Corpus Christi, Texas

A- Overview:
Corpus Christi is a major deep-water port and one of Texas’ s most popular seacoast playground cities. Known simply as “Corpus” to Texans, the city has retained its small town friendliness and charm throughout its years of expansion. It is located on the Gulf of Mexico in South Texas, is halfway between Houston and Brownsville.

Visitors will find gorgeous ocean views, and many activities centered around beaches and water sports: fishing, sailing, windsurfing, and just swimming and relaxing on the beach.

The two-mile sea wall running through the heart of the business district was constructed in such a way as to open the city to the Bay rather than to form a barricade. Steps lead down to the water and to the popular “T” head docks where pleasure boats tie up. This very attractive waterfront was designed in the late 1930’s by Guzon Borglum, sculptor of Mount Rushmore.

North of downtown, over the bridge, is the site of the USS Lexington, a floating naval museum, as well as Texas State Aquarium, and extensive park and picnic areas. Scenic bay front cruises provide an orientation to all that the waterfront offers. A favorite with children is the ferryboat ride into the ship channel to watch the dolphins frolic in their natural habitat.

The Beach Loop is a scenic drive that takes about an hour with no stops (if the ferry isn’t too busy). It is wise, however, to allow a few hours for browsing the shops, walking the beach, swimming in the surf, and enjoying the view.

Begin the Loop in Downtown Corpus Christi, then cruise along Ocean Drive savoring the gorgeous view of the bay. Turn at Ennis Joslin Road to reach South Padre Island Drive (S.P.I.D.) also known as Route 358, and turn east. You will soon reach a causeway which meanders up and down over scenic bridges and takes you to Padre Island National Seashore. Turn left on Route 361 (a paved road that runs through the middle of the island). There are several Beach Access Roads along the way.

Route 361 takes you into Port Aransas, which is the deep-sea fishing capital of Texas. Gulf waters contain an abundance of king mackerel, red snapper and pompano. The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail offers birders plenty of sightings in this area year around. The sunny beaches, eclectic island atmosphere, funky shops and waterside restaurants of Port Aransas appeal to just about everyone. It is almost impossible to drive through without stopping for an hour or two.

Leaving Port Aransas, you can drive onto a ferry for a great ride. If you get out of your car on the ferry, you might see some porpoise following behind. Continuing on Route 361, you will reach Aransas Pass, known as the “shrimp capital of the world”, then Gregory, Portland, and back to Corpus Christi.

If time permits, take a side trip along Route 35 to the sleepy little town of Rockport, the area “artist community”. There you will find a wide variety of stores featuring local art, paintings, seashells, and beachwear. If you continue to Fulton, you will pass the Fulton Mansion, a Texas landmark which has periodic tours through the historic home.

For an entertaining and enjoyable meal, stop at Boiling Pot Seafood which serves huge pots of boiled crabs, shrimp, corn, and potatoes. They will ceremoniously deposit all of this in the middle of your table, put giant bibs on everyone, and hand out wooden mallets for cracking the shellfish. Open from lunch to late evening, seven days a week, they feature blues bands on the weekends, but the process of pounding and cracking your way through the meal is entertainment enough!

Texas is cattle country and no city captures the roping, wrangling, ranching spirit of the old west like Kingsville. Just south of Corpus Christi, Kingsville is the city that grew up around the famous King Ranch. Bigger than the state of Rhode Island, the King Ranch is one of the largest (825,000 acres) and oldest working cattle ranches in the world. Guided tours are offered at the ranch and its history is also preserved in exhibits at the Conner Museum at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

The Corpus Christi area is a shopper’s paradise. From malls and retail centers, to antique shops, souvenir centers and galleries, there are many days of shopping pleasure to be discovered.

Corpus Christi’s status as one of the breeziest (warm breezes) cities in the nation makes it a prime vacation spot for those who love the wind and waves. Each spring, the city hosts the annual U.S. Open Windsurfing Regatta. In addition, weekly sailboat regattas are held on Wednesday evening all year round.

