Corpus Christi: City By the Sea
Attractions in and Around Corpus Christi, Texas
Corpus Christi sits on the South Texas coast, an area known as the "Coastal Bend" - where the southern coast curves upward and eastward before stretching up and over to Galveston, Houston and Beaumont.
People who grow up in Corpus Christi might know it by one of two Chamber of Commerce-bestowed monickers: The Sparkling City by the Sea, and The Texas Riviera.
Getting the idea there is lots of water and plenty of beaches?
The city sits directly on Corpus Christi Bay, with Nueces Bay close by, both leading out to the Gulf of Mexico. Corpus Christi's Downtown - which has come back to life following decades of decline and now features entertainment, dining and shopping - is on the bayfront. When you hear "bayfront" in Corpus Christi, what's being talked about is the waterfront areas along scenic Ocean Drive and Downtown near the marina.
The bayfront Downtown by the marina features a seawall with steps leading down to the water, and a series of "T-Heads" where boats are docked. It's a popular walking spot.
The Port of Corpus Christi, one of the 10 busiest ports in the U.S. by cargo tonnage, is adjacent to Downtown, and the channel leading into the port separates Downtown from Corpus Christi Beach. The Harbor Bridge takes travelers across the Port channel between Downtown and Corpus Christi Beach (or North Beach, as locals call it).
On Corpus Christi Beach visitors will find two of the most popular attractions, the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay.
Texas State Aquarium houses numerous exhibits, but among the most popular are ones that allow visitors (particularly children) a chance to touch horseshoe crabs, sharks and stingrays, among other animals. Dolphins and otters are also big draws.
The USS Lexington - or "Lady Lex" - is an aircraft carrier commissioned in 1943 and now moored adjacent to the aquarium. It was the first U.S. carrier to enter Tokyo Bay after the signing of the armistice to end World War II. Tours are given daily, and attractions on the ship include a flight simulator.
Back on the Downtown side of the ship channel are most of Corpus Christi's other museums. The Art Museum of South Texas, housed in a striking building by noted architect Philip Johnson, features a permanent collection of local and regional art and frequently brings in noted traveling exhibits.
The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History houses the bounty from a 1554 Spanish shipwreck recovered off of Padre Island, along with natural science exhibits. This museum is also home to the Columbus Ships, replicas of the ships from Christopher Columbus' voyage.
Between the art and science museums is a water garden with more than 150 fountains.
Heritage Park is an area close to both museums and the port where some of Corpus Christi's oldest homes have been moved and restored. Guided and self-guided tours are available throughout the week.
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