It is always nice to take a break from the 'norm', and we've been looking forward to visiting Corpus Christi for quite a while.
Our favorite area? Port Aransas, watching the wild dolphins playing in the bow wave of the ships. :-)
Places we visited:
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge: This refuge is known for the Whooping Cranes who migrate here in the winter. They were mostly gone when we visited, but we did end up seeing 7 of them from afar. Next year we hope to visit the Whooping Crane festival in February.
South Texas Botanical Garden & Nature Center: With a $9 entry fee, this cute botanical garden was more of a unique walk than a garden. They do accept dogs, so we did this on a day we took Pica with us. They have a greenhouse of Orchids which was fabulous, but otherwise just a good excuse for a walk. They had 1 bird out, but the other 20 birds were put away for the day.
OSO Bay Wetlands Preserve: Also dog friendly. We didn't see many birds here, but it was a beautiful walk with nicely groomed trails. About 3 miles here.
Hans & Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge: A smaller refuge near the bay, Pica walked the boardwalk with us to see the bridge and bar area. About a mile walk, but the boardwalk is in need of repair and it was a bit scary to be on. Most of the time, we carried Pica in fear of her paws stepping on nails.
Port Aransas (Dolphins & Pelicans): Oh my, this place is a MUST GO spot if you visit the area! I read that this was a hot-spot for dolphins, and it wasn't long until we found them swimming in the channel! It was pretty common to see them playing around boats, but the most amazing was to see them just play in the bow-wave of the large ships. After this ship arrived in the gulf, the dolphins would disappear for a while, then show up when another ship went by. Just like a bunch of teenagers 'catching their wave' all day.. :-)
Texas Aquarium: Reviews on this place were not that great, but we went anyway. We had a good time, but it was way too busy to really enjoy the exhibits. At $35 each, I don't think we'll be back.
U.S.S. Lexington: A retired air craft carrier that was involved in Pearl Harbor and World War II. It was commissioned for 40 years before it was finally retired and placed at Corpus Christi.
I must say, this was absolutely BY FAR, the best ship tour we've ever had! After 3 hours, we still hadn't seen everything, and we were allowed to tour 6 different decks, the flight deck, the bridge, and LOTS more.. We would also recommend this ship visit if you're in the area, and is well worth the $17/$19 entrance fee.
Sea Life Education Center: A small little building and a $9 entrance fee, this place is active in saving the sea turtles and releasing the babies in the summer. Their knowledge is amazing, and it was wonderful to see all the animals in their care.
Padre Island: this island is a home to MANY birds, and has over 60 miles of drivable beach, most of which can be camped on. It was beautiful for a day trip, but we quickly learned that the beautiful photos we've seen online are not what the beach is like. We'll be keeping our RV off of this beach. We ended up grabbing a special trash bag from the visitor center and spent our time walking the beach and picking up garbage. Nope. we didn't even make a dent. We don't have to go back. Ever!