See a New Sea

The Texas State Aquarium is bringing the sights, sounds and vibrant wildlife of the Western Caribbean to the shores of South Texas. By interpreting the unique features of both the Gulf of Mexico and the Western Caribbean, the official aquarium of the State of Texas will become one of the premier aquariums in the nation. With the creation of the Caribbean Journey, the Texas State Aquarium is positioned to be a national leader in advancing conservation efforts and showcasing marine research, as well as in offering entertaining and educationally-enriched programming.

Caribbean Journey is the expansive final phase of a visionary master plan that will include:

  • Sharks, tropical Caribbean fishes, birds and reptiles
  • Diverse and unique Yucatan Peninsula and Western Caribbean Sea
  • Hands-on exploration and interactive exhibits
  • 4D Theater – the only one in South Texas!
  • Increasing capacity, guest and event services
  • Expanding our conservation and wildlife rehabilitation programs
  • New Center for Excellence in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education
The Aquarium brings greatest value to our community through conservation and by teaching others to appreciate their environment.
     — Peggy Fagan, Trustee, Prichard Family Foundation
Campaign Caribbean:
Our Next Journey

Now, as we approach our 25th anniversary, we are poised to realize the vision of our founders and complete the journey that was started more than 30 years ago. We are embarking on a major campaign to create the Caribbean Journey, the final critical voyage of that ambitious original master plan.

The Aquarium’s new Caribbean Journey will inspire and educate guests through interactive, immersive exhibits. Our goal is simple: to connect people with nature, and inspire in them an appreciation for the wonders of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea

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About the
Sian Ka’an

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Journey from
Jungle to Sea

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Follow
Our Progress

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Projected
Economic Impact
Vision Realized

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Journey to the Sian Ka’an

Immersed in the sights, sounds, and the vibrant flora and fauna of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, guests will be transported to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Preserve, an incredibly diverse region located along the central coast of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Home to some of the longest underground rivers in the world and the second largest barrier reef on earth, this unique treasure presents incredible opportunities to connect visitors from all over Texas and the U.S. to this wondrous region.

 

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Journey from Jungle to Sea

Guests begin their journey in the tropical forest and traverse through immersive habitats, exploring freshwater wetlands, caves, limestone sinkholes, coastal lagoons, Mayan ruins, offshore coral reefs and the open Caribbean Sea beyond.

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Follow Our Progress

Texas State Aquarium Breaks Ground on Caribbean Journey Expansion

Caribbean Journey GroundbreakingCORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – Texas State Aquarium staff and Board were joined today by elected officials and area leaders to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony of its $50 million Caribbean Journey addition – the largest expansion in the Aquarium’s 24-year history. Bringing the sights, sounds, and vibrant wildlife of the Western Caribbean to the shores of Corpus Christi, the  Caribbean Journey addition will complete the final two phases of the Aquarium’s original master plan and will transform the Texas State Aquarium from a leading regional aquarium to one of the one of the top aquariums in the nation. At four stories and 65,000 square feet, the new Caribbean Journey expansion will be significantly larger than the original Gulf of Mexico exhibit building.

“This is truly a historic milestone for the Aquarium,” said Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid.  “Over 25 years ago, our founders had a vision to take our guests on a journey from the Gulf of Mexico into the Caribbean Sea.  Today, we begin construction on the final phase of the original master plan, and once open in 2017, this expansion will complete that vision.  We will have one of the nations’ great Aquariums right here in Corpus Christi.”

A public groundbreaking ceremony was held today on the Aquarium’s lawn, with speakers including State Representative Abel Herrero, Corpus Christi Mayor Nelda Martinez, Aquarium Board Chair Deneece Squires, and Aquarium President and CEO Tom Schmid.

In late 2012, the Texas State Aquarium launched the leadership phase of Campaign Caribbean, a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for construction of the Caribbean Journey building. Since then, over $27 million has been raised towards the expansion project.


Whataburger to Sponsor First 4D Theater in Texas’s Coastal Bend at the Texas State Aquarium

Million dollar contribution from Whataburger aids fundraising effort for Aquarium’s Caribbean Journey expansion

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Texas State Aquarium is excited to announce another significant gift for Campaign Caribbean, the Aquarium’s capital campaign which will fund the largest expansion in its 24-year history. Today, longtime partner Whataburger announced a generous $1 million gift to Campaign Caribbean. The gift is earmarked for the naming of a 4D theater in the Caribbean Journey experience – the first theater of its kind south of San Antonio.

“Whataburger and the Dobson Family are proud to support the construction of the 4D theater which will be named after our mother and the woman who grew Whataburger into the company it is today, Grace Dobson. She had a deep personal commitment to the Corpus Christi community and incredible passion for this place,” said Whataburger Chairman and TSA Board Member Tom Dobson.  “I know she would be very proud.”

Texas State Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid commented, “Whataburger and the Dobson family have been steadfast Aquarium supporters and partners for many years. Thanks to their generous continuing support, we are going to be able to bring the Coastal Bend area its first 4D theater.  4D will bring guests the richest theater experience possible – the action spills out of the screen over the audience with thrill-enhancing sensory special effects—from water mist and smoke clouds to tremors beneath the feet.”

The Texas State Aquarium’s Whataburger 4D Theater will be developed by SimEx-Iwerks, which specializes in designing, building and operating 4-D Experiences® that feature blockbuster content licensed from the world’s major studios. SimEx-Iwerks is an expert in integrating the highest quality 3-D high definition projection with in-seat and in-theater effects to create fully immersive experiences. Their 4-D theaters include a variety of special effects, including bubbles, snow, scent, FX lighting, water mist, seat vibrations, and wind.

