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.
Around the globe, each of Gracie Barra's more than 300 schools shares a common curriculum: Brazilian jiu jitsu. The school's instructors instill the traditional martial art throughout the world, venturing beyond Brazil to nearly every continent on Earth. At the McAllen branch, the instructors possess the same International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation certifications as their colleagues across the globe, and call on their training in the Gracie Barra curriculum to teach the martial-arts technique to all ages and experience levels. Additionally, they schedule programs such as muay thai and women's fight-fitness classes that incorporate self-defense tactics for beating up unwanted calories.
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.
Cottonwood Creek Country Club & Golf Course has tested the mettle of south Texas golfers for more than 20 years on its nine-hole, par 27 course that stretches along 1,245 manicured yards. Each round of golf ($9/person) challenges golfers with fast, tight play over undulating bent-grass greens and fairways, perfect for practicing your short game and modeling new plaid knickers. Golfers traverse the course on carts ($6/person) to successive par 3 holes, including the signature hole No. 5, a formidable 175 yards that challenges golfers with a scenic tee shot over a rolling stream. A year-round average of 74 degrees washes gentle warmth over the course and ensures that even if golfers have a subpar game, they still get plenty of the sun’s friendly vitamin-D-filled rays.
As the official training center for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Summit Sports Club greets guests with a wide array of alley-oop-grade facilities for physical fitness. Smack tennis balls and biceps into shape in one of Summit's four full-size indoor tennis courts or five indoor racquetball quadrangles.