The prospect of relocating to the southeastern coastal city of Corpus Christi is exciting. This area of Texas was first settled in the 16th century by explorer Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, and the metropolis has since earned the nickname "Sparkling City by the Sea." As such, Corpus Christi’s stunning beaches and scenic parks offer an abundance of recreation opportunities. The municipality also features a number of amazing attractions as well. To help you become more familiar with this sparkling city, we’ve put together this list of top spots to visit once you arrive.
Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History
This 90,000-square-foot facility stands on the Corpus Christi waterfront in the area known as the Sports, Entertainment and Arts district. Tens of thousands of people visit the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History each year to learn about history and science. The building houses thousands of historical artifacts and exhibits in an effort to encourage curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Paleontology exhibits display creatures that lived during prehistoric times. Cultural exhibits explain the existence of various civilizations over thousands of years. Visitors can also learn about the history of the city and the shipwrecks documented throughout maritime history. Other galleries demonstrate the evolution of agriculture, engineering, technology and transportation. (Photo Credit: https://www.ccmuseum.com/)
The USS Lexington aircraft carrier was first commissioned for duty in 1943, and she became the oldest functional ship when decommissioned in 1991. The ship was under construction in Massachusetts and was initially to be called the USS Cabot until the first USS Lexington sunk in the Coral Sea. This carrier was then renamed Lexington. The ship spans 910 feet in length, 196 feet in width and 52 feet in height. While on the water, the carrier could reach a top speed of more than 30 knots. She could accommodate a military crew of up to 3,000 men and women. Although hit and defeated four times, the carrier returned to serve again. The ship's resilience earned her the nickname "Blue Ghost" by the Japanese. Today, visitors are welcome to tour the Lexington’s 11 decks, which cover 100,000 square feet. The Museum on the Bay additionally features 20 historic aircraft obtained from the National Museum of Naval Aviation.
Padre Island is the largest of the barrier islands that belong to the state. The land mass extends 113 miles in length and nearly 2 miles in width. It spans from Corpus Christi to the city of South Padre Island and encompasses 133,918 acres. Along the gulf side of the land mass are dunes rising up to 40 feet in height. Padre Island serves as home to more than 600 species of plants, including oily live oak trees. Hundreds of animal species live there, from coyotes, ground squirrels and jackrabbits to kangaroo rats and moles. The endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtles make nests on the beach from April into July. Approximately 380 resident and migratory birds favor the island as well. The many species include cormorants, ducks and egrets along with geese, herons, ibis and pelicans. Activities enjoyed here include canoeing, kayaking, fishing and bird-watching. You can enjoy a picnic on the beach or plan to visit when the tiny turtle hatchlings are released into the sea.
The unique Whataburger Field opened in 2005 to serve as home to the Hooks baseball team, which is affiliated with the Houston Astros. The land on which the stadium was constructed once featured cotton warehouses. In keeping with the heritage of the area, the facility was built with reclaimed wooden beams, and the scoreboard was framed with a series of antique cotton presses. The concession stands were constructed in strategic positions so that customers may continue viewing all of the action on the field while standing in line. Overall, the stadium accommodates more than 7,000 spectators. The facility additionally features a playground, a youth baseball field, a rock climbing wall and a trampoline jumping area.
Texas State Aquarium
The Texas State Aquarium ranks among the top 10 aquariums in the United States. The facility cares for more than 6,600 animals from more than 380 species that occupy land, sea and air. Numerous exhibits delight visitors daily and include the 400,000-gallon saltwater tank that houses four Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. An 800-gallon tank also features jellyfish and sea nettles. The 40,000-gallon coral reef tank houses Atlantic tarpons, cow nose stingrays and green moray eels. The 125,000-gallon Islands of Steel exhibit harbors amberjacks, Atlantic tarpons, barracudas, groupers, nurse sharks and a sand tiger shark. Various touch pools enable visitors to interact with hermit crabs, lightning whelks, pencil urchins and stingrays. Additional exhibits display alligators, turtles and otters as well. The facility also rescues and aids in the recuperation of various animals. (Photo Credit: https://texasstateaquarium.org/)
South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center
The South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center encompasses 182 acres of flora and fauna displays. Exhibits include a 2,600-square-foot butterfly house. Themed gardens feature orchids, roses and other plant species. Designated areas represent different habitats from the desert to wetlands and the tropics. The New Anderson Bromeliad Conservatory houses more than 800 Aechmea bromeliads and other species from around the world. The Sensory Garden appeals to all five senses through an array of beautiful and fragrant flowering plants and sculptures. The Resident Reptiles Exhibit serves as home to dozens of animals including Mexican milk snakes, red-footed tortoises and Texas spiny lizards. Nearby, guests have the chance to visit the Iguana House, which houses a number of the common reptiles along with turtles. The property is also home to a variety of exotic parrots. The palm trees often attract native bats. Although there are pathways meandering throughout the acreage, strategically placed vantage points provide optimal views over various habitats. The Children's Play Area features the Monkey Mansion Treehouse, which sits on top of a 400-year-old tree trunk.
The Harbor Playhouse opened in 1925. Since that time, the venue has presented hundreds of plays and musicals to audiences of all ages. Hundreds of actors, technicians, support staff and volunteers work together to present classic and modern performances to the delight of audiences. Past performances have included Annie, Les Miserables, Shrek the Musical and The Music Man. Each year, the summer camp invites youth up to the age of 14 to write, produce and perform a musical for the viewing pleasure of others. A concession stand provides fast foods, snacks and beverages to guests.
Water St. Market
Water St. Market is a conglomeration of facilities where visitors might eat, shop or enjoy art exhibits and music presentations in one central location. The selection of restaurants found here includes the Executive Surf Club, the Seafood Company and the Oyster Bar. Enjoy a meal prepared with freshly caught seafood straight from the Gulf. The eateries also offer more than 30 different beers. After your meal, you might explore the history of surfing at the Texas Surf Museum. Venture to The South Texas Music Walk of Fame and see the celebrity performers commemorated by stars. Stick around to hear performances by live bands. A visit to the Treehouse Art Collective brings guests face-to-face with works created by dozens of artists. The displays include jewelry, paintings, photography, pottery, sculptures and other genres. You can even get in shape by participating in fitness classes offered at the Downtown CrossFit.
Art Museum of South Texas
Although the Art Museum of South Texas has existed since 1945, the facility outgrew its original space, which necessitated the construction of the building on the bayfront. The new facility opened in 1972 and serves to promote the awareness, appreciation, knowledge and enjoyment of the visual arts. The museum's educational programs include classes, lectures, films and live performances. The facility's permanent collection is made up of more than 1,500 works representing ceramics, collages, drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures and textiles created by American and Mexican artists. The venue also regularly presents a variety of temporary visiting exhibits.
The Yardarm Restaurant
For four decades, the Yardarm Restaurant has been family-owned and operated. The restaurant serves dinner from Tuesday through Saturday. The expansive menu offers appetizers, entrees, beverages and desserts, and there's even a list of wines from around the world. The restaurant takes pride in offering scrumptious meals made with freshly caught seafood and locally obtained meats and ingredients. You might start your meal with crab-stuffed mushrooms and move on to a plate of Shrimp Newberg accompanied by a choice of soup, salad and vegetables. For dessert, options include crème brulee, cheesecake and chocolate mousse. (Photo Credit: http://yardarmrestaurantcorpuschristi.com/)
Corpus Christi has much to offer families, couples and singles moving to the city. Whether your interests lie in outdoor recreation, educational opportunities or fine dining and shopping, this bustling and exciting seaside metropolis is sure to have you covered.