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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.
Founded in 1995 as a cooperative artist's studio, the gallery gets its name from the Kress Five and Dime shop that was the former tenant of the building. Today, this non-profit organization aims to advance and cultivate contemporary art in South Texas. Various special exhibits are organized throughout the year, where guests will see paintings, sculptures and multi-media works on display, everything created by local artists. Be sure to visit the gift shop for one-of-a-kind, hand made souvenirs and small pieces of art.
This building was designed by the renowned architect Philip Johnson, where he used a material called 'shellcrete', which is a combination of shells and concrete. The tri-level structure stands majestically by the bay and it houses an interesting permanent collection as well as constant temporary exhibitions. Most pieces are American contemporary and include paintings and sculptures from renowned artists like Georgia O'Keefe and Jackson Pollock. For the little ones there is a children's play area located downstairs and if art makes you hungry, step into the elegant Dobson Cafe for a light lunch.
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.
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.
Meet and greet this magnificent mammal in its natural habitat within the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters. In fact, it is the only place in Texas to see dolphins at such close range, which makes Dolphin Connection worth the 25-minute drive from Corpus Christi. The tours last from between one to two-hours and almost each ride guarantees seeing a few dolphins. The guides simply love what they do, and are as passionate about these wonderful creatures. All in all, an unforgettable encounter.
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.
Peacefully residing on the North Padre Island, the Padre Island National Seashore is essentially famed for its untouched beaches, dunes, sea turtles, migratory birds, and other endangered species. This seashore divides the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre and has a few hypersaline lagoons which are very rare in the world. The National Seashore opened its doors in 1962 and is one of the few nesting places of the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle. A wonderland for birders, the entrancing seashore harbors diverse varieties of birds any day of the week on its freshwater ponds and lagoons. Some species include herons, egrets, terns and skimmers which inhabit this shore, a stirring amalgam of land and sea. A stunning natural as well as a geological marvel, this invigorating seashore represents marine biodiversity at its very best.
The Texas Maritime Museum presents a chronicle of the state's history inside-and-out of the water. Some of the permanent exhibits detail the age of exploration and settlement, development, sport and commercial fishing and finally the art of shipbuilding. On occasion, visitors will find temporary exhibits which only last a few weeks or days at a time, but they are always thought-provocative. Throughout the year, the museum hosts camps, workshops and other programs according to the season.
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.
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.