Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Corpus Christi Museum of Science and Nature - 3/10/15

Today we visited the Science and Nature museum that is located in the downtown area of Corpus Christi near the scenic harbor waterfront. It was established in 1952 with a goal to "inspire curiosity, understanding, and an enduring thirst for knowledge."

First, we explored the history exhibits.

1554 Padre Island Shipwrecks: On April 9,1554, four ships carrying an estimated value of over $9.8M set sail for Spain. Twenty days after their departure from Mexico, three of the four vessels were lost in a storm on Padre Island. It is estimated that 2/3 of those on board drowned. Most of the survivors perished at the hands of the local Native Americans as they attempted to make their way on foot back to Mexico...not realizing that it was 300 miles away. At least one survivor did report the disaster to the Spaniards in Mexico who launched a salvage operation about 2 months after the ships sank. They recovered about 40% of the cargo at that time.

Modern salvage began in the 1960s. In 1984, this museum was designated as the repository for the collection from the San Esteban, an armed merchant vessel, that was one of the three ships that sank in 1554.

Bombards (primitive cannons); and, silver discs and gold bars.

Two salvaged anchors as well as the aft section of the keel (wooden piece in the background).

Amazing (and catastrophic) statistics about the fate of Native Americans between 1492 and 1900.

Corpus Christi History: 

4-passenger Hack Wagon (1862)

                                       2-passenger Victoria (1890)

Exhibit about history and use of horses and cattle ranches in the region.

Buccaneer Days has been celebrated in Corpus Christi since 1938 and the Buccaneer Coronation Pageant since 1954. Here is a beautiful dress from a past coronation.

Phonograph and Magic Lantern (to view images...forerunner of movie projector) circa 1890 and a Hall Index Typewriter circa 1885.

19th century parlor - Victorian style.

Gallery of Cultural Encounters:  Karankawa dugout canoe (used 1600-1800s).

Bronze cannon (much more accurate than iron cannons and 4 times the cost) cast in France in 1674.

Early Native American artifacts.

Doc McGregor Exhibit: John Frederick (Doc) McGregor (1893-1986) was South Texas' leading commercial photographer whose career spanned many years (1929-1977). His artistic images of local life in the region is displayed here. Photographs are periodically changed in the exhibit.

Here are some photos from the Science Exhibits.

Geology Hall: Display of minerals of the region as well as models of an oil drill well and refinery.

When Giants Ruled: Display of fossils found in the area.

Coastal Ecology:  I have to admit that I just LOVE beautiful seashells and this exhibit was amazing with specimens from all over the world. Here are some of my favorites.

And some shell displays by region.

There was a featured exhibit on Guns & Ammo that, of course, John really liked.

There are several play areas both indoors and outside for kids. Next to the front entrance is a learning garden where we spent some time after our visit of the indoor exhibits.

We love gardens!

And Sadie enjoyed it as well.

We were so impressed with the exhibits in this well done visually and educationally. It was an overcast day and we were looking for something to do when we decided to visit here. After we entered the museum, we ended up staying much longer than we had expected.

Admission for adults is $9/adults and $7/seniors (over 60). Check out their website for information on all of the exhibits, special events, educational opportunities, and hours of operation of the museum.


The Port of Corpus Christi is right next to the museum so we took a quick walk over to see it. A large tanker was entering the port (which is pretty incredible to see!)  It only clears the bridge by a small margin.

This statue of Christopher Columbus is also located in the area.

It was a lovely afternoon!

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