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The D'Arte Centre helps local artists to show and sell their works within the community as well as to the world abroad. Located in Downtown Harlingen, the center displays work of all types, including those submitted by students and children. It also offers classes in oil painting, watercolors and other traditional techniques, but there are still some innovative ideas taught, such as using recycled products. With this medium, participants turn recycled electronics, plastics, and glass into jewelry or household art.
The Beyond Arts Gallery functions as a space for local artists to present their work, from contemporary and fine art to sculpture and lapidary pieces. Almost every single one of the artworks is made in the Rio Grande Valley by artisans who focus on the culture, heritage, and history of the region. The gallery also offers classes in jewelry making using stones, regular rotating exhibitions, and even a permanent collection.
Ensconced in the sweeping terrains of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, this sprawling natural habitat occupies land which spreads across thousands of acres. A stunning amalgam of land and sea, this idyllic refuge is where a melange of animals rove wild and free across dense woodland. The Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is a natural haven for nature lovers as well as the native flora and fauna in this part of Texas. The park is open to visitors from dawn until dusk, and, in fact, it is at these times when its fascinating natural semblances bloom in all their glory. Hosting a range of activities like hiking, biking, and fishing, the refuge not only harbors interminable natural beauty but also strives to sustain it.
The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art is a small, intimate museum that features art from local as well as international artists. The permanent collection here features works by artists such as Mark Chagall, Augustus John and Alexander Calder. Since it is quite small, the museum can be visited within an hour; however the museum does have a store so you can take home a gift or memento.
The Stillman House is one of the oldest buildings in Brownsville. It was constructed in 1850 two years after the city was incorporated and despite the fact that much of the original architecture has been modified, the house still retains an ambiance that harkens back to yesteryear. The home was named after one Charles Stillman, the founder of Brownsville, although he only lived here for three years. In 1858, the Trevino Family bought the home and in 1875, the home was used as a place of fomenting revolution when future Mexican President Porfirio Diaz planned the collapse of the Mexican government. The Trevino Family sold the house in 1958 and the Brownsville Historical Association opened the doors to the public shortly thereafter.
Occupying one of Port Isabel's northernmost coasts, this whitewashed lighthouse has been standing on a prominent promontory since its inception in 1852. Constructed to assist the at times helpless sailors who regularly faced trouble while navigating the imposing South Padre Barrier, the lighthouse performed its duties to perfection till its dissolution in 1905. Rising to heights of 82-feet (25 meters), it quite easily manages to provide a series of breathtaking views of South Padre Island itself as well as the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. It still retains its third-generation Fresnel Lens that was installed onto its flashlight in 1857. Currently owned by the Texas State Park, it features a replica of the lighthouse keeper's cottage as well as the Port Isabel Historical Museum.
Before settlers arrived in this rugged, swampy part of North America, the Coahuilitican Indians subsisted on what the flora and fauna provided in this part of present-day Texas. The Port Isabel Historic Museum aims to preserve history by depicting a narrative that starts with these Native Americans and proceeds until developments in the present-day. Built in 1899, the building was once a dry goods store and a post office before its restoration along with the popular, Treasures of the Gulf Museum and the lighthouse-keeper's cottage. One of the main highlights of the historic museum is the varied collection of Mexican-American War (1846-1848) artifacts, of which Port Isabel played an integral part.
The sea turtle is an endangered species, but Sea Turtle Inc. is doing its best to change that. Here, visitors can learn all about the different species of turtles, and about what each individual can do to help these beautiful creatures. It doesn't matter if you are here for an informative tour, or to meet some turtles, you are guaranteed to learn a lot about this serene animal. The nonprofit was started in 1977 by a woman known by many as the "Turtle Lady of South Padre Island" and the organization continues to do good works to this day by rehabilitating and returning turtles to the wild.
Did you know that Texas has beachfront resort property which makes you feel as if you're in Florida as opposed to the Lone Star State? On this exotic island you'll definitely feel as if you're Fort Lauderdale, especially during Spring Break. The island has it all: beachfront resorts, seaside shops, restaurants, and of course the island also attracts a horde of party animals, thanks to its reputation as a nightlife destination as well. Moreover, if you enjoy outdoor adventure activities, then you can go fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling, wind surfing, golfing or take an eco-friendly tour of the fauna rich island.
Have you ever wanted to go deep-sea fishing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico? Well, now you can with Captain Murphy and his crew. This excursion provider takes visitors for a more than just a fishing trip however. Captain Murphy offers romantic sunset cruises, dolphin watching trips, and the popular Port of Brownsville tour. Reservations and confirmations need to be made by telephone as many tours sell out in advance.
Breakaway Cruises is one of the best outdoor water sport providers in the entire Rio Grande Valley and South Padre Island for that matter. It's located right across the street from the world-famous Schlitterbahn Beach Water Park, but if you opt for more natural wonders as opposed to mechanical ones, then Breakaway is a perfect choice. Here, visitors can go parasailing, hop aboard a jet-ski, snorkel, fish for deep-sea creatures, and even watch dolphins swim.
This is a water park where you could truly spend a whole day - or week! Brimming with tons of warm weather thrill rides, everyone in the family will definitely find something to keep them occupied. For thrill seekers, try slides like the Boogie Bahn, Tempest and Gale Force. Blackbeard's Twister and Lafitte's Cyclone are water coasters designed to make your heart pound as well. For those who seek more subdued attractions, the Lily Pad and the Los Rios Azul Torrent allow you to languidly float in peace while the seaside pool and Playa Beach let you escape it all and just relax.