Texas


APRIL, WHEN THE LONE STAR STATE IS ABLOOM WITH WILDFLOWERS, IS A PERFECT TIME TO ENJOY ITS CITIES OR DO SOME SPECTACULAR BIRDWATCHING.

YOUR VISIT TO TEXAS MAY START OUT IN Dallas, a thriving metropolis that began with a sinpie log cabin built in 1841, or in Houston, the states largest city, first settled in 1836. In Austin, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, dedicated to native plants, is spectacular this month. All of these sophisticated cities will keep you busy with a plethora of historical and cultural attractions including many fine museums (be sure not to miss the Natural History Museum in Dallas). But in Texas, nature is never far away.

As you head east from Houston toward the island of Galveston, about an hour away, stop by the Armand Bayou Nature Center, one of largest urban wildlife and wilderness preserves in the country. Home to bison, raptors, and reptiles, the center comprises three ecosystems-bayou, forest, and prairie-as well as butterfly gardens and a typically Texan farm from the 1800s. In Corpus Christi, the center of Texas's Gulf Coast region, visit the Texas State Aquarium. Don't miss Port Aransas, which claims to be one of the top twelve birding sites in the country. In the spring, watch migrating hummingbirds, which are attracted to these wetlands, as well as wading and shorebirds. South of Port Aransas, you'll find Mustang Island, where acres of sand dunes, sea oats, and beach morning glory combine to offer the best of seaside camping, surfing, fishing, swimming, and shell collecting.

In the lower Rio Grande Valley, just north of Mexico, visit the World Birding Center, headquartered in the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. …

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