The Rio Grande Valley is one of the nation’s top destinations for those who enjoy watching, learning and photographing flora and fauna.
The region is the home of the World Birding Center, a turtle center and a bird festival that attracts hundreds of people from all over the United States. People even come from as far as England and Australia to the festival. The Valley also has several state and national wildlife parks and refuges.
Its unique vegetation and wildlife also puts the RGV in a special place with the rest of the country. Fishing and hunting is another major tourist attraction.
There will soon be an added attraction.
The South Texas Ecotourism Center is under construction on a 10-acre site on state Highway 100 near Laguna Vista. The new center will feature boardwalks, walking trails, blinds, interpretive exhibits, and play and picnic areas. It is expected to be completed in early 2021.
The $11-million project is the result of a joint effort from several organizations from both the public and private sectors. Cameron County is putting in funds from its hotel-motel occupancy and from vehicle rentals. The county also secured a $700,000 federal grant for the project.
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department also contributed $1.5 million for the center.
The ecotourism center will sit north of the Bahia Grande where TPWD is planning to build another facility for outdoor enthusiasts. Cameron County Commissioner David Garza said the project will be a welcome addition to a region that is already thriving with eco-tourism. It will also complement other venues in the county.
South Padre Island, for example, already has two county parks, a bird center and alligator sanctuary and a turtle center.