The variety of waterways, from open Gulf beaches to protected coves, make the Corpus Christi area attractive to beginners and experts alike. In keeping with the city’s image of maintaining glistening waterways, Corpus Christi’s Water Garden at Bayfront Arts and Science Park sparkles for visitors who see, hear, and touch the garden’s water. Some 150 fountains form the nucleus of the park, which is lighted at night.

The revitalized downtown area provides visitors with an array of stores, restaurants, and nightlife. The center of activity downtown is the Water Street Market, a collection of places to dine, shop, and then relax with a cool drink and evening entertainment.

These are just a few of the unforgettable sights and sounds of Corpus Christi. How can anyone resist a visit to this Sparkling City by the Sea?

B- City Information:
Facts

Population:
281,453

Elevation:
35 feet

Time Zone:
Central Standard Time (one hour behind Eastern Standard Time)

Area:
134 sq. mi.

Emergency:
911.

Area Code:
(361)

Average Temperatures in Fahrenheit:

Month
High
Low

January
67F
47F

February
70F
51F

March
74F
56F

April
80F
63F

May
85F
69F

June
91F
74F

July
94F
75F

August
94F
75F

September
90F
71F

October
85F
65F

November
74F
54F

December
69F
50F

Spring, early summer and fall are ideal times to visit the east coast of Texas, though the climate is enjoyable year round. Breezes blow off the bay, so bring a sweater for the afternoons and evenings. From late March to mid June and from mid September through mid November, days are usually warm but not too hot and evenings are pleasant.

Holidays:
Jan. 1 New Year’s Day
January ( 3rd Monday) Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday
January 19 Confederate Heroes Day
February (3rd Monday) Presidents’ Day
March 2 Texas Independence Day
May (Last Monday) Memorial Day
June 19 Emancipation Day
July 4 Independence Day
August 27 Lyndon B. Johnson’s birthday
September (1st Monday) Labor Day
November 11 Veterans’ Day
November (4th Thursday) Thanksgiving Day
December 25 Christmas Day

How to get around:
It is advisable to have a car available. There is adequate parking and a car provides easy access to the suburban areas.

Airport :
Corpus Christi International Airport is served by major airlines and is 5-7 minutes from the city center. There is also regular daily shuttle service between Corpus Christi and the San Antonio Airport offered by several airport shuttle operators.

Bus Service:
Passenger bus service is offered by Greyhound Bus Lines and Valley Transit Company.
The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) provides public bus service to Corpus Christi and surrounding areas, as well, as special tourist service.
(Summer Only) Scenic Trail #73 An old-time trolley that explores the historic sights of Corpus Christi.
CC Beach Shuttle #76 Cruises around Corpus Christi Beach from the USS Lexington and the Texas State Aquarium.
Harbor Ferry – A passenger ferry that runs across the bay to the USS Lexington and the Texas State Aquarium on Corpus Christi Beach.
For information on any special tourist transportation services or local bus routes, call the B Rideline at 361-289-2600.

C- Attractions/Things To Do:
Texas State Aquarium
2710 N. Shoreline Blvd.
1-800-477-4853
Directions:
From Corpus Christi, 181 North to Corpus Christi Beach Exit, rt. on Burleson, rt. on Surfside.. Summer Hours:
Mon.-Sat. 9-6, Sun. 10-6
Labor Day through Memorial Day:
Mon.-Sat. 9-5, Sun. 10-5
Admission charged. Under 4 Free
The visitor’s experience begins at the entrance plazas which depict whales, rays, dolphins, sharks, and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Guests enter the building by walking under a “waterfall”. Volunteer guides are stationed throughout the Aquarium to explain exhibits and answer questions.

