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.
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.
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.
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.
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.