Visiting Corpus Christi, Texas
"Sparkling City by the Sea"
It is no wonder that the city of Corpus Christi has that nickname. This 8th most populated city in the State of Texas is all about living, working and playing along the sparkling waters coming off of Corpus Christi Bay.
The Bay of Corpus Christi is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by a barrier island called Mustang Island. The 192 square miles of the bay waters which average not quite 10 feet in depth is buffered from the more massive and more turbulent waves of the Gulf.
It is a natural haven for many hundreds of species of fish and also birds who thrive in this South Texas humid and subtropical climate.
There is much to attract people who are considering visiting this delightful city in Texas. Let's look at some of the highlights.
A Sailor's Paradise
One of the prettiest features of downtown Corpus Christi (which translated from Latin means Body of Christ) is gazing out at the T-heads which are constructed out into the water and provide slips for the hundreds of sailing and pleasure boats moored there. These island type walkways built in the shape of a "T" provide shelter and safety for the many boating enthusiasts who, after docking, walk ashore on them.
Remember the boats used by Christopher Columbus when he first sailed across the ocean to discover the Americas? There is a replica of the Niña at the Corpus Christi waterfront city marina for people to see and admire.
Sailing and Racing on the Bay
Many people learn to sail on Corpus Christi Bay including some of those who have gone on to compete in America's Cup. Weekly races can be seen taking place on these waters, and whether one is competing in the Midget Ocean Racing Fleet or just watching the sails dance across the waves like so many butterflies, it is a fun event.
I can only imagine how beautiful it must be to view the annual Harbor Lights Illuminated Boat Parade with the lights reflecting on the water!
The first Saturday of each month finds people gathering at the Lawrence Street T-head for Marina Market Days where all kinds of items are available for purchase in this beautiful open-air setting.
An imposing memorial structure called Mirador de la Flor is situated on the waterfront. For those who may not know, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was a singer and songwriter who lived in Corpus Christi and was tragically murdered at the young age of 23. This memorial helps to honor Selena and keep memories of her alive.
Texas Surf Museum
The Texas Surf Museum can be found in this downtown area about a block in from the waterfront and not far from the Selena Memorial. Everything having to do with that sport is on view for surfing enthusiasts and those who might be interested in learning more about the sport and history.
Texas Surf Museum in Corpus Christi
A significant attraction in Corpus Christi, the USS Lexington, is the actual attack carrier involved during World War 2 in the Pacific and was the flagship to Admiral Marc Mitscher. It is now a very interactive museum that will give visitors the feel of what it must have been like to man the battle stations back during the days when it took part in active war activities. It is also a National Historic Landmark.
The Lexington has a massive 3D theater, and one can spend quite a bit of time walking through this large ship. Don't worry about the Texas heat. Except for the flight and hangar decks, it is fully air-conditioned.
The USS Lexington was used for part of the filming of the movie Pearl Harbor and is now one of the oldest naval aircraft carriers still in existence around the world.
Naval Air Station and Army Depot
The Naval Air Station, just six miles from the downtown area, has trained pilots since the year 1941. Former President George H.W. Bush was a part of the third graduating class from there.
Leasing space from the Navy, and also situated on this site, is the Corpus Christi Army Depot. The Army Depot not only contains Huey helicopters and other aircraft but is known as the largest helicopter repair facility anywhere in the world. My brother Jim, during the Vietnam War, was a crew chief responsible for keeping Huey helicopters in tip-top shape among his other duties.
Texas State Aquarium
Located at 2710 N. Shoreline in Corpus Christi overlooking the Bay, the people who run this Texas State Aquarium are devoted to not only teaching people about what is in our oceans, but they also help numerous sick and or injured animals in the course of their operations.
This is a fun family type of place with daily shows showcasing over 250 different species of ocean dwellers. There is also a splash park for the kiddos or kids at heart where they can cool off and get wet.
Another exciting feature is being able to practice one's skills at a fossil dig site called Owen's Paleo Park. Who knows? Future paleontologists just might be inspired by having had this experience.
As you have probably already surmised, there is no lack of beaches in and around Corpus Christi. Whether one wishes to sun themselves and have a dip in the water near the downtown area or venture out onto Mustang Island or travel along the 130,000 acres of the Padre Island National Seashore, it is all readily available to residents and visitors to Corpus Christi.
The Padre Island National Seashore runs to the south of Corpus Christi and is the largest barrier island in the world. It is a fabulous place to bird watch and even be able to see the endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle if visiting at the right time of year when they are hatching and making their way back out to the Gulf of Mexico.
One can bask in the warmth of the surf and sand and commune with nature in solitary fashion if one wishes.
More to Do and See
Other things to do and see in this "Sparkling City by the Bay" include the following:
- Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens and Nature Center where one can enjoy not only outdoor gardens as well as ones featured in greenhouses, but also hike several miles of nature trails.
- The Hans & Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge where one can walk along an 800-foot boardwalk to view the marshes, birds and other wildlife, hike a nature trail or make a day of it by having a picnic.
- Museum of Science and History will have you learning not only about animals but so much more. Perfect for a rainy day when outside activities would be restricted.
- Art Museum of South Texas located at 1902 N. Shoreline Blvd. will have you admiring not only the art inside but the stunning three-story white building made of concrete and shells that overlooks Corpus Christi Bay and the Ship Channel.
- Heritage Park and Cultural Center which contains 12 Victorian homes, one of which, the Galván House, is 100 years old and serves as the city's cultural center providing different programs throughout the year.
- Port of Corpus Christi is the 5th largest port in the United States.
- Cole Park Anderson Amphitheater and Corpus Christi Skatepark located at 1900 Ocean Drive is a place where concerts and movies can be viewed, and a huge concrete skate park for skateboarders is available. Great place to have some outdoor fun!
For those who like games, Corpus Christi offers the following:
- the IceRays from the North American Hockey League
- the Hooks from the Texas League of Minor League Baseball
- the Hammerheads from the Intense Football League (which is an indoor football league)
- and the Rugby Football Club.
This is in addition to all of the high school games and other sports played by people living there.
Visiting Corpus Christi
Whether one is spending time in Corpus Christi to attend school as I did for my first year of college at Del Mar College or whether one wishes to visit this "Sparkling City by the Bay" for other reasons, I am sure you will come away with fond memories of your time spent there.
Other schools include Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi and Our Lady of Corpus Christi, a private Catholic University.
Time your visit right and there are many festivals at various times of the year like the annual Buccaneer Days where the city revels in such things as music and dance performances, parades, rodeos and more.
The focal point which will resonate in most people's memories of a visit to Corpus Christi will always be the beautiful downtown T-heads and watercraft which are moored there.
Have you or would you like to visit Corpus Christi, Texas?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Peggy Woods