The Texas State Aquarium
|Date opened||July 6, 1990|
|Location||Corpus Christi, Texas, United States|
|Land area||6.3 acres (2.5 ha)|
|Volume of largest tank||400,000 US gal (1,500,000 l)|
The Texas State Aquarium is a nonprofit aquarium located in Corpus Christi, Texas, United States. It is dedicated to promoting environmental conservation and rehabilitation of the wildlife of the Gulf of Mexico. It has been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) since 1995. It is the largest aquarium in Texas and one of the largest aquariums in the United States.
Originally conceived by a coalition led by the Junior League of Corpus Christi and named the Gulf Coast Zoological and Botanical Society, the organization changed its name to the Corpus Christi Aquarium Association in 1978, and then to Texas State Aquarium Association in 1986 after the Texas State Legislature designated it the "Official Aquarium of Texas", although it would receive no state dollars.
After more than 20 years of fundraising, planning, and building, the Texas State Aquarium opened its first exhibit to the public on July 6, 1990. In 1993, the aquarium became a federally permitted animal rehabilitation facility, and in 1995, it was accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
On May 13, 2017, the Texas State Aquarium opened Caribbean Journey, an expansion which doubled the size of the Aquarium and added new exhibits including a 400,000-gallon shark exhibit and a jungle aviary as well as a 4D theater.
This 400,000-US-gallon (1,500,000 l) aquatic exhibit contains sandbar sharks, stingrays, and other species. Guests can view the exhibit from the longest acrylic display window in North America or walk through an acrylic tunnel.
Replicating the features of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef off the coast of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, the Coral Reef exhibit gives an immersive look at these incredible ecosystems and the colorful fish that call them home. Species include angelfish, goatfish, butterflyfish, and parrotfish.
This immersive exhibit reveals a unique and often unseen aquatic habitat, the deep underwater caverns that can descend hundreds of feet below sea level.Guests can step inside an acrylic "bubble" to view this exhibit from a unique perspective.
This 400,000-US-gallon (1,500,000 l) saltwater exhibit houses four Atlantic bottlenose dolphins: Liko, Schooner, Shadow and Kai. The Atlantic dolphins put on an educational dolphin presentation, two to three times per day (depending on the season), so that visitors may speak with trainers about how trainers interact with their dolphins as well as learn more about how to conserve and protect the world's oceans.
Replicating a coral reef, this 40,000-US-gallon (150,000 l) exhibit features Atlantic tarpon, green moray eels, and cownose stingrays. The aquarium's "Diver in the Water" show takes place in this exhibit.
These presentations feature a variety of trained birds including parrots, hawks, owls, and falcons. The Hawn Wild Flight Theater honors the Hawn family for their long-standing commitment to the aquarium's mission of wildlife education and conservation in South Texas. The theater was opened April 24, 2007.
The largest indoor exhibit at the aquarium, Islands of Steel recreates the habitat formed around an oil platform. The 125,000-US-gallon (470,000 l) exhibit includes nurse sharks, amberjack, Atlantic tarpon, grouper, a barracuda, a sand tiger shark, and many other species that could be found in a naturally occurring habitat in the Gulf of Mexico.
Four North American river otters reside at the aquarium and can be viewed interacting with one another and their trainers throughout the day.
Saving Sharks is an interactive, informative exhibition designed to capture the hearts and minds of would-be conservationists and lifelong shark fans, alike.
Visitors can view the rehabilitated and unreleasable sea turtles above and below the water at this exhibit. Tortugay Cay includes three green sea turtles (Squirt, Pickles, and Crush), one kemp's ridley sea turtle (Daisy), one hawksbill sea turtle (Hemingway), and a loggerhead sea turtle (Tiki).
In addition to regular tours, the Texas State Aquarium offers many other educational programs.
Aquarium Discover Programs allow schools to bring their students to learn about the Gulf of Mexico environment.
For schools that are not able to tour the aquarium, Aquavision uses web-based and videoconferencing technology to provide access to the animals and staff of the aquarium. Learning objectives are aligned with the Texas Education Knowledge and Skills (TEKS).
Overnights allow children to spend the night at the aquarium where they can experience behind-the-scene tours of the aquarium.
Outreach programs allow staff members to come to schools and give presentations in the classroom.
Spring Break Camp is designed to promote STEM exploration and discovery. Activities include paddleboating and canoeing at our SeaLab facility
SeaCamp is a weeklong camp to promote STEM exploration and discovery. Activities include fishing, aquarium visits, field activities, chatting with an ocean scientist, tracking a shark, and an overnight stay at the aquarium.
The aquarium appears in the pilot episode of JAG, when Harmon Rabb Jr. has a flashback of when he was with his father as a child on board an aircraft carrier (the USS Lexington Museum is located nearby).