Texas State Aquarium

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Texas State Aquarium
The Texas State Aquarium
Date opened July 6, 1990[1]
Location Corpus Christi, Texas, USA
Coordinates 27°48′50″N 97°23′32″W / 27.81389°N 97.39222°W / 27.81389; -97.39222Coordinates: 27°48′50″N 97°23′32″W / 27.81389°N 97.39222°W / 27.81389; -97.39222
Land area 6.3 acres (2.5 ha)[2]
Volume of largest tank 400,000 US gal (1,500,000 l)
Memberships AZA[3]
Website texasstateaquarium.org

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.


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.[2]

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).[2]

The current director and chief executive officer of the aquarium is Tom Schmid.[4]



Poison dart frogs and piranhas, a red-tailed boa, and also a bird eating spider can be seen in the Amazon exhibit, along with many other reptiles and fish.

Dolphin Bay

This 400,000-US-gallon (1,500,000 l) saltwater exhibit houses two Atlantic bottlenose dolphins: Shadow and Kai. The two 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.

Eagle Pass

All of the raptors featured in this exhibit were rehabilitated at the Texas State Aquarium and cannot be released back into the wild. This exhibit includes a bald eagle named Grace.

Floating Phantoms

This 800-US-gallon (3,000 l) exhibit contains a variety of jellyfish and sea nettle, most of which can be found in the Gulf of Mexico.

Flower Gardens

Replicating a coral reef, this 40,000-US-gallon (150,000 l) exhibit features tarpon, green moray eels, and cownose stingrays. The Aquarium's "Diver in the Water" show takes place in this exhibit.

Hawn Wild Flight Theater

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.

Islands of Steel

The largest indoor exhibit at the Aquarium, Islands of Steel recreates the habitat formed around an oil platform. The 125,000-gallon exhibit includes nurse sharks, amberjack, 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.

Living Shores

Visitors can interact with hermit crabs, lightning whelks, and pencil urchins that reside in several touch pools at this exhibit.

Otter Creek

Four North American River Otters reside at the Aquarium and can be viewed interacting with one another and their trainers throughout the day.

Stingray Flats

Visitors can touch Atlantic and cownose stingrays in the Aquarium's largest outdoor touch pool.

Swamp Tales

Bo, a 10.5-foot (3.2 m) American alligator, and six species of freshwater turtles and tortoises reside in the newest exhibit at the Aquarium.

Tortuga Cay

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).

On television[edit]

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).


  1. ^ The Handbook of Texas Online: Texas State Aquarium
  2. ^ a b c "History". texasstateaquarium.org. Texas State Aquarium. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "List of Accredited Zoos and Aquariums". aza.org. AZA. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  4. ^ The Loop: Under-Whelming

External links[edit]