I love to hike with my family out of state. Its fun to look for other animals, and to see other landscape than what we have at home. This park was a little tricky for my GPS to find. It kept putting us in a business park up the street from where we really needed to be. But it was so worth the U-turns to get to the park!
I like to do things that are fun yet cheap, this is a perfect example! Just $2 a car load to enter. We parked near the visitors center to use the bathroom before our hike. There were examples of local wildlife and a nice little log book for people to enter what animals they had seen on the boardwalk path. A group of young children had visited just before us and one child wrote he had seen “a big black snack!” So we had to keep our eyes open for a big black snack according to Daughter. We got quite the chuckle out of it as we walked the beautiful boardwalk.
We took a beach break by walking the nature trail from the South Padre Convention Center. (7355 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX) I had to convince daughter she would see something cool as all she wanted to do was boogie board at the beach.
This was the something cool I wanted to show her, she told me we could have just driven by it. Oh the start of the teenage years, looking forward to them so!
Its Whaling Wall #53. We parked right near it and walked along the side of the property to the nature walks. Free to park and walk around the bay side trails/ boardwalk.There is a little garden behind the conference center and these trails take off from the driveway to the left of the conference center.
For some reason there were tons of butterfly in these bushes next to the boardwalk.
We saw a duck who keep hiding when we walked by.
And this crazy duck kept sitting on the rails…
We took in the scenery.
It took us around half an hour to walk the boardwalk trails, look for fish in the water and take a few pictures.
This boardwalk is located next door to the South Padre Birding Center. From the looks of things they used to share the boardwalk trail. In several spots it looks like they put up new boardwalk trail right next to the conference center trail. They charge $5 a person to walk their boardwalk thru the same shrubs and backwaters to the bay. Same bay and 99% the same trail, I wasn’t going to pay $15 for that same experience that took about half an hour. During birding season you will see more but in early June it was fun to walk and see the local birds.
Beach Break- Sea Turtle Inc. South Padre Island, Texas
When it gets too hot, I get off the beach. My goal is to avoid frying my family so we head off the sand to get some shade and some lunch. Saturday’s beach break was to Sea Turtle Inc. Each person in our family picks the one thing they want to see/do/visit/eat or whatever and we do our best to make it happen. Sea Turtle Inc was my pick for this trip.
Sea Turtle Inc is open 10-4 Tue thru Sunday and closed on Mondays. It’s a $3 donation per person to visit and when we went it was pretty busy. But I think busy is a good thing for them; it means the word is getting out about their work! And it was really hot at 3pm on a Saturday, so that might have helped increase visitors.
Inside the hospital are large tanks filled with the different sea turtles. There are Loggerheads, Greens, and Kemp’s Ridleys. The smaller Kemp’s are my favorite kind. The turtles are kept at the hospital until they are well enough to be released, but sadly some will never be able to live in the wild. The tanks are large and spread out a bit so it was never too crowded to check out the turtles. And there were lots of volunteers answering questions and explaining about some of the resident turtles.
In the summer the turtle nests are released after hatching and often those releases are open to the public in the early morning. We were really hoping to catch a release on our visit but we were about 2 weeks too early for this year’s hatchlings. I think seeing a release would be incredible, where else can you do that?
They even have a live camera if you want to check them out at http://www.seaturtleinc.org/sea-turtles-live/ We were even able to see a poor turtle have a sharks hook removed from his mouth during our visit. Another turtle was getting his shell fixed up with zip ties and tape. The work they do is amazing!
High lights of our trip – Port Isabel, Texas
When it gets hot in the afternoon we head off the beach for some shade. One day we did a quick run across the causeway to Port Isabel for our break. After a great lunch at Joe’s Oyster Bar we walked around the lighthouse and pier area. The little town area by the water is small but very picturesque with the Lighthouse. This is a great place to spend the afternoon either as adults or with the family.
First the parking is free and we had no problem finding a spot to park close by. That is a huge plus for me, I hate to pay to park and I hate to look for parking spaces. We parked right next to the Lighthouse but chose not to tour it on this trip. There are cute little shops that line the 2 blocks for shopping or browsing. The Pirates pier square for dining and ice cream. Also the Dolphin Research and Sea Life Center is on the same block.
We did not eat at Pirates Pier, if you know my husband you know we ate at Joe’s every day. (He really liked the place and I have NEVER seen him be so excited about a restaurant to visit it daily.) At Pirates Pier there is a courtyard to the right before you enter the pier area that has artisans and parrots. Also the world’s largest fly fishing pole and pirate statues dot the area. We walked out on the fishing pier to see if anyone was having any luck. Watched a fire eater perform and saw the pirate cannon fired off the pier before the pirate cruise left.
Just around the corner we found the Sea Life Center entrance, it was $3 a person to visit. In large tanks in the middle were puffer fish and rays. A center worker held up the puffer fish and let the kids quickly touch it, a first for my daughter. Other touch tanks held crabs and starfish. It was not overly crowded and it was easy to access the tanks. They had aquariums full of local fish, sea horses and a turtle to view. My child loves touch tanks so this easily took over an hour to visit and my husband seemed happy to view the local fish tanks.
On Friday nights in the summer they show free movies on the side of the lighthouse. We had planned to view Madagascar 3 during our trip but a thunderstorm canceled the movie for the night.