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Brownsville, Texas Travel Guide

Brownsville-birding

Birding at Resaca De La Palma

The southernmost city in Texas, Brownsville began as Fort Brown, positioned to identify the Rio Grande as the US boundary when Texas became a state. The establishment of the fort started the Mexican-American War. Today, Brownsville is the largest community in the Rio Grande Valley and a gateway into Mexico. The area is also a favorite with birders who come to have a look at the over 370 species who have been identified in the region.

Attractions

Birding. Birding is a top activity in the Brownsville area. Local sites include Camp Lula Sams, Boca Chica wetlands, and the Sabal Palm Audubon Sanctuary. Many sites are part of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail and local guides are available for tours. And look for some friendly seasonal visitors, too, at the zoo; the facility draws many migrating birds during their spring and fall months as they make a quick pit stop on their travels.

Brownsville Heritage Museum. History buffs won’t want to miss the Brownsville Heritage Museum. The site includes numerous exhibits on local history which bring alive the early days of this region.The Museum is located in a former railroad depot. Along with items on Brownsville’s early days, the museum boasts a collection of military memorabilia from its early days as the home of Fort Brown. 641 East Madison St.

Children’s Museum of Brownsville and Costumes of the Americas Museum. Right across the street from the zoo, don’t miss The Children’s Museum of Brownsville and the Costumes of the Americas Museum. Check out hands-on exhibits like the “All World’s Café,” “Construction Zone,” or “Weather Station” at the children’s museum or explore costumes from throughout Latin America at the Costumes of the Americas Museum. 501 E. Ringgold St.

Gladys Porter Zoo. This 26-acre zoo is home to 1600 animals, most contained by waterways rather than fences. Often called one of the country’s top 10 small zoos, the facility is home to over 1500 species ranging from African animals to local reptiles, most housed in outdoor exhibits. If you visit the zoo on a Sunday afternoon, you can hop a ride on the Safari Express, a small train that tours the zoo, weather permitting. Located at 500 Ringgold St.

dog-friendlyHistoric Battlefield Trail. This 8.5-mile trail runs from downtown Brownsville to the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park. The trail, which includes benches and water fountains, got its start when the city purchased a portion of an abandoned railroad corridor. Trailheads at E. Harrison St. to Entrance of Palo Alto Battlefield on FM 1847.

dog-friendlyPalo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site. The Battle of Palo Alto, the first major battle of the Mexican-American War, was held at this site in 1846. The National Park Service operates this small, free park. Located at Route 1847 near Route 511.

Port of Brownsville. This busy port sees cargo from around the world. Visitors can watch the activity of cargo ships from this bustling port. Located 6 miles northeast of Brownsville on International Boulevard.

dog-friendlyResaca De La Palma State Park. This 1,200-acre state park is part of the World Birding Center, a network of birding sites through the Rio Grande Valley and a favorite with birders. The ancient riverbed of the Rio Grand moved through the years and created prime territory for wildlife. Today the park has a picnic area and numerous trails that welcome you and your leashed dog. The park also has a tram that offers a 3.2-mile loop; it’s up to the discretion of the driver and the other passengers if your dog is permitted on the tram. 1000 New Carmen Rd., four miles west of Brownsville on US 281.

Stillman House Museum. This 19th century house was the home of Charles Stillman, founder of Brownsville. The rooms include many period furnishings. Part of the Brownsville Heritage Complex at 1305 E. Washington St.

Festivals

FEBRUARY:
Charro Days

MARCH:
Air Fiesta brings vintage and military aircraft to the skies over Brownsville International Airport.

OCTOBER:
Brownsville Latin Jazz Festival. Held in Brownsville’s Market Square, this three day event brings some of the world’s finest Latin jazz artists to town.

Boo at the Zoo! The Gladys Porter Zoo celebrates Halloween with a safe alternative to trick or treating, complete with 60 carnival games and even a haunted house.

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For More Information

Brownsville Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, ©Chase A. Fountain