Kid Friendly Sealife Nature Center on South Padre Island

June 10, 2013

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I wish I had known more about the South Padre Island Dolphin Research and Sealife Nature Center before our Family Friendly Trip to South Padre Island. We definitely would have made arrangements to join one of their educational Dolphin Research Tours. $25.00 a person and only 6 guests on a tour. Rave reviews about these educational dolphin tours on Trip Advisor.  I usually shy away from these types of activities but this one sounds fabulous.

Family Friendly South Padre Island

Additionally, we would have devoted more time to their Sealife Nature Center. We visited the center on our way out of town. Big mistake! While the center is small (and not fancy) the children could have spent hours touching and observing the sea animals. The Sealife Nature Center exhibits rescued sea creatures from the local waters and educates the public on how to be an eco-friendly tourist.The volunteers were very helpful in answering the children’s questions.

Sealife Center, South Padre Island

The children gained an immediate appreciation for the sea creatures on display at the Sealife Nature Center. This poor stingray was a new residence recovering from an Eco-Tour. His barb was cut off during the Eco-Tour! What? We seriously considered taking one of these Eco-Tours. The educational Eco-Tours take visitors out into the bay and gulf. They scoop up sea creatures and bring them onto the boat for children to touch. The tours teach children to respect the local sea life. My children were very disturbed that the tours cut off the stingrays’ barbs to make them safe to touch. In fact, they were outraged. They decided if animals have to be hurt in the process, touching them is not worth it! Apparently there is a right way and a wrong way to cut off the barb. The Eco-Tour did it the wrong way!

Family Friendly South Padre Island

Sealife Nature Touch Tanks

On the other hand, the volunteers at the Sealife Nature Center children how to gently handle the native sea creatures in the touch tanks.

Sealife Center, South Padre Island

Careful, careful that is a giant hermit crab!

I know you don’t want to move along . . . But we have to keep moving. There is so much more to see . . .

Sealife Center, South Padre Island

Gulf Toadfish

Sealife Center, South Padre Island

Sargassum Fish

Sealife Center, South Padre Island

Puffer Fish

Sealife Center, South Padre Island

Sea Anemone (otherwise known as “A House for a Hermit Crab”)

Sealife Center, South Padre Island

Trigger  Fish

Sealife Center, South Padre Island

Stone Fish?

Lucky for us, MacGyver could identify all of the above fish. We confirmed them in his field guide book or on the web. This crazy guy was the one fish we could not confirm. (Yep, I know. We should have written down the names while at the Sealife Nature Center.)

South Padre Island Sealife Center

Sea Horse

My Faaaaavorite! MacGyver wants to contact Tanked so they can make Mommy a Sea Horse tank. I have to admit, that would be totally awesome!

All of this for a $3.00 donation! How can you beat that?

Family Friendly South Padre Island

South Padre Island Dolphin Research and Sealife Nature Center

  • Touch tanks allow children hands-on experiences with ocean life from local waters.
  • Location: 110 N Garcia, South Padre Island, TX 78578
  • Phone: 956-299-1957
  • Open Daily : 10:00am to 4:00pm
  • Donation – $3.00 per person

Family Friendly South Padre Island

Also worth a visit . . .

Sea Turtle Inc, Nonprofit Rescue and Education Center

  • Up close interactions with rescued sea turtles!
  • Location: 6617 Padre Blvd. South Padre Island, TX  78597
    Phone: (956) 761-4511
    Hours: Open from 10 am-4 pm Tuesdays through Sundays (Closed Mondays). In the summer months, hours are extended from 10 am-5 pm.
    A donation of $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for children over the age of 4.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Anna - the Measured Mom June 11, 2013 at 5:25 am

Wow! I don’t think we have anything close to this in Wisconsin.

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