Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi, TX…
One of the other things that we did during our visit to Padre Island National Park, was to drive in to Corpus Christi and spend an afternoon at the Texas State Aquarium. The aquarium is part of the AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums), so if you have a membership to your local zoo or aquarium, you would get in to the Texas State Aquarium for half price (like we did). One of the things that I loved the most about this aquarium, was that all the talks and shows were included in the entrance fee.
The aquariums has educational talks, and animal shows every half hour, throughout the day. Our favorite stop of the day was at StingRay Alley (which is a large touch tank). During the talks that are given here (one in the morn, one in the afternoon), you can purchase a small tray of fish for $3 and feed the rays. This exhibit brought us back 3 times! LOL! The rays were docile, and friendly. They would swim right in front of the kids, and practically beg for attention! There were a couple of characters that would swim along the edge of the tank slapping their fin along the side, splashing water up on us, and some that would swim up and stick their heads out of the water and wait for the kids to pet them!
There is also a dolphin show (done both am and pm) that is fabulous. While I can’t compare it to SeaWorld (since we’ve never been…), we thought it was pretty fabulous! The aquarium has 2 dolphins, and you can watch their antics from above by sitting in the bleachers, or you can also go below and watch them from the large underwater viewing windows.
While there are quite a few outdoor exhibits, there are also inside tanks and a gift store to give you a break from the heat if you should visit in the summer. Indoors also features a library, and an activity room where younger children can color pictures, check out activity boxes, play with puppets, and learn about sea creatures.
During the summer, the aquarium opens their children’s splash pool (tentatively scheduled to open again March 1), and there are food and ice cream vendors. The entire aquarium is stroller and wheelchair friendly, and there are quite a few benches scattered throughout the grounds if you like to tour leisurely. Adult tickets are $16.95; half off of that if you have a reciprical membership, and they also offer military discounts as outlined on their visitor info page. The park is open from 9-5 (6 in the summer), and there is parking available near the entrance ($3 to $5). The aquarium is located right next to the USS Lexington, and conveniently off of I-35. You can check out the aquarium’s website here
; it’s a great place to spend a day!