Published: April 11th 2012April 9th 2012
Texas State Aquarium
We walked under a waterfall to the entrance.
Today's plans took us to the Texas State Aquarium. We drove back over the causeway from North Padre Island and into the heart of Corpus Christi. There were numerous souvenier shops and discount motels painted in bright colors. It reminded me of Mexico. Just off the shore of the bay was the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier from World War II that now remains afloat as a museum.
Not minutes from the USS Lexington is the aquarium. To enter, we walked underneath a waterfall raining down onto a glass archway. Our first stop at the aquarium was the sea turtle exhibit. The turtles swam up to us! It was tempting to try to reach in and feel the turtles, but the signs warned that the turtles bite. Andrew told me they could easily severe a finger, so I kept my hands to myself.
We enjoyed viewing sea otters and a short dolphin show before checking out the stingray touch tank. I wasn't too keen on touching the fish, but Andrew and Oliver got really into it. Colleen even helped Jo dip her feet into the tank. It was really, really cool to see them get so up close with
Up Close with Sea Turtles
Here's the sea turtle exhibit at the Teas State Aquarium.
sea life. Later, Oliver also got to touch a sea urchin at another exhibit.
Joanna got hungry, so I took her back to the car to nurse her privately. Grandma Colleen took Oliver to the splash park area where kids were going nuts jumping through spraying water and shooting water canons. As they finished up there, I walked with Jo along the shoreline, enjoying the ocean and views of the USS Lexington.
After fixing a few minor hiccoughs--Oliver was upset over his wet shorts and lost his shoe--we took a scenic drive to Aransas Pass. A car feryy took us across to Port Aransas. The whole ride took less than five minutes, but Colleen told me that's not how it used to be. Apparently, the wait to get on the ferry (which we had none) used to be so long that her dad would buy them a bag of oysters. They'd shuck them into the bay and enjoy them while waiting for the ferry. Then, on the cross over, they'd stand at the sides and watch dolphins swim along with them. Our experience was much shorter and very pleasant, although probably not quite as memorable. I wasn't quite
Gene told me all the water in these exhibits come straight from the ocean.
sure what to think about being on a boat with a dozen cars and a heavy semi truck, but we cruised across to the other side without a hitch.
From Port Aransas, it was just a short drive down Padre Island back to our condos. Before continuing on, we stopped at Virginia's on the Bay for lunch. It's a seafood open-air restaurant located right on the bay. It afforded remarkable views and warm sea breezes, and their sign boasted of the evening sunsets. I can't attest to those myself, but I bet they're quite lovely. Oliver enjoyed a fried fish plate and ate an entire fillet. Andrew and I were happy to discover the restaurant was vegetarian friendly. We each ordered a homemade vegetarian burger that was made from lentils, corn, and garlic. They were delicious.
We drove back to the condos, completing our circle of Corpus Christi Bay. The drive was a pleasant overview of the area. It made me wish we had more time to explore it all!
There are more photos below