USS Lexington
2914 N. Shoreline Blvd.
361-888-4873
Directions:
From Corpus Christi, 181 North to N. Shoreline Blvd.
Hours:
9-5 daily, except for Christmas Day.
Admission charged.
The USS Lexington, a World War II aircraft carrier, haunted the waters of the South Pacific and was known as the “Blue Ghost.” Today the USS Lexington is one of the top ten visitor attractions in the state. Multi-media presentations and unique exhibits intrigue visitors. Live reenactments engage visitors of all ages

The Art Museum of South Texas
1902 N. Shoreline Blvd.
(361) 825-3500
Directions:
From Corpus Christi, 181 North to N. Shoreline Blvd.
From Portland, 181 South to N. Shoreline Blvd.
Hours:
Tues. Wed. Fri. Sat. 10 – 5 ; Thurs. 10 – 9 ; Sun 1 – 5 (Closed Mondays)
Admission: By Donation
Changing exhibits of prints, paintings, sculpture, photography and folk art. Exhibits share space with breathtaking views of the bay in this facility designed by renowned architect Phillip Johnson.

Museum of Science and History
1900 N. Chaparral
(361) 883-2862
Directions:
Located in the Bayfront Arts and Sciences Park, on the South side of the ship channel in downtown Corpus Christi
Hours: daily Mon.-Sat. 10 – 5 ; Sun. 12 – 5.
Memorial Day – Labor Day 10 – 6.
Admission charged.

The museum contains many interesting, interactive exhibits. Also, you can explore “Reptiles of South Texas,” featuring a live alligator and “Shipwreck,” an award-winning story of a 1554 shipwreck.

Pirates of the Gulf Miniature Golf
2901 West Surfside Drive
512-884-4774
Directions:
Take I81 North to N. Shoreline Blvd.
Hours:
April-August, Daily 11-11
Sept.-March on weekends (call to check times)
Admission charged.
18 Hole championship miniature golf course.

Art Center of Corpus Christi
100 Shoreline Blvd.
(361) 884-6406
Directions:
From Corpus Christi, 181 North to N. Shoreline Blvd.
From Portland, 181 South to N. Shoreline Blvd.
Tues.-Sun. 10 – 4
Closed Mondays.
Admission: Free
Watch artists practice their craft, display their accomplishments and teach others new skills. The complex includes a gallery, gift shop and a restaurant.

Asian Cultures Museum
1809 N. Chaparral
(361) 882-2641
Directions:
Located in the Bayfront Arts and Sciences Park, on the South side of the ship channel in downtown Corpus Christi
Tues.-Sat. 10 – 5
Admission charged.

The museum houses over 8,000 objects and documents, including artifacts from Japan. There is also an exhibit of arts and crafts from the Philippines, China and Korea. Exhibits include a 5 ft. bronze Buddha, Chinese porcelain, lacquerware, opera costumes and Hakata dolls.

Britton-Evans Centennial House
411 N. Broadway
(361) 992-6003
2 – 5 Wednesday only… or when the house’s flags are flying.
Built in 1848, the Centennial House is Corpus Christi’s oldest structure. Special tours available.

Harbor Playhouse
1 Bayfront Park
(361) 888-7469 or 882-5500
Box office open Mon.-Sat. Noon – 6
Call for shows & times.
The oldest continually performing community theater in Texas. A variety of productions are offered each year at this theater by the sea, from musicals to melodramas.

Heritage Park
1581 N. Chaparral St. (near the Bayfront Arts & Science Park)
(361) 883-0639
The site of nine historical homes, the oldest dating back to 1851. These homes are now beautifully restored.

Cole Park
This sprawling 43-acre park along Ocean Drive offers a spectacular view of sparkling Corpus Christi Bay. The Kid’s Place playground is always popular. Free concerts are held Thursdays and Sundays throughout the summer.

Corpus Christi Marina
Called the “T-heads” by locals, this scenic bayfront area is bustling with activity…private yachts, sight-seeing boats, water sport rentals and waterside restaurants. Buy fresh shrimp right off the shrimp boats and don’t miss the colorful sailboat regatta every Wednesday evening.

Downtown Seawall
Impressive waterfront wall and promenade. Bicycle, rollerblade or just stroll and people-watch. Miradores del Mar provide visitors with shady rest spots along the way. And the special Mirador del Flor includes a pavilion and statue dedicated to the late Tejano singing star, Selena.

