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Exploring the Gulf Coast: Whooping Cranes, Marine Life, King Ranch

Program Number: 7353RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/3/2012 - 12/7/2012;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Port Aransas, Texas
Price starting at: $940.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Birding Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 12; 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

For over 70 years The University of Texas Marine Science Institute has been a leader in marine research, education and outreach. Sail aboard the university research vessel and observe abundant marine life and birds along the nutrient rich coastal bays and hear about ongoing marine research. Take a journey inland to the King Ranch, the largest ranch in the United States where birds and wildlife abound. Your trip would not be complete until you cruise along the intracoastal waterway to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge to see endangered whooping cranes in their winter habitat.




Highlights

• Participate in a hands-on research cruise aboard a University research and sample the rich diversity of marine life in the coastal bays and estuaries.
• View magnificent endangered Whooping Cranes, America’s tallest birds, in their natural winter habitat at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.
• Take a short ride inland to legendary King Ranch with over 1,000,000 acres of land and view an abundance of birds and wildlife. Travel along backroads to look for green jays, vermilion flycatchers, javelinas, alligators and deer.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to a mile.



So you can get the most out of your experience, all of our Birding programs have a maximum participant-to-instructor ratio of 14:1.



Coordinated by University of Texas Marine Science Institute.




Port Aransas

Perched on the northern tip of Mustang Island, Port Aransas is a coastal community three hours south of San Antonio. Known for its spectacular birding — almost 500 species migrate here each spring — this part of the Coastal Bend offers deep sea fishing, nature boat outings and miles of beaches.



Accommodations
Comfortable hotel, pool. A few blocks to the Gulf beach.
Meals and Lodgings
   Best Western Ocean Villa
  Port Aransas, Texas 4 nights
 Best Western Ocean Villa
Type: Hotel
  Description: Located approximately 2 1/2 blocks from Gulf beach and close to shops and restaurants.
  Contact info: 400 E. Ave. G
Port Aransas, TX 78373 USA
phone: 361-749-3010
web: http://bestwesterntexas.com/hotels/best-western-ocean-villa/
  Room amenities: Standard, well-appointed rooms with 2 queen beds. Guest Room Amenities: •Cable satellite television •In-room movies HBO •Free local calls under 30 minutes •Free long distance access •Data ports •Wake-up calls •AM/FM alarm clock •Hairdryer •Iron, ironing board •Coffee/tea maker •Refrigerator •Microwave •Desk/work area •Electronic key card locks •Cribs available •Rollaway beds available •Air-conditioning •Free wireless internet access available in public areas, and all guest rooms •Complimentary newspaper available at front desk
  Facility amenities: Hotel Amenities: •Outdoor pool •Game room •Safe deposit box •Ice/vending machines •Public areas accessible by physically challenged •Braille coded exit ways •Access ramps •Free parking •Meeting facilities •Fax services •Photocopy services •High-speed Internet access •Exterior corridor •Higher rates may apply for holidays/special events •Free wireless internet available in public areas; Free in-room wireless internet access; Free wireless internet access available in public areas and all guest rooms; All guest rooms are hard wired and offer free wireless internet access; All guest rooms are hard wired for internet access Breakfast. •Continental breakfast • choice of breads • cereal • fruit • eggs • yogurt • juice • and hot items.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: Call hotel directly for price Reservations for additional nights must be made directly with the hotel. We cannot make these reservations for you.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call hotel directly for price Reservations for additional nights must be made directly with the hotel. We cannot make these reservations for you.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4:30 pm orientation in hotel meeting room. You will be staying at Best Western Ocean Villa that night.
  End of Program:
Ends at 10 am. Hotel check out by 11 am. You will be staying at Best Western Ocean Villa the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Liability release is required for all University of Texas programs
  Parking availability:
Free parking at hotel.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Port Aransas, Texas
  Nearest city or town:  Corpus Christi, Texas
  Nearest highway: Hwy 361
  Nearest airport:  Corpus Christi, Texas
  From End of Program
  Location: Port Aransas, Texas
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Corpus Christi

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
American Cab
phone: 361-563-2294
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$75 for up to 5 people
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

45 minutes to 1 hour 

 

Distance:

 

30 miles

   

Be sure to mention both Road Scholar and The University of Texas Marine Science Institute when you make your reservation. AMERICAN CAB (361) 563-2294 AMERICAN YELLOW CAB (361) 288-3338 ARANDA'S TAXI (361) 548-7656 GREEN-N-GO CAB (361) 299-9999 Rental Car customer service counters are located in the baggage claim area. Check website for listings. http://corpuschristiairport.com

