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday: 1–5 p.m.
- Cost: $8 for adults; $6 for seniors, military, and TAMUCC students; $4 for students ages 13 and up; free for children under 12.
The USS Lexington, nicknamed The Blue Ghost, traveled 209,000 miles in service to the United States since being commissioned in 1943 during World War II for the Pacific War theater. It was the recipient of the Presidential Unit Citation and 11 battle stars for its excellent history of service. Decommissioned in 1991 and donated as a museum ship to Corpus Christi, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2003.
Some of the attractions you’ll find are its Flight Deck, where you can get up close and personal with 20 different aircraft and anti-aircraft guns. Take the immersive journey across the seas at the Joe Jessel 3-D Mega Theater and find yourself aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, and experience the war exercises and flight operations alongside thousands of Naval servicemen. Experience the retelling of the attack on Pearl Harbor on Tour Route 2. Step into the shoes of a ship commander or ace pilot at the Virtual Battle Stations and experience the adrenaline-pumping action firsthand with jaw-dropping graphics. See if you’ve got what it takes to get through the Screaming Eagles training exercise by piloting your own warbird and launch from the carrier, hit the targets, and land safely with the Flight Simulator.
- Location: 2914 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi, TX 78402
- Hours of Operation: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Labor Day to Memorial Day, and 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Memorial Day to Labor Day and Spring Break.
- Cost: $16.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors and military, $11.95 for children ages 4–12, free for children ages 3 and under.
If you’re looking for some relaxation time, take in the stunning views of Padre Island and take your pick from several beaches. Fancy some fishing or surfing? Be sure to check out Bob Hall Pier. In 2015, Schlitterbahn opened their new waterpark, making it a great destination for a quick family getaway. At Padre Island, you’ll also find some of the area’s best cuisine and nightlife options to keep the fun going after the sun goes down.
Separating the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre, you’ll find the Padre Island National Seashore, a haven and nesting ground for the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, along with nearly 400 species of birds. It’s known as the world’s longest undeveloped barrier reef island.
- Location: 20420 Park Road 22, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
Corpus Christi Museum of Science & History
At the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, located in the SEA District under the Harbor Bridge, you’ll find historical exhibits and collections filling this 40,000-square-foot facility, covering over 500 years of the rich history of South Texas. Check out the Corpus Christi History exhibit to learn about the area, or the shipwreck exhibits, featuring 16th and 17th century shipwrecks of early Spanish and French explorers and their treasures. You’ll also find paleontology exhibits, the Hall of Earth Science, Children’s Wharf, and much more. Ask about their Summer Science Camp and other educational programs for teachers, students, and families.
- Location: 1900 N. Chaparral St., Corpus Christi, TX 78401
- Hours of Operation: Tuesday–Saturday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sunday: noon–5 p.m., Monday: Closed (except for March and June–August, when it’s open 10 a.m.–5 p.m.)
- Cost: $10.95 for adults, $7.95 for seniors and military, $8.95 for children ages 3-12, free for children ages 2 and under.
Have fun out there, and don’t forget to check out the Midtown Corpus Apartments move-in specials and availability!