Harbor Bridge
The second tallest bridge in Texas spans the port and connects Corpus Christi Beach to the Downtown area.

Ocean Drive
A seven-mile scenic waterfront drive lined with stately homes, parks and walking paths.

Port of Corpus Christi
The sixth largest deep-water port in the U.S. The Port’s Cargo Dock One pavilion offers an incredible view of the city and ship traffic.

Corpus Christi Greyhound Race Track
5302 Leopard
1-800-580-7223 or (361) 289-9333
Evening Races Tues. – Sat. 730 ; Matinees Wed. Sat. Sun. 130 . Simulcast races Mon. Tues. and Thurs. Call for current schedule. The Clubhouse area features booth service with an excellent view of the track and televisions at every table showing the racing action live. The Grandstand area contains a variety of seating, plus a food court. Both are fully air-conditioned.. Admission

Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens
8545 South Staples
361) 852-2100
9 – 5 Tues. – Sun. Call for Holiday
Admission charged.
This 180-acre site along Oso Creek combines nature, tourism and eco-education with colorful, exotic floral exhibits and local landscapes. Tour the Orchid House, Exhibit House, Plumeria collection, Sensory Garden, Hibiscus Garden and Water Garden. Be sure to save time for the shaded Bird & Butterfly Trail, Oso Creek Trail and Gator Lake. The complex contains extensive natural wetlands and protected native habitats. The Gardens is a Greater Texas Coastal Birding Trail site with lakeside observation tower, air conditioned Visitors Center, gift shop and gallery.
There is also a playground and covered picnic sites. Parking is free. Call for class schedules and schedule of events, including spring and fall Children’s Garden, April and October plant sales, and summer day camps.

Corpus Christi Zoo
County Road 33
(361) 814-8000
Open daily 10 – 6
The Corpus Christi Zoo continues to expand its existing collection of exotic birds, primates, big cats, hoof stock, reptiles and water fowl. Children’s Petting Zoo.

GCCA/CPL Marine Development Center
4330 Waldron Road
(361) 939-7784
Reservations required. Admission free.
See red drum and spotted seatrout up close in a 3,000-gallon saltwater spawning tank at one of the largest marine fish hatcheries in the world.

Hans A. Suter Wildlife Park
Ennis Joslin at Nile
Admission free.
This coastal marshland is one of the best bird watching locations in Texas! A boardwalk, viewing tower and hiking trails offer an ideal view of ducks, rare brown pelicans and other shore birds in their natural habitat. Picnic Tables.

Padre Island
J.P. Luby Surf Park
Hwy. 361 At Zahn Road, Mustang Island
(361) 949-8121
This is where the surfers hang ten and hang out! The “surf pier” generates lots of wave action. A pavilion and recreational facilities are nearby. Special events.

Padre Ball Park
Park Road 22, Padre Island
(361) 949-8121
A recreational complex with pavilion, overnight camping hookups for RV’s, tent sites, showers and covered picnic areas. Bob Hall Pier is nearby. Admission Call.

Padre Island National Seashore
At the end of Park Road 22, Padre Island
(361) 949-8068
Park is open 24 hrs. Visitor Center daily 9 – 6 , Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Padre Island National Seashore is the largest undeveloped barrier island in the continental United States. The park is open year-round for beachcombing, camping, surfing, swimming, hiking, fishing and other activities. The Visitor Center has restrooms with showers, a convenience store and an exhibit/information center. There’s a free boat launch at Bird Island Basin.

Mustang Island State Park
Port Aransas Mustang Island
Highway 361, Mustang Island
(361) 749-5246
Park closes at 10 except to overnight guests.
Padre Island, this 3,700-acre state park has 1 1/2 miles of beach

Mustang Riding Stables
Hwy. 361, Mustang Island
(361) 991-RIDE or (361) 749-5055
Open daily 9 – 5
Ride on horseback along the beach on Mustang Island. Hay rides and beach parties also available. Instruction available

Roberts Point Park
Highway 361, Port Aransas
Free admission.
Watch dolphins chase the ferries across the ship channel and cargo ships steam by on their way to the Port of Corpus Christi. Pavilion, picnic areas, fishing pier, scenic overlook and a play area.

