Corpus Christi in South Texas is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches, bird watching, great museums and unique attractions.

Best things to do in Corpus Christi, TX with kids include the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, the Texas State Aquarium, USS Lexington, Padre Island National Seashore, Bob Hall Pier and Whataburger Field.

1. South Texas Institute for the Arts

South Texas Institute for the Arts
© South Texas Institute for the Arts

The South Texas Institute for the Arts collects, preserves, exhibits, and interprets works of visual art with a particular focus on the Americas and surrounding regions.

Established in 1945 to raise awareness of art and its role in society, as well as inspire an appreciation and enjoyment of art, the South Texas Institute for the Arts stands today as both a recreational and educational resource for students, educators, and the public alike.

The museum features a permanent art collection with over 1,500 works of art in various mediums, from painting, drawing, and sculpture to ceramics, collages, and textiles, as well as evolving exhibitions and architecture.

The South Texas Institute for the Arts is one of the best things to do in Corpus Christi, Texas. The museum also presents a variety of programs, which include lectures and bilingual gallery talks, workshops and art classes, and dance, theatrical, and musical performances.

1902 North Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, Texas, Phone: 361-825-3500

2. USS Lexington

USS Lexington
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The USS Lexington is a museum and education facility dedicated to the US warship by the same name, which played a significant role in the nation’s defense for over 50 years. The USS Lexington was converted into a naval aviation museum in 1992 with the aim of preserving the history and educating the public about naval aviation and the role of the aircraft carrier in the national defense.

Visitors can go on five self-guided tours around the vessel that explore the ship’s eleven decks and 1,000 square feet of space, including the flight deck, foc’sle, gallery deck, hangar deck, and lower deck.

Watch an interactive show at the three-storey Joe Jessel 3D Mega Theater, stop by the Virtual Battlestations on the main Hangar Deck and take command of the ship, or take to battle in the Flight Simulator and find yourself in the pilot’s seat of a fighter jet.

The museum also offers a range of educational programs for all ages, including overnight camping on the ship and volunteering to help on board in various roles. The USS Lexington is one of the top Corpus Christi attractions. More info

2914 N. Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, Texas, Phone: 361-888-4873

3. Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History

Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History
© Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History

The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History was established in 1957 to inspire and encourage children of all ages to take an interest in science and exploration.

The Museum’s 40,000 square foot space features a range of historical collections that showcase more than half a century of South Texas history, from shipwrecks of early explorers to intricate decorative arts from local cultures. Signature exhibits include Seeds of Change, which takes a closer look at nature and the environment; Coastal Ecology, a display about life found on the coastal shoreline; and Explore the Nanoverse, which offers an in-depth look at the microscopic world.

The museum also presents several educational programs, workshops, and summer camps for children of all ages, as well as family-friendly events such as the Haunted Museum Tour for Halloween.

1900 N. Chaparral Street, Corpus Christi, Texas, Phone: 361-826-4667

4. South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center

South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center
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The South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is a community-based nature center and public garden located on South Staples Road.

Established in 1987 as a recreational and educational resource for the people of Corpus Christi, the gardens have been continually developed into what they are today and now include an arid garden, a modern Exhibit House featuring exotic species such as cycads, bromeliads, cacti, and succulents, a hibiscus and hummingbird garden, an orchid house with over 3,000 common and rare species of orchids, and a contemporary rose garden.

If you are wondering what to do in Corpus Christi, Texas with kids, this is a great place to visit. The gardens are also home to an outstanding collection of plumeria varieties, several landscape demonstration beds, a sensory garden, and water garden. Stroll along the Mesquite trail and take in the magnificent surrounding landscapes, which feature over 35 species of grasses, shrubs, herbs and woody trees, as well as some wildlife.

8545 South Staples, Corpus Christi, Texas, Phone: 361-852-2100

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5. Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi, Texas

Texas State Aquarium, Corpus Christi, Texas
© Courtesy of Texas State Aquarium

The mission of the Texas State Aquarium is to engage people with animals, inspire appreciation for our seas, and support wildlife conservation.

Enjoy daily animal presentations with dolphins, stingrays, and sea turtles. Featured exhibits include Dolphin Bay, which houses four Atlantic bottlenose dolphins; Caribbean Jungle, which showcases unique wildlife and geography of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve's lowland rainforest; Tentacles, which is filled with a variety of jellyfish and sea nettles; and Flower Gardens, home to magnificent coral reefs, green moray eels, tarpon, and cow nose sting rays.

