The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History offers a chance to interact with everything from geology and biology to sunken ships and American history, all through the lens of South Texas examples. The 100,000-square-foot building contains many standing exhibits, a theater featuring local productions, and the Children's Wharf playscape. Glass cases house artifacts from one of the oldest shipwrecks in the Western hemisphere—the resting place of the San Esteban and Espíritu Santo—which plunged, storm-wracked, into the waters around Padre Island in 1554. The museum even boasts a Smithsonian-designed exhibit that explores the Seeds of Change, the five things brought to America via ship that changed its shape forever, including corn, potatoes, disease, horses, and a competent cartographer.
The courteous chauffeurs of Corpus Christi Party Bus steer festive groups across illuminated pavement for 90 minutes of Yuletide displays. The tour begins when twosomes board the party bus and recline in comfortable leather seats that fill the expansive interior, which holds up to 15 guests or 45 well-mannered raccoons. Two 19-inch flat-screen TVs join forces with DVD players and multicolored LED lights to compete with the spangled domiciles outside, and Christmas songs blast from the bumping sound system. Duos can sip on two complimentary nonalcoholic beverages during the BYOB jaunt or string popcorn garlands across the hardwood flooring and around the bar area. Guests should call ahead to reserve seats; kid-friendly tours can be arranged upon reservation.
Ear-splitting shrieks quicken the pulses of passersby as they approach the Nightmare Factory, a forsaken complex comprised of two distinct, hair-raising attractions. Once they’ve crossed the threshold into the blood-splattered corridors of Insanity51, voyagers tiptoe cautiously past hostile denizens as a narrative begins to emerge. The tormented spirits that haunt these hallways are insane captives subjected to top-secret government experiments that have rendered them even more fearsome and better informed on tax policy. In Nightmare 3D, foolhardy explorers walk through a carnival funhouse that looks more like the scene of a mass murder. Distorted mirrors and shifting floorboards create a skewed, sinister sense of reality, forcing guests to ponder if they have passed into another dimension populated by their worst nightmares.
Since opening in 1996, the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center has grown like a weed, from 1 to 182 acres, providing a home for thousands of birds, butterflies, and blossoming plants. Their gardens, greenhouses, trails, and boardwalks are set into the landscape of the Oso Creek, allowing guests to observe species in their natural habitat without provoking the ire of territorial snapdragons. Following a mission to advance knowledge and appreciation of the environment, the organization also hosts classes and workshops on topics such as orchidology and cooking cactus for dinner. Members’ annual contributions help to sustain the nonprofit organization and garner them unlimited admission, discounts at Nature's Boutique, and invitations to members-only events, such as the annual member-plant dance.
Most buildings don't include a 13th floor, and for good reason. Far from simple superstition, the 13th Floor Haunted House bears out the worst fears of its visitors. Nightmares are unleashed as a group called the Darkstalkers, under the command of the powerful Harvester, prowl for visitors amid the shadows. And, once inside the Vault, intruders might find themselves unable to escape—and forced to balance the spirits' checkbooks for eternity.