So you want to touch a stingray, immerse yourself in Naval history, and build the best sandcastle your kids have ever seen -- oh, and you only have one weekend to do it?  No worries, Corpus Christi, with its unique museums and fun beaches, is the place for you.

U.S.S. Lexington

History comes alive when you step aboard the U.S.S. Lexington, a 16-story, 33,000 ton Naval aircraft carrier commissioned in 1943.  Our children loved exploring the ship, particularly the aspects of sea life to which they could relate such as the berthing rooms (where the sailors slept), dentist's office, sick bay, and chapel.  They were enthralled with the hands-on cock-pit exhibits where they could push buttons, flip switches, and let their imaginations take flight.  Our eldest son (6) and Dad were fascinated by the 20 vintage aircraft and the enormous anti-aircraft twin-mounted guns on the flight deck.  The movie shown in the on-board Mega Theater "Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag" was truly awesome.  We all left the Lexington with a better understanding of and a deeper gratitude for the men and women who serve in our armed forces.  Texas Family Travel recommends that every Texas family make a trip to Corpus Christi to visit the U.S.S. Lexington.

 

Texas State Aquarium

A short walk from the Lexington is the Texas State Aquarium.  The Aquarium was smaller than we expected, but it still provided great opportunities for underwater discovery.  Watching dolphins (from both above & below the water) leap, play ball, and respond to their trainer's commands at Dolphin Bay was our family's clear favorite.  The Aquarium is also home to sharks, sea turtles, river otters, hawks, and beautiful fish.  Children will squeal with delight when they touch a stingray at Stingray Flats, and if they have pent-up energy after a day of sight-seeing, the large playground is the perfect place to let them run.

 

Cole Park

Another great playground is Cole Park.  Located right on the bay on Shoreline Drive (a short drive from the hotel), this wooden park is one of our favorite playgrounds in the state.

 

Beaches

What could be more fun for a family than a day at the beach?  The Corpus Christi area offers numerous beaches, but we have two definite favorites:  Mustang Island State Park and Port Aransas.

Mustang Island State Park - While the facilities are run-down, the beach is pristine with white sand, large dunes, and great waves.  The state park is well monitored by park rangers thus promoting a more family-friendly atmosphere than some of the nearby public beaches.
Port Aransas - A fun beach town with a beautiful beach, Port Aransas is definitely worth the drive from Corpus Christi.  While you can drive along the beach, we like the fact that the cars are kept a good distance from the water giving families plenty of beach on which to play.  Consider taking the free ferry to or from Port Aransas.  Though it takes a bit longer, the experience of riding a ferry will delight the children.

Once you choose a beach, kick back and relax.  Jump the waves, hunt for seashells, build that sandcastle.  Family fun does not get better than this!