Day Trips: South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, Corpus Christi

Expansive horticulture park offers fun for everyone

Photos by Gerald E. McLeod

The South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center in Corpus Christi has something for everybody. You don't have to be a tree hugger to enjoy the 182-acre wonderland, just have an appreciation for nature.

It always seems like there is something new at the horticulture park that began in 1983 and moved to their current location in 1996. Over the years it has grown to become a leader in growing plumeria plants in the U.S. Every year the outdoor garden of more than 100 varieties must be moved indoors when temperatures drop below 40 degrees.

The Bromeliad Conservatory and Orchid Conservatory are two large greenhouses filled with colorful flowers. The bromeliads look like plants from another planet, while what seems like miles of orchids showcase nature's artistic flair. For a more rustic experience, take a walk on the nature trails.

A nice feature of the gardens is the number of kid-friendly parts. In addition to a playground, there is the Monkey Mansion Treehouse to climb as well as a sensory garden where the plants can be felt and smelled.

Kids of all ages enjoy walking around the Butterfly House as the insects flutter from plant to plant. Kind of unusual for a botanical garden are the half-dozen or so parrots that squawk and say "hello," and the reptile house of creepy crawling and slithering creatures.

The South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is about 4.5 miles south of South Padre Island Drive at 8545 S. Staples in Corpus Christi. The gates open daily from 9am to 6pm. Watch the events page at for the year-round events, lectures, plant sales, and the annual "Birdiest Festival in America," April 20-24.

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South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, Corpus Christi, Bromeliad Conservatory, Orchid Conservatory

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