For Isla Tours’ owner Captain Stephen Murphy, the Gulf of Mexico is not just the place he has fished and sailed for more than 30 years—it’s an old family friend. In 1961, his grandfather Eddie Murphy founded the boating company and dedicated himself to touring the Gulf’s waters. Since Eddie’s tenure, however, the company has changed substantially. Now operating under the name Isla Tours, its fleet incorporates three boats, which range from a 67-foot double-decker vessel to smaller ones with covered seating. Aboard these vessels, Captain Stephen—who has set multiple state fishing records—leads deep-sea-fishing adventures, sunset cruises, and dolphin-watching tours, during which passengers can glimpse pods of binocular-toting dolphins on people-watching tours.
Prehistoric plants and animal fossils, native people and European colonization exhibits, and a steamboat replica are but a few of the fascinating displays to see at MOSTH. For almost 40 years the Museum has chronicled the heritage of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico, preserving its rich history.
As members of the AA Central Hockey League and winner of the 2008–2009 award for CHL Franchise of the Year, the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees entertain local sport lovers from October through March with hard-hitting, goal-laden hockey. Piloted by head coach Chris Brooks, this season’s crop of aspiring hat-trickers look to inch closer to a playoff birth behind the strong play of assist-leader Tomas Klempa and sturdy goalie Juliano Pagliero. Your gold-level seat ensures spectacular views of every goal, penalty, and zamboni wheelie tricks, as the Killer Bees take on casual puck-tappers Allen Americans or the Odessa Jackalopes.
Partake in various photographic opportunities and real-time eye-pleasures for a full calendar year with a family membership, which covers two adults and all children 18 and under in the household. In addition to unlimited admission, members receive a variety of benefits, including admission to more than 100 other affiliate zoos nationwide, free parking, and discounts on a menagerie of zoo-wide affairs. The Gladys Porter Zoo is an intimate oasis that lodges more than 350 species of animals and more than 200 species of plants. Animal fans can saunter through four geographically-partitioned parks, which feature interactive opportunities such as giraffe feeding and free-style rap battling the reptiles. Other popular spots include the butterfly and bug exhibit, and a free-flight aviary where South American birds soar freely through the air. The recently opened South Texas Botanical Exhibit & Park provides plant-based entertainment complete with a playground and trees with animals mysteriously carved into their tender, bark-based underbellies.
Situated on the shores of Laguna Madre, South Padre Island Golf Club spans 6,931 yards of coastal, palm-tree-lined terrain. Though the seaside locale affords aces a veritable bunkerful of picturesque vistas, ocean winds and hole-hugging water hazards demand precise drives, pinpoint approaches, and earplugs to guard against caddying sirens. The course’s challenging nature is tempered by five different tee options, making the links surmountable for developing divoteers but still engaging for workaday wedge wizards. Steer your included, obedient golf cart right along the coast on holes three through eight and gawk at the South Padre Island skyline, or reenact the most memorable events from the Texas Senior Open, which was previously hosted by the course. The club also houses a practice driving range, putting green, and a short-game area for testing windmill-thwarting mini-golf approaches.
When Daniel Bryant founded Breakaway Cruises in 1995, the tour company had a fleet of one—a dolphin watch boat, the Xcape. Nowadays, the Xcape is still bringing tourists face-to-face with live dolphins, but it no longer works alone. Gliding behind one of the new parasailing boats, aquatic adventurers rise up to 600 feet above the waves without having to harness a flying fish to each shoe. Meanwhile, fishermen can seek out sand trout, redfish, and speckled trout aboard assorted fishing boats. Jet skis round out the fleet, along with a second dolphin watch boat.