University of Texas Marine Science Institute
Port Aransas
(361) 749-6729
Mon-Fri 8 – 5 weekends in the summer, Sat 9 – 5 and Sun Noon – 4
Free admission
This “mini-aquarium” addresses mysteries of the sea from a scientific viewpoint and highlights current research projects.

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Aransas Pass, Ingleside And Rockport/Fulton
(361) 286-3559
Daily Sunrise to Sunset,
Visitors Center 8:30 – 4:30
Admission charged.
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
30 miles north of Rockport, this expansive wildlife refuge offers a 16-mile paved loop with wildlife photo opportunities, a museum, hiking trails, picnic areas, a visitors center and an observation tower. It’s the winter home for the endangered Whooping Cranes.

Dolphin Connection
Ingleside on the Bay
(361) 882-4126 or (361) 776-2887
Five trips a day during peak season. Call between 8 and 10 tour times. Seasonal–March through October. Reservations required. View dolphins in their natural habitat in Corpus Christi Bay on this guided boat trip.

Fulton Mansion
317 Fulton Beach Road, Rockport-Fulton
(361) 729-0386
Call for tour times.
A spectacular example of French Second Empire architecture, this home has been completely refurbished by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. Sixteen rooms showcase technology that was far ahead of its time when constructed in 1877.

The King Ranch
Hwy. 141 at Santa Gertrudis, Kingsville
(361) 592-8055
Visitor Center open weekdays 9 – 4 . .
The King Ranch is one of the largest and oldest working cattle and horse ranches in the world. This is the birthplace of the American ranching industry, founder of the Santa Gertrudis breed of cattle, and home of the first registered American Quarter Horse. Tours on ranch’s history, wildlife and agriculture offered.

King Ranch Museum
405 North 6th St., Kingsville, (361) 595-1881
Mon-Sat 10 – 4 ; Sun 1 – 5.
Trace the history of the King Ranch from its early days as a cow camp to the present-day activities in agribusiness, energy exploration and cattle.

Lake Corpus Christi State Park
(361) 547-2635 or (361) 389-8900
Two fishing piers and two boat ramps.

Port Aransas
(Port A to the locals) is full of colorful characters. Just a 30 minute drive from Corpus Christi, Port Aransas is a laid-back fishing village for most of the year. During peak summer months the population has been known to grow to 100,000.

D- Family Fun Attractions:
Corpus Christi Zoo
On County Road 33, off Weber Street
512-814-8000
Wed.-Sun. 9-6
145 acre park featuring a vast collection of primates, exotic birds and other animals. It also contains the Kidz Zoo which is the largest petting area in the US with two acres of barnyard animals to meet and pet.

Bayfront Arts and Science Park
1900 Shoreline Drive
512-882-5603
This plaza offers indoor and outdoor attractions that are family oriented. All of these are listed below because of their geographic proximity: some will be of particular interest to adults; others to children.
The Water Garden is a cooling circle of over 100 fountains that are lighted at night. In June it hosts the Fiesta de Corpus Christi, a celebration of the city’s Hispanic heritage. In September this is the site of Bayfest, an expansive arts and crafts show with fireworks, parades and a sailboat regatta.

The Art Museum of South Texas
512-884-3844
Tues.-Sat. 10-5 Sunday 1-5
Rotating exhibits featuring the work of many area artists.

Bayfront Plaza Auditorium
512-882-2717
Site of concerts, musicals and other shows. Call for times and prices.

Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History
512-88-2862
Mon.-Sat. 10-5 Sunday 1-5
Houses the natural history of the area including artifacts from 16th century shipwrecks, a live reptile exhibit and interactive hurricane displays.

Harbor Playhouse
512-888-7469
Features children’s shows and other theater productions throughout the year. Call for details.