The H-E-B Caribbean Sea presents a thrilling and immersive look at the ocean’s most infamous predators with the experience of diving a Caribbean shipwreck, while Islands of Steel recreates the habitat formed around an oil platform and is home to grouper, amberjack, tarpon, nurse sharks, and barracuda. In addition to the many exhibits and displays, the Aquarium offers several educational programs, such as Aquarium Discovery programs, mini camps and outreach programs.

2710 N. Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, Texas, Phone: 1-800-477-GULF

More places to visit: 10 Best Things to See & Do in Austin.

6. Selena Museum

Selena Museum
© Selena Museum

The Selena Museum was founded as a memorial to the famous singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez and is dedicated to showcasing her achievements and life. Heralded as the Queen of Tejano Music, Selena became the best-selling Latin artist of the decade before one of her fans tragically killed her at the age of 23.

Built by the Quintanilla family at the request of thousands of fans, the museum takes fans on a journey through the singer’s life, with exhibits showing her recording studio, stage outfits, her beloved red Porsche, and her music awards.

5410 Leopard St., Corpus Christi, Texas, Phone: 361-289-9013

7. Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island State Park
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Facing the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the Mustang Island State Park is a must-visit Texas destination for nature lovers. You will have more than 5 miles of coastline to explore-you can spend your days soaking up the sun and swimming or take to the waters on your kayak along the Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail which meanders for 20miles along some of Texas’ best shallow water fishing areas. If you would like to linger for a while you can bring your RV to one of the serviced camp sites or enjoy a more back-to-nature camping experience at one of the walk-up primitive camping sites.

9394 State Hwy 361, Corpus Christi, TX 78418

8. The Art Center of Corpus Christi

The Art Center of Corpus Christi
© The Art Center of Corpus Christi

Established as the Art Community Center in 1972 and now known as The Art Center of Corpus Christi, this center is a multi-purpose facility dedicated to promoting all forms of art within the community.

Located on North Shore Boulevard in the heart of Corpus Christi’s bayfront district, the Art Center features a variety of rotating exhibitions of original artworks, and it offers engaging art experiences, lessons, and classes for all ages. Enjoy classes on clay-making at the Barry Brown Clay Studio, which is located inside the Art Center of Corpus Christi and provides clay art classes for beginners and advanced artists in wheel throwing and in hand building for adults.

The Art Center also hosts a range of events for the community such as a Farmers Market, Wednesday Art Market, Art Walk and Art-in-Action.

100 N Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, Texas, Phone: 361-884-6406

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9. Padre Island National Seashore

Padre Island National Seashore
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Padre Island National Seashore is a pristine stretch of undeveloped barrier island that separates the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna Madre, one of just a few hypersaline lagoons in the world. The national park protects over 70 miles of magnificent coastline comprised of rolling dunes, vast prairies, and windswept tidal flats that teem with life.

Boasting a rich history – Padre Island has been owned by no less than four nations, beginning with the Spanish in 1554 – the natural landscapes provide critical habitats for a variety of marine and terrestrial plants and animals, including a number of rare, threatened, and endangered species such as the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and over 380 bird species.

The Laguna Madre is a rare treasure - one of only six hypersaline lagoons in the world and home to more than 77% of North America’s wintering population of redhead ducks, as well as a wide variety of other bird species.

20420 Park Road 22, Corpus Christi, Texas, Phone: 361-949-8069

10. Horses On The Beach

Horses On The Beach
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Horses On The Beach Corpus Christi offers horseback riding adventures and experiences on the beach to all ages and levels of riders. Enjoy long rides along the beach on well-trained, manageable horses led by expert guides and take in the beautiful seascapes and natural scenery along the way.

Horses On The Beach also offers nightly Ranch Cookouts, which include a range of fun activities such as horseback rides, hay rides, and the opportunity to visit a petting zoo, as well as a catered barbecue with meat and vegetarian options. Riding helmets are provided, and beach rides and Ranch Cookouts need to be booked in advance.

16562 SPID - Park Road 22, Corpus Christi, Texas, Phone: 361-949-4944

11. Whataburger Field

Whataburger Field
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Whataburger Field is a minor league baseball field that is home to the Hooks, a Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Houston Astros. Completed in 2005, the much-loved ballpark rests on what used to be the site dominated by cotton warehouses at the seaport.

It pays tribute to the site's heritage through several of its design attributes, such as the left-center field scoreboard, which is framed by antique cotton presses that date back to 1920.

The 7,000-seater stadium features modern amenities, including a VIP Lounge, the Driscoll Children's Hospital Fun Zone, the Stripes Kid's Park (a youth baseball field), basketball courts, a climbing wall, trampoline, and an air-conditioned entertainment area called the Cotton Club. A variety of food stands and eateries offer everything from chopped beef sandwiches to gourmet pretzels, burgers, and beers.

