Birding, Nature & Alligator Sanctuary


1999- World Birding Center was established through Texas Parks and Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife and 9 valley communities, including South Padre Island

2000-South Padre Island Economic Development Corporation took on the Birding Center as one of their projects

2001- Design work and planning the facility began with Richter Architects out of Corpus Christi

2003-Major land acquisition changed the dynamic of the project

2004-Hired Chase Studio to design Exhibits

2005-Election to allow the EDC to spend funds on the facility was passed by SPI voters

2005- Formed 501c3 , began seeking grants and donations

2006-Hired Terry Ray Construction for the Construction Manager at Risk

2006-Received $1,000,000 special appropriation from Texas Parks and Wildlife (Senator Lucio)

2007-Sales Tax Revenue Bonds approved by the EDC board and the Board of Aldermen

Groundbreaking August 8, 2007

Grand Opening September 2009

The South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public about the birds of South Padre Island and its environs: the flora, fauna and natural environment of South Padre Island, the Laguna Madre Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, with an emphasis on conservation and environmental awareness.

The South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center is located on the north end of the Island, just south of the South Padre Island Convention Centre, at 6801 Padre Blvd. The Center offers a variety of programs and tours for the novice to the more advanced naturalist; for the individual to the family; for school field trips to more individualized group requests.

The Project

The facility includes a 10,000 square foot Visitor’s Center with exhibits that take visitors on an educational voyage from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, through the dunes on our beautiful beaches and into the Laguna Madre Bay.  These exhibits teach you about the island ecology; the interactions between the location, the plants, and the animals that all intertwine into what is South Padre Island.  The Nature Center also features a five (5) story observation tower to view the wetland landscapes and wildlife,  nearly a mile of boardwalks, and five (5) bird blinds that run along and through the wetlands.

The Birding Center gift shop has great souvenirs and many beautiful treasures for sale.

Recently, the Birding Center teamed up with Gator Rescue of Beaumont, and established an alligator sanctuary at the Center.

South Padre Island is a haven for birds and birders, as well as all nature enthusiasts.  The impressive diversity of birds during a migration “fall out” is a spectacular viewing experience and the boardwalks at the Birding Center are the place to be during both the spring and fall phenomenon. 

The Impact

Birding is the most dynamic growth sector within the outdoor recreation market and the Birding and Nature Center provides both experienced and novice birders an exceptional facility with state-of-the-art exhibits and interpretive materials.  The Center provides scientific educational opportunities to Valley schools, locals and visiting families, allowing them to learn about our area.  Mostly, the SPI Birding and Nature Center hopes to teach everyone what a healthy and thriving ecosystem is, how important it is to our existence, and how to protect and preserve our nature. 

A Sales Tax Revenue Bond in the amount of $5.2 million was used for the construction of the facility.  Grants were received totaling $1.25 million and over $200K was received from the community donors. 

Grand Opening took place on September 26, 2009. 

For more information visit the website or their Facebook page South Padre Island Birding Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary.