Mission, being full of history, is also a hotspot for birding and butterfly enthusiasts. Mission also has a hiking and biking trail, a state park, and other sites to suit just about any interest. Having a little bit of everything in Mission, makes it a great place to visit any time of year.
Bentsen State Park
Bentsen State Park is part of the Rio Grande Valley’s World Birding Center park system. The park features trails, boardwalks, and an observation tower. It serves as the headquarters for the World Birding Center. The park currently sits on about 600 acres but has another 700 acres that is not open to the public.
The habitat attracts most of the Valley specialties and serves as a gateway for many migrating birds. A butterfly garden is also on the property. Species spotted at the park include Green Jay, Altamira Orioles, White-tipped Doves and the Plain Chachalaca. Butterflies sited include the Red-bordered Metalmark, Common Mestra, Soldier, Empress Leilia and Tawny Emperor.
National Butterfly Center
The National Butterfly Center provides extensive outdoor gardens of native nectar plants and specific caterpillar host plants as well as natural habitats to attract large numbers of butterflies and to conserve rare native butterflies. The center has had several sightings of butterflies never seen before in the United States. The proximity to the Rio Grande River and Mexico gives the center an opportunity for species crossover. More than 300 species of butterflies have been found in the Rio Grande Valley, and over 200 have been seen at the Center.
The Center is located at 3333 Butterfly Park Drive.
Mission Hike and Bike Trail
The Hike and Bike Trail includes a 5-mile paved trail that runs from the Mission Hike and Bike Park to the World Birding Center. It also includes a network of six miles of single-track that is scattered throughout the park. Signs on the trails note the difficulty. The park is located on Conway Avenue, south of the Expressway.
For more information about sites to see and the City of Mission, visit https://missiontexas.us/life-in-mission/.