1. The Bayfront Seawall, one of Corpus Christi’s top tourist attractions, was constructed in 1928 by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who later became famous for sculpting the iconic Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.
A unique feature of the seawall is that it was made by mixing local saltwater from the bay rather than using routine freshwater. Bonus for the kids: Along the mile-and-a-half stretch, gaze into the galaxy through the exhibition, “Journey Through Our Solar System.”
2. The Texas State Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Texas and one of the largest in the United States.
Known as the “Original Aquarium of Texas,” the aquarium is dedicated to promoting environmental conservation and rehabilitation of wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. Its first exhibition opened to the public on July 6, 1990, and it’s been welcoming visitors to interactive marine and coastal wildlife experiences ever since.
3. The Laguna Madre is one of only six hypersaline lagoons in the world.
That means the water is saltier than the oceans, which makes it easier to float! Just don’t forget a life vest if you plan on boating or kayaking. Also of interest, there are areas in the Laguna Madre measuring more than five feet deep. (The largest hypersaline lagoons in the world average only 3.3 feet deep.)
4. The USS Lexington Museum is as tall as a 19-story building and as long as three New York City blocks.
It’s so large, you could play three football games at the same time on its flight deck! Drawing quite the buzz, the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay caught the attention of Hollywood director Michael Bay, who filmed all aircraft take-offs on the Lexington for his 2001 movie Pearl Harbor, starring Ben Affleck and Alec Baldwin. It also features the F-14 Tomcat used in the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun. Visit the iconic ship and marvel at its glory!
5. The Art Museum of South Texas showcases – and is – fine art in the city.
The majestic buildings feature floor-to-ceiling windows, skylights, and many architectural touches that play off the South Texas sun and sparkling Corpus Christi Bay. The building is an art piece itself, but perhaps the most iconic exterior feature is the pink wall. People come from near and far to capture selfies on the wall for fun visual memories.
6. Whataburger Field is home to the Corpus Christi Hooks – a Minor League Baseball team and the Double-A affiliate of the Houston Astros.
In fact, 12 of the 25 legendary Astros players who won the 2017 World Series were once Hooks players. Visit the ballpark – which is located on what used to be old cotton warehouses on the city’s waterfront – and enjoy a game with the whole family!
7. After being named “America’s Birdiest City” for over a decade, Corpus Christi is home to the annual festival, Birdiest Festival in America.
Bird enthusiasts can expect to see over 200 species of birds during Spring migration in Corpus Christi.
8. Corpus Christi Bay is the deep-sea-fishing headquarters, with fishing tours where visitors can charter a boat to catch their own dinner.
While on vacation, you may not want to cook. No problem – bring your pre-cleaned fish to participating “cook-your-catch” restaurants like Doc’s Seafood and Steaks. (Insider Tip: Most chartering companies will prepare and clean your fresh catch for you!)
9. NASCAR Hall of Famers the Labonte brothers were born and raised in Corpus Christi.
They developed their racing skills in the parking lot of Corpus Christi’s Yeager Elementary School. Bobby and Terry Labonte were the first pair of brothers to win premier series championships. What’s more, the brothers are also the only Texans to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. There is even a park in Corpus Christi named after the racing brothers.
10. The South Texas Music Walk of Fame was established in Corpus Christi in 2004 to honor South Texas musical artists.
Honorees represent diverse musical traditions, including Tejano, rock and roll, country, and jazz. “The Walk” is located in Water Street Market just steps away from the Visitor Info Center. Each star was handcrafted by local ceramists at Aloe Tile Works. Visitors love to view “The Walk” and take memorable photos of stars such as Selena, George Strait and Kris Kristofferson.
11. The average annual wind speed in Corpus Christi is 11 mph, with the windiest month being April.
During the spring, wind speeds average 17 mph. (A “windy day” is defined by wind speeds greater than 10 mph.) The consistent high winds provide ideal weather conditions for participating in wind and water sports like windsurfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and parasailing. People travel from across the world to visit Worldwinds Windsurfing, on the longest undeveloped barrier island in North America, located a short drive from Corpus Christi in the Padre Island National Seashore at Bird Island Basin.
12. Tavern on the Bay at Harrison’s Landing is actually a retired Army utility LASH barge repurposed to accommodate the existing two-story floating building.
You can visit Harrison’s Landing, a family-owned-and-operated business, today! Harrison’s features three different services: Tavern on the Bay, Cathy’s Boutique and Gifts, and the Yachting Center. The Yachting Center opened in 2006 as a sailing school, captain’s training, and charter boat operation, but by 2007, the operation had grown and relocated to its current location at the Peoples Street T-Head. Jump aboard the BYOB one-hour bay tour boat “Japonica,” and you may luck out and see pelicans, turtles, and dolphins along the way.
13. The iconic fast-food chain Whataburger was founded in Corpus Christi in 1950 by Harmon Dobson.
While the original location replica can be found at 4126 S Staples Street, the epic dual-level location overlooks the bay, hence the name “Whataburger by the Bay.” Corpus Christi is home to the only two-story Whataburger in the world! Fans of the quick-service restaurant chain love the landmark A-frame structure and the fact that it is open 24 hours a day.
14. Did you know two different classic movie scenes were filmed along Ocean Drive?
Swantner Park served as the backdrop to one of the scenes in Selena. In a flashback, a younger Selena learns how to cumbia dance from her mother. You can visit Swatner Park today and do the “washing machine” as you take in the views at the same time! Also filmed along Ocean Drive was a scene from The Legend of Billie Jean. The home of Lloyd, one of the film’s main characters, was located along Ocean Drive. While updates have been made, the home is still there today, and Ocean Drive is a must-do for seeing this home as well as great bay views.
15. Mustang Island, the barrier island spanning 18 miles from Corpus Christi to Port Aransas, was first inhabited by Paleo-Indians.
In 1519, when Spanish explorer Alonso Álvarez de Pineda sailed through the pass to what he later named Corpus Christi Bay, the island was inhabited by the Karankawa people. In the 18th century, the islands were called “Wild Horse,” and later, “Mustang Island” as a result of grazing herds of horses introduced by Spanish settlers. Learn more about the origins of the area with a visit to the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History.