Andy Bowie County Park. Four miles north of the Island. Picnic pavilions, children’s play ground. Day use fee per vehicle..
Confederate Air Force of The Rio Grande Valley. Historic aircraft and aviation memorabilia. Wednesday – Saturday 9:30 – 3:30. Adults $6, +55 $5, Kids 12 – 18 $3, and under 12 is free. Located at the Brownsville/South Padre Island Airport. 955 Minnesota, Brownsville. 956-541-8585.
Gladys Porter Zoo. One of the top 10 small zoos in the country. The zoo is a 31-acre preserve with more than 1,800 mammals, birds, and reptiles. Located at Ringgold and Sixth streets in Brownsville. Hours 9 – 5 Monday – Friday, 9 – 5:30 Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $12 for ages 14 – 64, $8 for ages 2 – 13, and $10.50 for 65 and up. 956-546-7187.
Isla Blanca Park. RV camping, 2 picnic pavilions, jetty fishing. Sea Ranch Marina. Day use fee per vehicle $10. 956-761-5493.&l
Island Equestrian Center. Horseback riding on the beach North of city limits. Not a trail ride – no single file riding. Children 4 and up and first time riders are welcome. Daily specials. Open year round, weather permitting. Pony rides for children 4 and under. Call for reservations. 956-761-HOSS (4677).
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. A 45,000-acre federal preserve for wildlife and bird watching on the mainland. Open daily from sunrise to sundown (about 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.). $3 per vehicle. 956-748-3608.
Laguna Madre Nature Trail. A 1500-foot boardwalk overlooking four acres of wetlands next to the South Padre Island Convention Center. Visitors can observe many species of birds and wildlife in their natural habitat.
Schlitterbahn Beach Water Park. Offers a fun dining experience with spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico and Laguna Madre. Open 4 pm-10pm Monday – Friday and 11 am – 10pm Saturday and Sunday. No waterpark admission fee required to dine at Club Rio Beach. Enjoy fabulous brick-oven handmade pizza, seafood, steaks, burgers and more. 90 Park Rd, Highway 100. (956)772-7873 or (956) 772-9772.
Bounded by the “Turtle Lady,” Ila Loetscher. Shows featuring endangered sea turtles Tuesdays and Saturdays. 6617 Padre Blvd. Open: Tuesday – Sunday 10am-4pm. Entrance is a donation of $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for children over 4.
UTRGV Coastal Studies Laboratory. Several aquariums containing sea life indigenous to the area, as well as an extensive shell collection. Located in Isla Blanca Park. Open Sunday through Friday from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Free admission to the lab, but must pay $10 admission to the park. Phone: 956/761-2644.
Whaling Wall. Internationally-known environmental artist Wyland picked South Padre Island to paint Whaling Wall #53, his only wall in Texas. Wyland is planning to paint 100 walls during his career to educate people on the importance of marine conservation.
Offering over 3300 linear feet of board walks and 5 bird blinds the Birding and Nature Center is the perfect place to observe the birds, butterflies and natural wildlife of coastal south Texas. The 5 story tower offers spectacular views of the Laguna Madre, South Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico. Open Monday and Tuesday 9am – 7pm and Wednesday – Sunday 7am – 7pm. Entrance is $6 for adults, $5 for students 13-18 and seniors 55+ and $3 for children 4-12. Located at 6801 Padre Blvd. 956-761-6801.