Winter Texan TIMES Serving Winter Texans FromMission To South Padre Island Since 1987 Published By: 2023-2024 Edition
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Page 3 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide Vol. 26, No. 1 2023-2024 Edition Published by Nexus Publishing, LLC 1217 N. Conway Mission, Texas 78572 (956) 580-7800 www.wintertexantimes.com © Copyright 2023 by Nexus Publishing, LLC. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the express consent of the publisher. All rights reserved. WELCOME ABOUT THE COVER Top Photo: The La Lomita Chapel, the namesake for the present city of Mission, offers an important glimpse into the history of Mission and South Texas. Constructed from adobe, the chapel was built in 1865 by Rene Guyard, a French merchant and devout Roman Catholic, on the La Lomita Ranch he purchased in 1845. It continues as a religious shrine and popular site for historians. For more information about the La Lomita, read their listing on page 10. (Photo by Carina A. Brunson) Bottom Photos: Gladys Porter Zoo is one of the top zoos in the country. The zoo combines education and conservation with their displays, animals, and breeding programs. The zoo is home to over 500 species of plants and animals. This camel was born in 2021 at the zoo. (Photo courtesy of Gladys Porter Zoo) The Mission Chamber holds a Winter Texan Fiesta every year in March to show their appreciation to the Winter Texans that visit the Valley each year. The event features culture, food, a market, and entertainment. (Photo by Carina A. Brunson) The Valley has many parks to enjoy birding. This Kiskadee was spotted at the Hidalgo Pumphouse, one of the World Birding Centers and a historic landmark from 1909. (Photo by Herb Moering) Whether you prefer nature and the outdoors, historical sites, parks, fishing, boating, or parasailing over the surf at South Padre Island, the Rio Grande Valley has it all. Visitors can enjoy all the Valley has to offer year-round due to the Valley’s mild winter weather. Over 100,000 Winter Texans stay for the winter season to enjoy our warm, subtropical climate with an average temperature of 65-70 degrees. Winter Texans are not the only ones who have discovered the Rio Grande Valley. Birding, butterfly, and nature enthusiasts from all parts of the country come to the Valley every year, attracted by the 545 species of birds and 330 butterfly species that are either native to the area or that migrate through the Valley each year. Because of its neo-tropical climate, the Rio Grande Valley is home to many tropical birds that can be seen nowhere else in the United States. It is also a major bird migration corridor with two major flyways converging here. The Rio Grande Valley is also a place full of history. From battle sites to the only lighthouse on the gulf shores, to museums with artifacts, to chapels, historic homes, and old stores. Every Valley city has a story to tell. Whether you are a Winter Texan, a family with young children, or just someone that enjoys the outdoors, history and culture, the Rio Grande Valley has something to offer everyone. Inside you will find beautiful maps that pinpoint featured locations throughout the Valley. We have broken up the area into eight regions, so whatever area you are visiting, you have a map to see what is close to you. With all there is to see and do in the Rio Grande Valley, we hope you enjoy your stay! Inside this guide Points of Interest............................................. 4 RGV Regional Map & Index...................27-30 Golfers’Paradise........................................... 31 World Class Birding & Nature Sites. ......49-52 Valley Birding & Nature Events................... 53 Valley Chamber Offices................................ 54 To The Rio Grande Valley Winter Texan TIMES Serving Winter Texans FromMission To South Padre Island Since 1987 Published By: 2023-2024 Edition
Page 4 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 Fort Treviño-San Ygnacio For a look into Spanish Colonialism on the north side of the Rio Grande, drive out to San Ignacio and look at Fort Treviño, located at the corner of Uribe St. and Treviño St., from the outside. Built in 1830 this former residence of Jesus Treviño is typical of the homes built during the 1750s to early 1800s. The fort has been called one of the outstanding examples of Spanish heritage and architecture in the Rio Grande Valley. San Ygnacio is the only place left that has this type of Spanish colonial dwellings. Others that existed in the area were destroyed when Falcon Dam and Lake were built. Over 100 buildings in San Ygnacio are listed on the National Register as part of a National Historic District featuring Spanish Colonial Homes. The home is built with sandstone walls, and features troneras, small openings in the walls, where settlers fighting Indians could stick their guns through the walls and shoot without fear of being hit by a roving Indian. There is a stone sundial at the entrance to the fort. The courtyard has a well and room for a horse and carriage, a few goats, and chickens. Settlers under siege could set up in the fort for long periods of time without fear the Indians could storm the place. C M Y CM MY CY CMY K
Page 5 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 N Garza St N Corpus St Lee Cir E 3rd St 1 2 3 4 8 5 7 13 6 LOCATIONS Fort Trevino-San Ygnacio Zapata County Chamber of Commerce See Chamber O ces, p. 54 Falcon Lake & Falcon State Park Falcon Dam City of Roma See Chamber O ces, p. 54 Roma Blus See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 Roma National Historic Landmark District Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Rio Grande City Department of Tourism See Chamber O ces, p. 54 La Borde House Fort Ringgold Robert E. Lee Museum Los Ebanos Ferry Zapata Sullivan City Falcon Village Roma 9 10 12 11 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Rio Grande City
