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The USS Lex was once used in military expeditions throughout the world, but today it functions as a floating museum. It is docked pleasantly on the Corpus Christi Bay, and it's quite impressive to see from any angle. To board, you are whisked away in a free shuttle that takes you right to the ship's hangar entrance. The tour allows visitors to see the flight deck, the control and navigation rooms and even the captain's quarters. There is also a mega-theater on board as well as a flight simulator and an interactive exhibit entitled 'Virtual Battle Stations'.
Located in beautiful Bayfront Park, the Harbor Playhouse consists of hundreds of volunteers and actors that perform about four productions each year. Since 1925 it has entertained city dwellers as well as tourists who happen to stumble upon a performance. Some interpretations include contemporary drama, musicals and comedies. Additionally, the theater has special events scheduled throughout the year. One of the most popular is the annual Halloween open house featuring actors dressed as ghosts and goblins.
Quite possibly the most famous musician to come out of Corpus Christi, Selena Quintanilla's life journey can be seen through this museum. Her family built the museum after receiving letters from fans expressing their interest in a museum to commemorate the legendary Tejano singer. On display you will find several of Selena's stage costumes, most of which she designed herself, awards and other memorabilia. The museum even has Selena's red Porsche for visitors to see. All admission revenue goes to the Selena Foundation, which helps to aid children in need and provides scholarships to promising students.
Originally built in 1877, this magnificent 29-room house shows the opulence and grandeur in which the Fulton Family lived. The mansion has been renovated over the years and guided tours are available Wednesday through Sunday. As you walk through the home, you can see why construction took years to complete. With palm trees and an impressive facade, it is hard to imagine that the final cost of the house was a mere 55,000 in Victorian Era dollars. The house is run under the auspices of the Texas Historical Commission and it's a great place to visit if you enjoy history, especially Texan history.
Named after Texan Senator Bob Hall, who is also known by the name Robert Lee Hall, this pier is one of the major attractions in the city. Offering activities like fishing, surfing, driving on the beach and opportunity to indulge in water sports, Bob Hall Pier is the place to be for people of all ages looking to do something fun while in the city. Extending into the Gulf of Mexico, the Bob Hall Pier is also an ideal spot for watching sunset and taking in the sweeping view of the waters.
This nature center in southwest Corpus Christi houses more than 180-acres (72.84 hectares) of exotic and native plants. The site features an Orchid House, Bromeliad Sanctuary, a Rose Garden and many other designated flower areas. Another benefit to the gardens, include the fact that the center works as a conservationist for exotic and abandoned animals. The botanical gardens house reptiles, birds and fish all in their respective exhibits and habitats. Don't forget to take a walk down the Bird & Butterfly Trail which overlooks Gator Lake! Moreover, the gardens often host special events, educational classes and tours.
Spanning across more than 100,000 acres (40469 hectares), Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for migratory birds. Quenched by the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, this ecological expanse was established in 1937 and it has since then worked tirelessly towards protecting vulnerable bird species. The mighty Whooping Crane population which was on the brink of extinction was significantly revived here since 1940, and it has been one of its most distinguished success stories. Albeit a paradise for birding enthusiasts, the refuge's marshes are also teeming with American alligators while Bobcats and white-tailed deer tread under the shady blackjack oaks.
For an educational day out with the kids, visit the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History located in Bayfront Park. What really draws visitors to this museum are the replicas of the Pinta, Niña and Santa Maria; the ships that Christopher Columbus sailed upon when he arrived in the Americas. Guided tours of the ships are available every hour and are included in the price of admission. Aside from the ships, the museum has a number of exhibits that highlight the region. From paleontology and ecology to agronomy and the history of Corpus Christi, this museum is a veritable treasure trove of education in the region.
One of the main attractions in downtown Corpus Christi is its bustling marina. Here you will find sailboats docked in neat rows, snow cone vendors, restaurants and tour ship cruises. During the day you can walk down the piers and find local fisherman selling the day's catch. During the summer months, it becomess especially busy with families walking up and down the wooden piers and at night, it is particularly stunning when the marina is illuminated.
The Texas State Asian Cultures Museum promotes the culture and traditions of the world's largest continent; with art from nations such as India, China Sri Lanka, Laos, Japan, the artworks represent regions from the entire land mass including parts of Austronesia. On the second floor you will find the information center which educates visitors about Asian cultures through costumes, storytelling and crafts. The museum is conveniently located downtown and it host special events throughout the year.
On a breezy summer evening, with the sun setting behind the Corpus Christi skyline, nothing is better than a walk down the promenade. Built along the sea wall of Corpus Christi Bay, the promenade attracts walkers, runners in-line skaters and families to cool down and take in the sea air. Along the way, visitors can take refuge under one of the 'Miradores del Mar', these eight gazebos are a great place to stop and look into the vast Gulf.