Heritage Park
512-883-0639
Free
Features 8 restored turn of the century homes and a multicultural center with rotating exhibits focusing on the city’s heritage.

Texas State Aquarium
2710 North Shoreline Drive (across from the Bayfront Center)
512-881-1200 or 1-800-477-GULF
Mon-Sat 10-6 Sunday noon-6
More than 250 species of marine life are displayed as well as a coral reef. Also featured are a river otter family, and a new shark “touch tank”.

USS Lexington Museum
2914 Shoreline Drive
1-800-LADY-LEX
9-8 Summer 9-5 rest of year
A fascinating tour for the whole family. The old aircraft carrier is steeped in history. It served longer than any other US Navy carrier. Tours take visitors all around the ship including the engine room, the bridge and the flight deck full of vintage planes. Multimedia programs and maritime exhibits are also on display.

Columbus Fleet
Cargo Dock One
Port of Corpus Christi
512-882-1232
Mon-Sat 10-5 Sunday noon-5
Admission charged. Recreations of the three ships of Christopher Columbus. The ships were built in Spain and are precise duplicates of the Niña, Pinta and Santa Maria. There are also historical exhibits from Spain.

Dolphin Connection
5151 East Causeway Blvd.
512-882-4126
Admission charged.

Reservations in advance required.
Children and adults will enjoy taking a boat trip into the bay to watch dolphins in their natural habitat. Children are allowed to feed the dolphins during each of the two trips made every morning from March – October.

Flagship Paddlewheeler
Peoples Street Pier, Slip 49
512-884-8306
Hour long narrated cruises of the bay and harbor. (1 1/2 hours at night) This trip into the past on a paddlewheeler will be more interesting to older children.

Playland at the Beach
3001 Seagull Blvd.
512-884-7251
Open as weather permits March-November
An exciting array of vehicular choices: go carts; bumper boats; bumper cars. In addition there is a playground and a game room.

International Kite Museum
3200 Surfside Drive
512-883-7456
Daily 10-6
Free
The history of kites as far back as 2000 years told in exhibits and videos.

Padre Island National Seashore
South of Corpus Christi at the end of Park Road 22
512-949-8068
9-6 daily
This 110 mile long island is one of the last natural seashores in the United States. Most of it is a preserve accessible only by four wheel drive vehicles or long hikes. The National Park Service has a parking area and developed parkland for visitors.
The Park Service allows visitors to collect shells, driftwood and glass floats, but not artifacts such as antique coins, etc. There is a visitor’s center; bathhouse and picnic area. There is no access road between North and South Padre Islands.

E- Events & Entertainment:
Events

Buccaneer Days PRCA Rodeo
Every April (361) 882-3242
Professional rodeo event held in Memorial Coliseum.

U.S. Open Windsurfing Regatta
Every May
361 985-1555
Wind, waves and wow what action! The event is held every May off Oleander Point.

Men’s Pro Beach Volleyball Competition
May

210-938-8810
Corpus Christi is a designated stop on the Miller Lite AVP Tour. Catch the action in May at Cole Park.

East-West Powerboat Shootout
June
National racing event held in June in Corpus Christi Bay.

Ice Rays Hockey
October – April
361 814-7825
Corpus Christi’s professional hockey team. Catch home games in Memorial Coliseum

Annual Oktoberfest
October 15, Violet
361/387-7697

Annual Rockport Seafair
October 7-8, Rockport
361/729-3312

Annual Texas Jazz Festival
October
Corpus Christi
361/883-4500

Annual Harbor Lights Festival & Boat Parade
December
Corpus Christi
361/985-1555

Cultural Activities

Ballet Nacional
(361) 854-6528

Broadway Series
(800) 714-5331

Corpus Christi Ballet
(361) 991-8521

The Cathedral Concert Series
(361) 888-6520

Corpus Christi Concert
Ballet Company
(361) 854-7969

Corpus Christi Symphony
(361) 882-4091

Harbor Playhouse
(361) 888-7469

Mariachi Clasico Lopez
(361) 855-8000

Mariachi Huasteca
(361) 883-2686