The $50 million Caribbean Journey addition will introduce Aquarium guests to the sights, sounds, and vibrant wildlife of the Western Caribbean.  Its construction will complete the final two phases of the Aquarium’s original master plan and will transform the Texas State Aquarium from a leading regional aquarium to one of the top aquariums in the nation.

In late 2012, the Texas State Aquarium launched the leadership phase of Campaign Caribbean, a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for construction of the Caribbean Journey wing. At 65,000 square feet, the new Caribbean Journey wing will be significantly larger than the original Gulf of Mexico exhibit building.  “The new wing will be 50 percent larger, however, in terms of indoor exhibit space. It will more than double what we currently have,” said Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid.  “This is going to be a multi-level, highly immersive, state-of-the-art experience.”

About Whataburger: 

Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Dobson gave his restaurant a name he hoped to hear customers say every time they took a bite of his made-to-order burgers:  “What a burger!” Within the first week, people lined up around the block for his 25 cent, 100-percent beef burgers served on five-inch buns. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, with more than 760 locations in 10 states with sales of more than $1 billion annually. Visit www.whataburger.com for more information on the company or become a fan on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/whataburger.


Texas State Aquarium and Valero Make Major Campaign Caribbean Announcement 

Half-million dollar contribution from Valero aids fundraising effort for Aquarium’s Caribbean Journey expansion

September 4, 2014

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Texas State Aquarium is excited to announce another significant gift for Campaign Caribbean, the Aquarium’s capital campaign which will fund the largest expansion in its 24-year history. Today, continued partner Valero announced a generous $500,000 gift to Campaign Caribbean, which surpassed the crucial midway point of achieving its $50 million goal earlier this year and has a groundbreaking scheduled for late this year.

The major gift will sponsor the new entryway into the Caribbean Journey experience, introducing guests to the sights, sounds, and vibrant wildlife of the Western Caribbean. “For more than three decades, Valero has been committed to the Coastal Bend Region through the jobs we create and the contributions we invest in our community,” said Dennis Payne, Vice President and General Manager, Valero Corpus Christi Refineries. “Today’s gift for the Texas State Aquarium is another demonstration of our commitment to Corpus Christi, especially causes that focus on education and environmental sustainability. It’s Valero’s hope that this new entryway will usher in a wave of excitement for tourists, residents, and businesses across the state.”

Texas State Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid commented, “Since the opening of the Aquarium almost 25 years ago, Valero has been a great partner and great patron. Valero has been consistently generous and helped us advance our mission. This latest investment affirms their commitment to environmental education, wildlife conservation, and economic development in this community, and throughout Texas.”

The $50 million Caribbean Journey addition – which completes the final two phases of the Aquarium’s original master plan – will transform the Texas State Aquarium from a leading regional aquarium to one of the top aquariums in the nation.

In late 2012, the Texas State Aquarium launched the leadership phase of Campaign Caribbean, a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for construction of the Caribbean Journey wing. At 65,000 square feet, the new Caribbean Journey wing will be significantly larger than the original Gulf of Mexico exhibit building.  “The new wing will be 50 percent larger, however, in terms of indoor exhibit space. It will more than double what we currently have,” said Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid.  “This is going to be a multi-level, highly immersive, state-of-the-art experience.”


Texas State Aquarium Announces Monumental Expansion

H-E-B contribution of $3 million leads way in effort for Caribbean Journey to More Than Double Size of Aquarium

June 25, 2014 

CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – The Texas State Aquarium is excited to announce today the largest expansion in its 24 year history. Bringing the sights, sounds, and vibrant wildlife of the Western Caribbean to the shores of Corpus Christi, this $50,000,000 Caribbean Journey addition – which completes the final two phases of the Aquarium’s original master plan – will transform the Texas State Aquarium from a leading regional aquarium to one of the top aquariums in the nation.

In late 2012, the Texas State Aquarium launched the leadership phase of Campaign Caribbean, a capital campaign to raise the necessary funds for construction of the Caribbean Journey wing. Today, continued partner H-E-B announced a lead gift of $3 million to Campaign Caribbean, which has now reached the crucial midway point of the $50 million goal, enabling the Aquarium to commission final construction documents and move forward with groundbreaking scheduled for late this year. Rob Hall, Group Vice President of H-E-B Gulf Coast Region stated, “The Texas State Aquarium is one of the most significant educational resources in our state. H-E-B is pleased to continue our partnership with the aquarium because we believe this investment represents our passion for education and our commitment to the communities we serve.”

At 65,000 square feet, the new Caribbean Journey wing will be significantly larger than the original Gulf of Mexico exhibit building. “The new wing will be 50% larger, however, in terms of indoor exhibit space, it will more than double what we currently have,” said Aquarium President & CEO Tom Schmid. “This is going to be a multi-level, highly immersive, state-of-the-art experience.”

Caribbean Journey
Fast Facts

  • 65,000 square feet – size of new building
  • 400,000 gallons – volume of Caribbean shark habitat
  • 65’ long – length of shark display window
  • 100 seats – capacity of the new 4-D theater, the only venue of  its kind in South Texas
Projected Annual Economic Impact
  • Increase the overall economic impact to $69 million
  • Support 887 area jobs and provide salaries of $20 million
  • Produce more than $10 million in hotel room sales
  • Generate more than $5 million for local taxing districts
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Contact Info

Rocky Kettering, Ed.D., CFRE

361-881-1255

rkettering@txstateaq.org

2710 North Shoreline Blvd.
Corpus Christi, TX 78402