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GULF COAST

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It’s a Shore Thing in... By: Edward R. Leos

Corpus Christi

very city has its own individual charE acteristics that make it stand out from

every other city out there. New York has the Empire State Building. Los Angeles has the Hollywood sign. Chicago is known for the brisk winds that blow in off Lake Michigan and Austin touts itself as the “Live Music Capital of Texas.” So what is it that makes Corpus Christi so special? What can you find here that you can’t find anywhere else, or, at least, that you can’t find in most other cities you visit? What’s in a Name? You can start with the name, for one. You’ll find only one city on the entire planet that goes by the name Corpus Christi, which is Latin for “Body of Christ.” The name comes from the bay of the same name, which is said to have been discovered by Alonzo Álvarez de Piñeda on the Roman Catholic feast day of Corpus Christi. Aquatics and more... The Texas State Aquarium is another uniquely Corpus Christi experience. The official aquarium of Texas is one of the top 10 aquariums in the nation and specializes in chronicling the biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas State Aquarium is dedicated to the study of flora and fauna of the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent coastline. It features a 132,000-gallon aquarium with a reproduction of an offshore oil rig, a smaller, more colorful aquarium with a reproduction of a coral reef and numerous other tanks and exhibits featuring sea turtles, Texas river otters and birds of prey. Corpus Christi Beach is also home to another popular Texas tourist attraction. The USS Lexington, a World War II-era decommissioned aircraft carrier, is moored just off the beach a short walk north of the aquari-

um. A concrete ramp leads visitors up to the hangar deck, where they begin their tour of one of the most decorated aircraft carriers in U.S. Navy history. Several air-conditioned, self-guided tours lead visitors through the captain’s quarters, admiral’s quarters, navigation and flag bridge, sick bay and engine room. A large-screen movie theatre, gift shop, food court and flight simulator add to the enjoyment. But the main draw is the flight deck, where vintage aircraft from the World War II era and onward stand on static display.

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