Day Trips: Watergarden, Corpus Christi

Back and better than ever after seven-year dry spell


photos by Gerald E. McLeod

The Watergarden in Corpus Christi has reopened after seven dry years, and it’s better than ever.

A circular depression about the size of a football field, the Watergarden has 150 nozzles shooting water about a foot in the air before the white liquid burbles over a stair-step brick wall into an artificial stream at the bottom to be recirculated to the top.


Standing 12 feet below ground level, surrounded by a wall of water, the sound and sight of falling water envelops the senses. From the walkway that circles the garden, the structure looks kind of like an ancient arena. In the center is a large grassy area where kids love to run free.

Dedicated in 1988, the Watergarden was designed by New York landscape designer Robert Zion, who also created a water wall in the landmark Paley Park in New York City. From the moment it opened, the water park in Corpus Christi’s waterfront museum district became a favorite selfie spot for brides-to-be and tourists. The popular attraction closed in 2017 after Hurricane Harvey flooded the area destroying the wiring, pumps, and most of the plumping.


It took a few years for the Hotel Occupancy Tax to raise the $9.1 million for the Watergarden’s complete makeover. The new water feature that opened May 2 is pretty awesome during the daytime, but after the sun sets it comes alive with programmable LED lights that tint the water with waves of colors.

The Watergarden is north of downtown Corpus Christi at 1700 N. Chaparral behind the Museum of Science and History and near the Art Museum of South Texas and the Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures & Education Center. With the Harbor Bridge in the background, the popular landmark is open for free from 6am to 10pm.

1,703rd in a series. Everywhere is a day trip from somewhere: Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Watergarden, Corpus Christi, Robert Zion, Hurricane Harvey

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