Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi

One of the biggest attractions in Corpus Christi, and located right on the bay, the Texas State Aquarium is a world-class aquarium with incredible exhibits, many of which are hands-on and interactive!  Where else can you touch an epaulette shark or feed a stingray!  The focus of the Aquarium is on conservation and education of the sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea and oceans worldwide!

The Texas State Aquarium did offer us complimentary tickets to visit, although I was not financially compensated for this post.  I appreciate the tickets and that the Texas State Aquarium appreciates and respects what myself and other bloggers do for the public; giving honest opinions on places we visit with REAL pictures, while maybe a little wordy at times!

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Located on North Beach, the Texas State Aquarium is one of two great tourist attractions in Corpus Christi, the other being the U.S.S. Lexington!  North Beach is also a man-made beach where families come to enjoy the shallow water and smaller waves in the bay!  Nearby attractions include the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, the Corpus Christi Museum of Art, Whataburger Field, where the Astros AA farm team, the Corpus Christi Hooks play, and Hurricane Alley Waterpark!

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Know Before You Go 
The Texas State Aquarium is part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and participates in the reciprocal program if you are a member of a participating zoo.
Parking is now FREE!
Plan your day around the Daily Educational Presentations, some of which are offered twice or more a day, and some only once.
The Aquarium has a grill that serves sandwiches, salads, pizza and snacks, or bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the picnic tables outside the aquarium.  The TSA does not allow outside food to be brought inside.

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The Caribbean Journey

Learn about the animals and ecosystems of the Caribbean in this newly opened section of the aquarium!  From karst to mangrove swamps, the different regions of the Caribbean are focused on in this huge, glass-domed exhibit!

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Many of the birds of the Caribbean live here, such as flamingos, white pelicans, macaws, and so much more!

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At 3 stories, you can see the huge tanks both from above and at eye-level with the sharks, rays, groupers and other fish!

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The Caribbean Journey was the first place we went during our visit, mainly because I wanted to see the sloth!  Being a sloth, he’s not very active and was already gone for the day.  Keepers advised that the best time to see him is early in the day!

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I love how the exhibits truly look like a Caribbean coastline.

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Just a few more of the animals in the exhibit!

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There is also a stingray touch tank.  They still have the Stingray feeding outside, this is just another of the fun, hands-on exhibits!

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There aren’t any exhibits on the 3rd floor, but there are great views, so don’t miss going!

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There are portholes that look into the tanks.

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And windows with views of the Corpus Christi Bay and Harbor Bridge.  Did you know that there is a seperate, pedestrian lane where you can walk to the top of the bridge?

 

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We were even able to sneak a peek at the Dolphin Exhibit!

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On the bottom level, you can see the tanks, and there are even some little alcoves where the tanks are surrounding you.

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They have Lionfish, too!  Lionfish are an invasive species in Texas, and creating a problem as they have no predators and eat EVERYTHING!  It’s legal to catch these fish, there are no limits and after the spines are removed, they are safe to eat.  The state does Lionfish Derbys to help control the species, which can be caught on a line, with a spear or a net!  Click HERE to read more about Lionfish!

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A view of the bottom of the shark tank, which you can walk all the way around, and also houses a sunken ship replica!

There is also a 4D theater which is included in your admission ticket!

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The Gulf of Mexico Exhibit in the Aquarium shows you many of the different fish and animals living in Texas waters!

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The big tank also shows you how drilling wells are being used by fish!  There was even a sea turtle in the tank!

When my daughter and I spent the night at the Texas State Aquarium for a Girl Scout event, we stayed and slept in this room, watching and being watched by the big fish all night!  It was really cool!

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Sharks!  Of course, the aquarium has a great exhibit on shark!  From how they track the Great White Sharks to docile little reef sharks, it was very informative!  Ocearch has tagged and tracks many Great Whites, Tiger and other sharks around the world!  It’s fun to see as their location pings and where they are headed!

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There is also a touch tank for the bamboo sharks.

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be Dory from Finding Nemo, and bouncing on all the jellyfish tops?  You can experience it at the Jellyfish Exhibit, where you can actually touch a moon jelly on top and see for yourself!

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There are several dolphin presentations each day, but you’ll want to arrive early to get a shady seat out of the splash zone, unless you want to get wet!

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While I was trying to get a good picture of the dolphins before the show began, one of the keepers told us to look out at the bay, where there was wild dolphin!  How exciting to think that these dolphins were actually communicating with each other!  Of course, I never got a picture.

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Across the bay is the Corpus Christi Art Museum, a definite must-do for art lovers!

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We also had a nice view of Stingray Lagoon, where you can feed the stingrays at certain times

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You can also walk under the dolphin tank to watch them swim!  I loved this series of pictures of this dolphin and little girl!

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They were so cute!

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I think it needed a belly rub.

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All of the turtles at Tortuga Cay can’t be released due to injuries.

Keep an eye on out the beaches for sea turtles that need help. If you find one, don’t touch it, but call:

  • 361-949-8173 ext. 226 (North Padre Island or in the upper Laguna Madre area)
  • 1-866-TURTLE-5 (Other areas)

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My oldest loves otters, and we spent about 30 minutes watching their fun little shenanigans!  They were very playful!

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Bring your swimsuit to cool off in the H-E-B Splash Park!  Kids will have a great time playing in the fountains and jets!  The Owens Paleo Park is a fun place to dig for fossils!

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Swamp Tales
Say Hello to Bo, an American Alligator!  Learn about the success story of these once endangered creatures, and learn what you can do to help!
During the Animal Presentation, they’ll bring out a small alligator, and the kids (and adults) can touch it!
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Wild Flight Bird Show
Another show you’re going to want to arrive early for is the Wild Flight Bird Show!  Check the schedule before you arrive to plan your day!

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Things To Do in North Beach Corpus Christi

Play

North Beach is a man-made beach on Corpus Christi Bay, and it’s a great place to spend the day playing in the water if you’re also seeing all the sights on North Beach!  It’s shallow, so perfect for young families without the worries of big waves or rip currents, although you still need to be cautious!

The U.S.S. Lexington is permanently docked on North Beach, and is a fun way to learn a little history and entertainment, as the former aircraft carrier has great planes to see on the top deck, but also tours, 2 movie theaters and so much more!

The Corpus Christi Hooks play AA baseball games at Whataburger Field!  A farm team for the Houston Astros, the town loves their hooks and it’s always a fun game to watch!

Hurricane Alley Waterpark lets you chill out in their lazy river or feel the excitement in the wave pool or slides!

Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History takes you on a journey into the history of the Coastal Bend of Texas with fun, hands-on activities and exhibits!

Eat

After being told there was a 1-2 hour wait for a table at Pier 99, we headed to my husband’s favorite, Blackbeards on the Beach.  After sharing an incredible Big Red Margarita with my husband, I chowed down on a delicious burger, which seemed a weird thing to order in a seafood restaurant, but it and the house-battered onion rings were delicious!  I did sneak a few bites of my husband’s dirty shrimp and my son’s fish tacos, both of which were very good!

Stay

We love North Beach, but it really needs a nice hotel resort!  Until then, check out the Hotel Deville, which is a little funky but pretty cool inside!   It fills up quickly, but the Radisson Hotel at 3200 Surfside is your next best bet.  There are some great VRBO’s on North Beach, both condos and some beach houses, like Breezy by the Beach!



Texas State Aquarium  

2710 N. Shoreline Blvd., Corpus Christi

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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