Texas State Aquarium
Whether it swims, walks, crawls, flies, or grows, you’ll find it at the amazing Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. Thousands of sea and land animals representing more than 320 species - from otters to octopuses - inhabit the exhibits and habitats, providing close looks or even hands-on experiences with some of nature’s most incredible creatures.
Few animals have held such a place in the hearts of Americans for so many decades as the dolphin, and the aquarium offers two ways to appreciate these playful mammals.
The 400,000-gallon Dolphin Bay features four bottlenose dolphins, Shadow, Kai, Liko and Schooner, who can be seen from above as they leap out of the water, or from below in the H-E-B Underwater Viewing Room. A similar view of an ocean habitat formed around an oil platform can be seen at Islands of Steel, the aquarium’s largest indoor exhibit at 125,000 gallons. Here you’ll see two sand tiger sharks, great barracudas, tarpon, grouper, sea turtles, and more marine creatures that call the Gulf of Mexico home.
Speaking of sea turtles, the lagoon-like exhibit known as Tortuga Cay houses several varieties of rehabilitated sea turtles that have been deemed non-releasable. During the daily Turtle Tales presentation, visitors will meet each “resident” and learn how aquarium staff see to their needs. Also outside at Swamp Tales, six varieties of freshwater turtles share space with Bo, a 10-foot American Alligator, in an exhibit designed to educate guests on conservation efforts for these and other endangered animals.
Other can’t-miss exhibits include:
- Eagle Pass, home of a golden eagle and a bald eagle.
- Aquatic Nursery, where baby seahorses, juvenile cephalopods, and hatchling cuttlefish illustrate the importance of aquatic sustainability.
- Living Shores, an interactive learning space consisting of touch pools, six aquariums, and three responsive kiosks designed to teach kids about hermit crabs, lightning whelks, and other animals from the Padre Island area.
- Saving Sharks, featuring a shark-touch area, life-sized replica of a great white, the OCEARCH Global Shark Tracker, a full-size diving cage, and more.
- Stingray Lagoon, the aquarium’s largest interactive display where guests can both touch and feed multiple species of stingrays.
- Tentacles, providing guests with an up-close look at jellyfish and cephalopod species such as octopus and cuttlefish, this gallery includes a jellyfish touch tank.
- Hawn Wild Flight Theater, the performance area for the free-flight aerial acrobatics of hawks, owls, falcons, parrots, and other trained birds, as well as an assortment of unusual mammals.
- Nearshore, where you can embark on an up-close walk among wildlife like roseate spoonbills, spotted sea trout, ducks, and herons.
- Flower Gardens, a replica of a coral reef where breathtaking blue tang, indigo hamlet, creole wrasse, and many other types of fish reside.
While there is an abundance of exhibits, there is even more fun to be had at the H-E-B Splash Park and Owens Paleo Park. Work up a sweat unearthing fossilized remains of a saber-toothed cat or giant ground sloth, then cool off at the zero-depth splash pad featuring state-of-the-art jets, cannons, and interactive water features. There is also a snack shack, a cafe, and a grill that serves everything from hamburgers and pizza to smoothies and espressos.
It’s all here at the Texas State Aquarium, an astounding attraction in Corpus Christi. Discover the stunning diversity of life in the Texas Coastal Bend through fun and interactive exhibits that delight and entertain.