South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, South Padre Island

South Texas is part of a huge migration route for birds, and while there are many, many places in the region dedicated to seeing birds, one of our favorites is the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center!

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

The Center is located on the Bay side of the Island.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

Admission is sold for the day or by the week, a great purchase if you’re staying for a few days and want to come back at different times of day, as you never know what you might see!

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

Inside there is a nice interpretive center with interesting exhibits about the nature of the bay and beach.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

Display cases house shells that are not only common to the Texas coast, but those that have found their way to South Padre from around the world!

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

Railroad Vine or Beach Morning Glory is a pretty plant that grows in the sandy dunes.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

They also have a good exhibit on the sea turtles common to South Padre Island.  Sea Turtles Inc. is located right next door, and they have resident turtles, rehabilitating turtles and they do sea turtle hatchling releases during the summer.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

We braved the January wind, which was pretty chilly on the day we visited, to see the boardwalk.  From the 2nd level, you can climb up the outside stairs to the 5th level, or just inside and ride the elevator!

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

In addition to the wetlands and mud flats, there are pretty, man-made areas and waterfalls, and a butterfly garden.

The butterfly garden is a resting place for thousands of Monarch butterflies as they make their epic migration each year!  October is the prime time to visit to see them!

Visit during September to see the Ruby-throated hummingbirds as they make their way down to Mexico each year!

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

From the 5th level, we had a great view of the flats.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

On the day of your visit, check for guided tours, which are included in your admission.  Be sure and bring a good lens for your camera or binoculars.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

Sorry, no pets allowed on the boardwalk.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

A view of the back of the center, from the boardwalk.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

There were so many different birds on the wetlands.  We didn’t sit around to watch, because it was just cold!  There are some covered areas which would be nice during the summer.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

A few things to remember to take with you are bug spray and sunscreen, however they ask that you spray in the parking lot, as both can harm the sensitive Laguna Madre ecosystem.

Water for refillable water bottles is available inside.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

We tried not to bother this fishing egret.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

The bird blinds are set out in the best place to see the birds.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

We saw plenty of commorants as we walked out into the bay!

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

There were also plenty of people braving the cold to kite surf on such a windy day!  My daughter really wants to take lessons, but during the summer!  For more information, click HERE to check out Air Padre Kiteboarding.

South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

The biggest thrill for us came when we visited Bird Blind #4, near the fresh water inlet from the Waste Water Treatment Plant.

alligator at South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center

This alligator was burrowed up in the mud, trying to stay warm.  Such a large alligator can low it’s breathing and heartbeat and stay under quite a while to conserve energy, while smaller alligators can be seen sunning even on chilly days to stay warm.

During warmer weather, you can often see them sunning and swimming in the brackish water and freshwater ponds around the center!  They have been seen out in the bay, but will return to the fresher water.

Did you know that the Laguna Madre is actually saltier than the Gulf?  During times of drought or little rainfall, evaporation cause an increase in the salinity of the bay, and during times of increased rainfall, that amount drops.   Reduction in drainage areas by concrete and culverts means less water is absorbed by the ground, and increases run off and an influx of fresh water during rains.

Things To Do in South Padre Island

Play

Sea Turtle Inc.  gives tours of their resident and rehabilitating sea turtles, as well as turtle and hatchling releases.  Click HERE for more information.

Parrot Eyes Watersports offers boat and jet ski tours into the Laguna Madre to see stingrays and dolphins!  Click HERE for more information.

Isla Blanca Park offers beach access, a fishing pier, restaurants, and more! Click HERE for more information!

South Padre Island Adventure Park offers horseback riding on the beach, zip lines, petting zoo and more!  Save money by purchasing online.  Click HERE for more information.

Eat

Pier 19 is our favorite!  Enjoy a walk along their long pier, and watch dolphins in the bay as you dine! Click HERE for more information.

Stay

Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Beach Resort offers beachfront rooms and admission into the waterpark with your stay!  Click HERE for more information.


 South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center
6801 Padre Island Blvd., South Padre Island
Click HERE to visit their website.


Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun!
Michelle
Having Fun in the TEXAS Sun is on PINTEREST! Use it as a quick resource to find activities in different Texas towns! Click HERE!
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