734 E Port Ave, Corpus Christi, TX, Phone: 361-561-4665

12. Republic of Texas Bar and Grill

Republic of Texas Bar and Grill
© Republic of Texas Bar and Grill

Located on the 20th floor of the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel, the Republic of Texas Bar & Grill steakhouse offers outstanding cuisine, first-class service, and breathtaking panoramic views.

One of Corpus Christi's top dining destinations, this multi-level steakhouse presents a tempting menu featuring prime beef, wild game and seafood, and an award-winning wine list. Appetizers range from quail legs, shrimp cocktail, and crab cakes to French escargot, ahi tuna tartare, and fresh oysters.

If you are looking for romantic date night ideas, this is a great place to try. Enjoy choosing from a variety of entrées such as prime-cut grade steaks, venison, chicken, and seafood dishes such as lobster tails, jumbo shrimp, and seared tuna. Add soups, salads, and sides as an optional accompaniment to your meal, and enjoy a signature cocktail or a fine wine from the curated wine list as you take in the views.

900 North Shoreline Boulevard, Corpus Christi, TX, Phone: 361-886-3515

13. Corpus Christi Bird Watching

Corpus Christi Bird Watching
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Corpus Christi is a destination for bird lovers, as it has a variety of prominent places to enjoy bird watching. Located in the heart of downtown Corpus Christi, Blucher Park is a four-acre pocket of green that attracts birders and allows them to see dozens of species with a network of footpaths that provide an opportunity to explore the landscapes.

Hans & Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge, located on Ennis Joslin and Nile, is a shorebird’s heaven, packed with waterfowl, shorebirds, butterflies, and wildlife. An 800-foot nature trail and one-mile boardwalk wind through marshes, woodlands, and grasslands to offer spectacular birding and beautiful views.

Hazel Bazemore is home to several hawks, the majority of which are broad-winged hawks and can be seen from a comfortable hawk watch platform. The South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center offers another excellent place to watch birds with a variety of habitats and natural environments that attract myriad species.

14. Hurricane Alley Waterpark

Hurricane Alley Waterpark
© Hurricane Alley Waterpark

Offering the most outdoor fun in the area, the Hurricane Alley Water Park is one of Corpus Christi’s most popular summer attractions. Everyone loves getting wet on a hot summer’s day and Hurricane Alley will not disappoint. Most of the splashing good action takes place in the massive Storm Surge Wave Pool and the 750-foot scenic and relaxing Gulf Stream Lazy River. There are also some thrilling slides for dare-devils including the CAT 5 slide which is 6 stories high. Younger visitors and Moms with toddlers can have hours of fun on the USS Dusty, which is designed to provide a safe and fun introduction to water activities.

702 East Port Ave, Corpus Christi, TX 78401, 361 883 9283

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15. Black Sheep Bistro

Black Sheep Bistro
© Black Sheep Bistro

The Black Sheep Bistro is a friendly, inviting eatery and bar with an innovative menu of American cuisine, excellent steaks, and fresh seafood. Featuring casual, chic décor and a relaxed ambiance, the little bistro by the Bay is ideal for a family gathering or a romantic dinner for two.

Dishes are prepared using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, and include crisp garden salads, appetizers such as crab cakes, jumbo shrimp, and lamb chops, and entrées like grilled salmon, strip steak, and Cornish game hen. Vegetarian options include roasted bell peppers and homemade linguini with mushrooms while desserts of chocolate brownies, cheesecake, and crème bruleé really hit the spot.

A selective wine list features a range of reds, whites, sparkling wine, and ports, and the classic Sunday brunch is popular among locals and visitors alike.

15201 SPID, Corpus Christi, TX, Phone: 361-949-4819

16. North Beach

North Beach
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Formerly known as the Corpus Christi Beach, North Beach is a beautiful, white sandy beach close to the city center, and it is the perfect place to escape the crowds. Golden sands and the warm waters of the Gulf make this beach great for swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, or simply relaxing, while sheltered cabanas and picnic spots dotted about the beach are perfect for a shady lunch.

The beach is within close proximity to some of Corpus Christi’s most popular attractions such as the Texas State Aquarium and the famous U.S.S. Lexington and Museum, as well as excellent seafood restaurants for Gulf-based cuisine. North Beach is open 24/7 365 days a year and offers free parking, on-duty lifeguards, and public restrooms.