 
Driving Directions
  Corpus Christi International Airport To Port Aransas 1. Head east on International Blvd toward Glasson Dr - 0.7 mi 2. Take the 2nd right onto Agnes St - 0.2 mi 3. Take the ramp on the left to TX-358/​I-37/​Padre Island/​Bayfront - 0.1 mi 4. Merge onto TX-44 E - 1.6 mi 5. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for TX-358 E/​NAS-CCAD/​Padre Island and merge onto TX-358 E - 14.1 mi 6. Continue onto John F Kennedy Memorial Causeway (signs for Park Rd 22/​Padre Island) - 5.0 mi 7. Slight right onto S Padre Island Dr/​Park Road 22 - 0.9 mi 8. Turn left onto TX-361 N - 17.5 mi 9. Turn right onto E Avenue G Destination will be on the right - 0.2 mi
  From the North (San Antonio) Take Hwy 37 South to Corpus Christi. Exit Hwy. 358 (South Padre Island Drive and travel south toward Padre Island, road designation changes to Park Road 22. Cross the causeway and take a left at the light on Hwy 361 leading to Mustang Island and Port Aransas. Go to Ave. G in Port Aransas at the light and turn right. The Best Western Ocean Villa will be two blocks down on the right.
Equipment Requirements: Binoculars, preferably 8x42 or 10x50
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival
(Monday, December 3)
   
 Arrive To: Check in hotel by 3 pm
 Afternoon: 4:30 pm. Welcome reception, orientation and introductions. Meet in the hotel dining room.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
 Evening: Discussion of scheduled sites and excursions. Target birds of the week and binocular use.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Ocean Villa
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2:
(Tuesday, December 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Early departure for Fulton Harbor and a fully narrated tour along the shores of the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge aboard the 'Skimmer'. As well as a wide variety of other birds, we will have opportunities to view members of the only natural, wild, migrating flock of Whooping Cranes left in the world. This is a wonderful photo opportunity.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch at Rockport Beach Pavilion.
 Afternoon: Birding tour of the Rockport area along with a stop at the new Bay Education Center. The Center focuses on the local environment and features hands on exhibits along with the breathtaking "Science on the Sphere" exhibit.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
 Evening: DVD introduction to the King Ranch Legacy. Discuss target birds for the King Ranch.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Ocean Villa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3:
(Wednesday, December 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Early departure for Santa Gertrudis Division of the King Ranch, in Kingsville, Texas for a Birding and Wildlife field trip led by King Ranch ornithologist. The historic King Ranch is home to a wide variety of birds and wildlife. Green jays, Golden-fronted Woodpeckers, Kiskadees, plus Santa Gertrudis cattle and javelinas are among the many critters seen on the ranch.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch at the ranch.
 Afternoon: Travel back to Port Aransas and stop at selected birding site, then on to Port Aransas for a guided tour of the history of Port Aransas.
 Dinner: Dinner at local restaurant.
 Evening: Brief discussion of target birds. Lecture by Mariculture research scientist.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Ocean Villa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Research cruise on the R/V Katy
(Thursday, December 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Marine activities plus a tour of the Marine Science Institute Animal Rehabilitation Keep.
 Lunch: Lunch at the university campus cafeteria.
 Afternoon: Research cruise aboard the research vessel R/V Katy in Redfish Bay. Learn marine sampling techniques and gain hands-on experience with marine organisms. Use our onboard wet lab to view microscopic plankton samples. See Bottlenose Dolphins up close and personal. Cruise led by UT staff scientists.
 Dinner: Special Farewell Dinner.
 Evening: Wrap-up, evaluations and passports.
   
Accommodations: Best Western Ocean Villa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Early morning last chance birding.
(Friday, December 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Early morning birding on the beach.
 Lunch: A boxed lunch will be available to take with you at 10 am.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Texas Gulf Coast Stories


Author: C. Herndon Williams


Description: The middle Texas coast, known locally as the Coast Bend, is an area filled with fascinating stories. From as early as the days of de Vaca and La Salle, the Coastal Bend has been a site of early exploration, bloody conflicts, legendary shipwrecks and even a buried treasure or two. However, much of the true history has remained unknown, misunderstood and even hidden. For years, local historian C. Herndon Williams has shared his fascinating discoveries of the area's early stories through his weekly column, "Coastal Bend Chronicle." Now he has selected some of his favorites in Texas Gulf Coast Stories. Join Williams as he explores the days of early settlement and European contact, Karankawa and Tonkawa legends and the Coastal Bend's tallest of tall tales.





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