All photos by Visit Corpus Christi

Learning is a ball at the Bay Education Center! Actually, it’s a sphere. The Rockport center is the home of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Science On a Sphere® (SOS) display, a huge animated globe that runs programmed shows as well as live satellite data about our planet. The facility also acts as the Visitors Center for the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve,

Here are three can’t-miss reasons to visit the Bay Education Center:

1. It’s So Cool!

We shouldn’t have to resort to luring you in with the promise of air conditioning. But yes, it is really cool inside, especially after you’ve spent the day working on your tan at Rockport Beach! Come on in, cool down, and get ready to absorb some new knowledge in a (literally) chill atmosphere.

2. The Sphere Is Here!


Science On a Sphere® (SOS) seems to hover in the middle of the room, “spinning” like Earth on its axis. Six feet in diameter, SOS is (spoiler alert!) attached to the ceiling with cables that become almost invisible once the lights are dimmed. This ingenious global display system synchronizes computers and video projectors to present planetary data like atmospheric storms, species migratory patterns and air traffic – even real-time data.

Local experts are on hand to answer questions.


SOS programs happen every Tuesday through Saturday at 2 p.m. and feature different themes. Throughout the year, there are special guests and lectures, too. Program topics are posted on the website, social media and around town.

3. Explore Estuaries Without Getting Your Feet Wet


Estuaries are coastal bodies of water in which river water meets seawater – great places for species to grow, nest and thrive. Mission-Aransas Estuary encompasses over 186,000 acres of wetlands and important habitats in the Coastal Bend. This estuary is one of 29 reserves around the United States.

Hey, don’t let us stop you from getting your feet wet! But if you’d like a preview, the Bay Education Center is a great place to start learning about our native environment. After all, it’s the de facto Visitors Center for the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, part of the public programming at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute based in Port Aransas.


The center features lots of kid-friendly, hands-on exhibits that can teach adults a thing or two, too! Check out the displays that show how mangroves create shelter for baby wildlife, how underwater fields of submerged grasses serve as living water filters and so much more. There’s even a life-sized replica of a whooper (a.k.a. Whooping Crane).

Are you ready to get your learn on? The Bay Education Center and the entire Coastal Bend are waiting for you and your crew to come learn about the beauty and ecological importance of the Corpus Christi area. Plan your trip today!