Coastal Studies Laboratory
Pan American University, Isla Blanca Park. At the southern end of the island, the aquarium displays fish and other marine life, and an extensive shell collection.
Sunday - Friday
1:00pm to 4:30pm
Open: till 4:00pm
Donation: $2 per person
Sea Turtle, Inc.
6617 Padre Blvd. This is the home of the infamous “Turtle Lady,” Ida Loetscher. Educational shows featuring endangered sea turtles are given on Tuesdays – Sundays at 10:00 am. Open till 4:00pm. Donation of $2 per person.
Port Isabel Lighthouse
On Mainland near foot of Queen Isabella Causeway. Climb the historic lighthouse (completed in 1853) for a panoramic view of Laguna Madre Bay. Open 10:00am to 11:30am and 1:00pm to 5:00pm daily. Admission fee $2 for adults, $1 for children; those under 6 years and over 65 are free.
Port Isabel Historical Museum
317 Railroad Avenue, Port Isabel. Located in the historic Charles Champion Building, a restored 1899 Victorian commercial building nationally known for its “fish mural” painted in 1906 by Victor Morales and beautifully restored in 1996 by artist Travis Keese. Admission $3 for adults, $1 for children. Call 943-7602.
Isla Blanca Park
South end of the Island. RV Camping, picnic, pavilion, jetty fishing, Sea Ranch Marina. Day use: $4/ vehicle. (956) 761-5493
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
20 minutes northwest of South Padre Island. A 45,000 acre federal preserve popular with bird watchers. Tour roads, including 16-mile bayside drive, are open daily sunrise to sunset. (956) 748-3608
Gladys Porter Zoo
Ringgold and Sixth Sts. In Brownsville. Rated one of the nation’s best small zoos, with more than 1,800 mammals, birds, reptiles and other animals in the 31-acre preserve. Open daily 9am to one hour before dusk. Admission $6 for adults, $3 for ages 2-13. (956) 546-2177
About 25 miles southwest of South Padre Island. Matamoros, Mexico is a border city of 400,000 offer bargain shopping for silver, leather goods and handicrafts, as well as traditional dining.
South Padre Island Convention Centre
7355 Padre Blvd. Festively colored, meeting facility featuring Whaling Wall #53 by marine life artist, Wyland.
About 67 miles West, 7 miles south of Weslaco on FM 1015. Its main street lined with shops and filled with arts and crafts from every state in Mexico.