17. Andy’s Country Kitchen

Andy’s Country Kitchen
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Andy’s Country Kitchen is a home-away-from-home, family-friendly eatery that serves home country cooking at its best. Much-loved by locals, the restaurant boasts a warm and welcoming ambiance with friendly, attentive staff, some of whom have been at Andy’s since inception.

The restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch, and their delicious all-day breakfast includes the usual hearty fare of eggs, bacon, omelets, waffles, pancakes, cereals, and Mexican delights such as burritos and quesadillas.

The lunch menu features soups, salads, chili, and gumbo, as well as larger meat, chicken, and seafood dishes and Mexican favorites. Also on the menu are burgers, sandwiches, fruits, and salads, along with special kid’s menus and daily lunch specials. Don’t miss a slice of Granny’s Chocolate Cake or Andy’s homemade cheesecake.

5802 S. Staples Street, Corpus Christi, TX, Phone: 361-993-0251

18. McGee Beach

McGee Beach
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Bordering the sea wall in downtown Corpus Christi, McGee Beach is a popular meeting place for locals and visitors. The beach is kept manicured and pristine and boasts calm waters ideal for a variety of water sports. The calm waters of Corpus Christi Bay are also great for families with younger children. You can spend your time sun-tanning and swimming or visit one of the outfitters to rent some beach-enhancing equipment like loungers, umbrellas, jet-skis, pedal boats and surrey bikes. The beach has showers and restrooms as well as plenty of parking along the sea wall and is close to various accommodation and dining options.

402 S. Shoreline Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78401

19. K Space Contemporary

K Space Contemporary
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K Space Contemporary is the home of contemporary art in Corpus Christi. The non-profit facility endeavors to develop, exhibit and promote contemporary art in Corpus Christi and beyond. The center is named for Kress Five & Dime Store which earlier occupied the historic building. The center not only provides exhibition space for emerging and established artists, it also attempts to bring contemporary art forms to the greater community by hosting art lectures, figure-drawing classes and other art lessons for all ages. K-Space is also instrumental in bringing art to the community through the Summer Mural Arts Program and the regular First Friday Art Walk.

623 North Chaparral St, Corpus Christi, TX 78401, 361 887 6834

20. Heritage Park

Heritage Park
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A visit to Heritage Park will take you back in time to the early days of Corpus Christi, and welcomes visitors to come and see how the founding fathers lived their day-to-day lives. The park brings together a collection of important historic Corpus Christi homes which have been beautifully restored to their original glory. The oldest of the ten houses on Heritage Park dates back to 1851 and the collection, as a whole, tells the story of the early days in the city. Some of the historic homes can be toured, while others can be admired from the outside. The Park also has attractive gardens, a historic rose garden and a picnic area.

1581 N. Chaparral Street, Corpus Christi, TX 78401, 361 8263411

21. Blackbeard's on the Beach

Blackbeard's on the Beach
© Blackbeard's on the Beach

Blackbeard’s on the Beach has been a destination restaurant in Corpus Christi for more than 30 years. Not your average eatery, Blackbeard’s is certainly an eclectic venue where all kinds of pirate, ghost and rock ‘n roll memorabilia lends a unique atmosphere. However, you will remember the delicious food long after you have forgotten the décor. The menu leans heavily towards fresh, succulent seafood dishes, served just the way you like them. In addition, they make delicious burgers, chicken dishes and a fabulous rib-eye steak with all the trimmings.

3117 Surfside Blvd, Corpus Christi, TX 78402, 361 884 1030

22. 11th Hour Escape

11th Hour Escape
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If you are looking for the ultimate escape room challenge, 11th Hour Escape is waiting for you to book your experience of choice. The facility is quite unique in that teams have the opportunity to choose the level of difficulty of their room – beginners can start with the easiest experience and move up to the more challenging games once they find their feet. There are three intriguing escape rooms to try and you can choose your difficulty level when you book. You and your friends or family will need to work closely together to solve clues and make your escape within the allotted 60 minutes.

4455 S. Padre Island Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78411, 361 429 2424

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Selena Memorial Statue

The Selena Memorial Statue can be found at the entrance to People’s Street T Head. Here it stands to honor the life and musical contributions of Selena Perez, an accomplished local singer who became known as the Queen of Tejano Music. Selena was tragically murdered in 1995 at the age of 23. Today you can visit her life-size bronze statue and learn a little about her life and her contributions to the music industry. At the statue site you can hear some of her music. Before leaving you can explore the walkway below the statue, known as the Paseo de la Flor, which is lined with lovely hand-made tiles.

Paseo de la Flor, Corpus Christi, TX 78401