Far, far away at the tip of Texas, lies South Padre Island (SPI). This laid back beach community on the Gulf of Mexico boasts the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center www.southpadreislandbirding.com. The fifty acre complex, next door to the convention center, is a serene escape for humans and a lovely stop for the hundreds of birds migrating from northern Central America and southern Mexico.
One of nine World Birding Center sites located throughout the Rio Grande Valley, the SPI Center is a stunning five story structure with sweeping views of Laguna Madre, beaches, dunes, and the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors can climb on an exterior stairway or take an elevator up to one of three viewing areas.
Outside there is more than one and a half miles of boardwalk connecting five bird blinds. Pick up a handy reference sheet and see how many types of birds you can spot.
Inside the center is a Gift Shop filled with natured themed items and art work from local artists. The educational displays and a short film on the birds that inhabit the center is worth visiting before exploring outdoors.
The non-profit South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission can be purchased for a day, week, three months or annually. The address is 6801 South Padre Blvd. Call 956.761.6801.
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites South Padre Island is conveniently located directly across the street from the Birding and Nature Center. The hotel offers complimentary parking, free WiFi and breakfast at no charge. The beach is located behind the hotel with access within a three minute walk from the property. Guest rooms include a coffee maker, mini fridge, and microwave. Exercise in the hotel’s gym or splash in the outdoor pool. To book a reservation, visit www.ihg.com or call the hotel’s friendly staff at 956.761.8844.
Photos taken by Jim Twardowski.