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The live Raptor show was fantastic. Over 3300 linear feet of bay-view boardwalks and paths that meander through 43 acres of freshwater ponds, island scrub brush, brackish and saltwater marshes.Five bird blinds set in the wetlands for great viewing. If you are going to visit this center be sure and go during the winter outdoor & wildlife expo. No extra charge for the live raptor show, conference and exhibits. Could take up to 2 days to see all of it.The live raptor show is presented by Dr. Jonathon Wood and his wife. It is very entertaining and educational. South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center website

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Took a cruise up the Brownville Ship Channel to see where they decommission warships. One of the projects they were working on was the aircraft carrier Saratoga. This was a 4 hour cruise and included all you could eat shrimp dinner.On the way up and back dolphins caught a ride with us at the bough  of the ship. They apparently like the speed. Breakaway Cruises website

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We road the motorcycle to Boca Chica beach, Rio Grande River, and the Mexico fence,  and on the way back we stopped at Sabal Palm Sanctuary with the Historic Rabb Plantation House. We got to see the Rio Grande River. Would have stayed longer because there was over 4 miles of trails we could have followed but it was very hot that day. Saw lots of Green Jays and Chachalacas. Sabal Palm Sanctuary website

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One of our trips that was very enjoyable, and free on the day we went because the visitor center was closed that day, was to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge encompasses more than 97,000 acres but only a portion is open to the public. The ocelots, which are endangered, are protected here. We did not see an Ocelot while we were there but saw many different birds, including the green jays (a beautiful bird),  and javelinas. Many red winged black birds. They offer many activities such as shuttle and bus tours on different days. The visitor center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday-Monday, closed on Tue/Wed. Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge website

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Spent some time at the Sea Turtle Rescue Hospital in South Padre Island. Learned a lot about the turtles and their migration and nesting habits. We were fortunate enough to see them being released in the ocean after being rescued from hypothermia. There was a sea turtle that had lost three of its flippers that had a prosthesis made so it could swim with only one flipper. Not able to release in the ocean. They are building a new multi-million dollar facility that should be open by next year. Donations are accepted. Sea Turtle Inc.website

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