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.
Upside Down entrances the senses with an inverted neon sign, luminous 200-inch TVs, a hypnotic blue-and-white-whorled floor, live music and comedy, and a menu of hearty burgers, salads, and sandwiches. Mesmerize your mouth with six traditional ($5.25) or boneless ($7.59) wings doused in mild, hot, lemon pepper, barbecue, or parmesan-garlic sauce and served with homemade blue-cheese dressing. Cheddar, bacon, grilled onions, and thousand-island dressing mingle on the Black Hole burger ($7.99) and sliced turkey cozies up in the Backwards Bird sandwich with a melted-jack-cheese comforter and avocado throw pillow ($7.99). For a fragrant denouement, choose from more than one dozen flavors of hookah to practice puffing smoke rings or more baroque smoke fleurs-di-lis.
The seeds for the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art were planted in 1935, when the Brownsville Art League began to meet and discuss fine art. In the 1960s, a member took the league to the next level by designing a small art studio where they could house and display their collections. In 2002, it grew again, this time into an official museum featuring a lineup of permanent and rotating fine art. Despite the expansions over time, the core mission has stayed the same: to share art with the community and enrich the cultural landscape of Brownsville. Here are some more facts about this community institution.
Size: 17,000 square feet of bright space that holds over 350 pieces of fine art
Eye Catcher: works by luminaries, such as Marc Chagall, N.C. Wyeth, and Alexander Calder
Permanent Mainstay: Pedro Meyer's Heresies, a collection of photographs and digital images, which are combined to create striking pieces that challenge the viewer's beliefs about what's real and not real
Events: every year, the museum hosts two juried art shows?one just for students?which showcase work by artists from all over the world
Past Exhibits: La Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo's Intimate Universe, complemented by an exhibit of photographs of the artists by Nickolas Muray
Special Programs: the art-making classes for adults and kids, which garnered the museum a commendation from the Texas Art Education Association for outstanding service to the community
The Osprey 1 is fittingly named; it was Osprey Cruises' first and only boat back in 1971, when the company first started. Back then, the 70-foot vessel's main routes were for carrying fishermen and spectators up to 100 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico for fishing trips and wildlife watching. And it does so today, too?it's just ceded some of its star status to the fleet's newer vessels.
And they're a compelling bunch. Take the aptly named The Thriller, a high-speed offshore racer for adrenaline cruises. Or, perhaps even more enticing, The Black Dragon. It's a recreation of a 17th-century Spanish galleon helmed by a crew of costumed pirates, rather than their less-reliable parrots. On pirate cruises, these swashbucklers share pirate stories, send passengers on treasure hunts, and generally introduce them to the grog-and-swordfighting lifestyle. Many trips happen upon schools of dolphins along the way or offer evening jaunts amid captivating sunset views.
As the sun sets over South Padre Island, The Southern Wave makes its final voyage of the day, whisking up to 48 passengers across the pristine waters as they clink champagne glasses and toast to the beauty of the open water. As the star of Southern Wave Sailing Charters' fleet, the 48-foot catamaran sailing boat is perfect for a leisurely sail or snorkel trip, an afternoon of dolphin watching, or an evening of sunset gazing during the dinner cruise. Captains also charter boats privately, including the more intimate Southern Comfort boat, which welcomes up to 16 guests. Soft drinks are included with all tours and charter trips, and passengers are free to BYOB. For more independent exploration of the local waterways, customers can rent waverunners, kayaks, paddleboards, and paddleboats.