Art, animals, and history, oh my! Corpus Christi is home to various attractions suitable for all ages and interests. Whether you're wanting a deep dive into military history at the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay or looking to get inspired at the Art Museum of South Texas, we invite you to coast your own way in Corpus Christi on your next vacation.
Texas State Aquarium
Plunge into an underwater adventure with over 250 species of fish and reptiles, as well as mammals, birds, and invertebrates from the Gulf and the Caribbean. Immerse yourself in underwater worlds in the 4D theater or stop by the H-E-B Splash Park where kids can release their energy amidst state-of-the-art water spray jets, interactive water features, water cannons, and more. Learn about marine conservation at the new Port of Corpus Christi Center for Wildlife Rescue and see what goes on behind the scenes with treatment and rehabilitation of marine mammals, raptors, shorebirds, and sea turtles in this state-of-the-art hospital. Admission to the park and rescue center is included in your aquarium admission.
South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
Enjoy a moment where art and nature intertwine at the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, and find 182 acres of gardens and exhibits, flora and fauna, birding spots, reptiles, parrots, and other wildlife throughout the garden. Discover a collection of more than 2,500 different orchids at the Orchid Conservatory, admire the fragrant rose garden and pavilion, and don’t forget to stop by the Butterfly House and snap the perfect Instagrammable pic with the butterfly wings.
USS Lexington Museum on the Bay
Jump aboard the USS Lexington Museum and discover the history of her role in WWII and engage in fun for the whole family. Learn the history of the Blue Ghost, try the escape rooms, test your skills at the virtual battle stations, experience the flight simulator, view the 3D theater, get up close to vintage aircraft, climb the ladders, and walk the narrow passageways and dark corridors of the WWII Aircraft Carrier. Fun fact: the original F-14 Tomcat from Top Gun is on display at this museum!
Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History
Swing by the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History and explore over 500 years of South Texas history, from early explorers and Native culture to the history of shipwrecks, dive into the museum’s innovative programs in history, culture, and science. Whether you’re a history or science fan, you’re sure to revel in the immersive experience of studying hundreds of thousands of artifacts, historically significant items, and interactive displays in this nearly 100,000 sq. ft. facility.
Art Museum of South Texas
Visit this world-class museum whose architecture is just as stunning as the pieces inside. Discover over 1,900 works of art, including paintings, photographs, ceramics, large installation pieces, and more in this Philip Johnson-designed building. Grab a bite to eat at Elizabeth’s, located inside the museum, and choose from their selection of vibrant, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and cocktails, while enjoying the breathtaking waterfront views of the harbor. Another fun fact: famed artists like Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns attended the opening of this museum and showcased their work in 1972!
Padre Island National Seashore
Head to Padre Island National Seashore (PINS) for some fun in the sun, and find over 130,000 acres of dunes, grasslands, and beaches. The park is an untouched paradise of federally protected wildlife that's also the largest undeveloped barrier island in the world. Situated 30 miles south of Mustang Island State Park, it is the prime location for soaking up the abundant sunshine and taking in the gulf’s breeze. Elevate your experience and explore the coastline in style with a rental from Overland America. Most of PINS can only be accessed with four-wheel drive vehicles, and you can choose from a Ford Bronco, Jeep Rubicon Extreme, or Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. Afterward, be sure to grab a bite at one of the many restaurants that call the Island home.
Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve & Learning Center
The Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve & Learning Center is an expansive, 162-acre nature preserve dedicated to furthering knowledge of the flora and fauna of South Texas. Come and explore four miles of nature viewing trails and walk away with a newfound experience and understanding of the importance of protecting the wetlands for future generations.
Texas Sealife Center
Get up close and person at the Texas Sealife Center, and learn about their dedication to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of Texas coastal and aquatic wildlife. Since 2013, the center has rescued and rehabilitated local turtles, birds, and reptiles in Corpus Christi. Join one of their public tours that allows you to meet their turtle patients, learn from the experts, and visit their nature trail and gift shop. Tours are available Wednesday - Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Mustang Island State Park
For a perfectly serene vacation spot featuring miles of sandy beach for a memorable visit, head to Mustang Island State Park. Mustang Beach, part of the state park, is an 18-mile-long barrier island on the Texas coast with great on-beach camping, beachcombing, turtles, dolphins, birds, and more. This untouched barrier island park allows visitors the chance to discover diverse wildlife and pristine coastlines with their “Ask a Ranger” program and the Mustang Island Paddling Trail. The entrance to the protected area of Mustang Island State Park is available year-round for visitors interested in birdwatching, shallow-water fishing paddling excursions, and sea turtle hatchings.
Instituto de Cultura Hispanica de Corpus Christi (Museum of Hispanic Cultures)
Created in 1976, this museum is housed in the Lichtenstein House in the historic Heritage Park. Learn about the diverse cultures of several Hispanic countries through art exhibits, folkloric displays, artifacts, English and Spanish recitals, cultural celebrations, and fundraising activities. The museum also features rotating exhibits throughout the year for a never-ending learning experience.
Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures
Immerse yourself in a hands-on experience with the history and art of many Asian cultures, participate in storytelling and Asian folklore, and even view live weapon demonstrations. Once you’ve toured the museum and learned of the culture, take one of the many classes for a wide variety of activities like origami, calligraphy, games, chopstick lessons, and more for all ages.
Art Center of Corpus Christi
Home to local art in the Coastal Bend, the Art Center of Corpus Christi brings together four pleasures: viewing art in 7 galleries, shopping, dining in-house, and of course, the creation of art. The center is dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of local and regional artists, and is also hosts many classes, including Family Art Time every Wednesday evening during the GROW Local Famer’s Market. Admission to the Art Center is always FREE!