Page 6 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 The fort is open for viewing the first Sunday of every month from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more info visit www.riverpierce.org or call (956) 7655784. Falcon Lake & Falcon State Park See Nature Sites on page 49-52. The park is located on the shores of Falcon Lake at 146 Park Rd. 46, Falcon Heights and FM 2098, off of Hwy 83. It is open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., 365 days a year. For information call the park office at (956) 848-5327. Falcon Dam The need for water and electrical power for the growing demands of the Rio Grande Valley and Texas border resulted in a Water Treaty of 1944 with Mexico to build three dams on the Rio Grande River. Construction of the $35 million Falcon Dam began in 1950 and was completed in 1954. The dam and reservoir covered 87,000 acres of land. The dam was dedicated in 1953 by President Dwight Eisenhower, making the first presidential visit to the Rio Grande Valley in history. Falcon Dam is located about 14 miles northwest of Roma on FM 2098. Roma National Historic Landmark District The 19th-century town of Roma, located in Western Starr County, was once an important shipping point for steamboats along the Rio Grande. The site was first settled in 1765 and was named “Roma” in 1848 after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Because of its proximity to the river, Roma prospered during the years between the Mexican War and Reconstruction. The Roma National Historic Landmark District represents an outstanding example of the building techniques of the Lower Rio Grande. These techniques, derived from the 18th-century traditions of northern Mexico, are best exemplified by the finely detailed brick commercial and residential buildings designed and constructed by Heinrich Portscheller. Portscheller, a German immigrant, built in both Texas and Mexico and helped influence the distinctive architectural style of the Lower Rio Grande. The district includes an observation deck overlooking the Rio Grande and Mexico. A series of restored buildings on the plaza serve as a visitor’s center and part of the World Birding Center network. Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto In the early days of the 20th century, life was especially hard in the Rio Grande City area. Like many frontier towns, crime was rampant and diseases like leprosy and tuberculosis were rampant. The French Oblate Cavalry of Christ, circuit-riding priests, rode into the area to establish churches and give people hope for a better life. One of these priests was Father Gustave Gollenbach, who felt the creation of a grotto like Our Lady of Lourdes grotto in France would provide inspiration to the people. The grotto is a replica of the original shrine in France where the peasant girl had a vision of Our Lady of Lourdes. Construction was a community effort with help coming from a local Baptist minister. The shrine is located at 305 N. Britton near the courthouse. It is open daily for public view. La Borde House Founded in 1899 and renovated in 1979, La Borde House was first a trading post where Indians and fur trappers brought their wares. It was located in Rio Grande City because it was the head of navigation for the Rio Grande River. Due to the difficult terrain around Rio Grande City, and the fact that traveling by ox cart was the only other method of travel to get to the city, almost all trade was done by shipping wares by
Page 7 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 steamboat up and down the river. In 1917, the trading post was converted into an elegant hotel. Eventually, the hotel fell into disrepair but a local philanthropist, Larry Sheerin, purchased the hotel and began restoration in 1979. When the restoration was finished, the eight hotel rooms restored were authentic examples of turn-of-the century elegance furnished with authentic period antiques. The property is now owned and operated by the Starr County Historical Foundation. They recently completed a renovation project that returned this magnificent site to its original splendor. The hotel is listed in the national registry of historic buildings. La Borde House is located at 601 E. Main St. in Rio Grande City. For more information call (956) 487-5101 or visit www.labordehouse.com. Fort Ringgold Established in 1848 as a cavalry fort, today most of the old fort is part of the Rio Grande City School District. Several of the old buildings such as the hospital, Officer Quarters, and barracks have been retained along with the parade grounds. The most prominent of its buildings is the old commander’s house where Colonel Robert E. Lee stayed when visiting the fort on several occasions before the days of the Civil War. The renovated building is now a museum containing a collection of memorabilia, artifacts, and historical data. For more information on Fort Ringgold and the Robert E. Lee Museum, visit the Revive Fort Ringgold page on Facebook. Hop on Bessie III, a trolley bus named after a famed commercial riverboat, and explore the back streets, hidden places, and points of interest in Historic Downtown Rio Grande City with a stop at the historic fort. Contact Rio Grande City Main Street at (956) 488-0047 for tours and information. Robert E. Lee Museum Located on the grounds of the old Fort Ringgold, now the headquarters for the Rio Grande City Independent School District, the Robert E. Lee Museum is in an old house on the right side of the complex. Lee stayed there while assigned to the fort, sent there to preside over a court martial in 1856. He returned in 1860 when the Mexican bandit, Juan Cortina, was creating havoc along the border. One exhibit describes the activities of Colonel Robert E. Lee during the time he served at Fort Ringgold. Another display honors Major Samuel Ringgold, the first American officer to die in the U.S. war with Mexico in 1846. The fort is named in his honor. A third display honors the Buffalo soldier who served at the fort. Visitors are welcome to drive by and look at the house, but the museum is open by appointment only. Call the Rio Grande City ISD to make arrangements at (956) 716-6700. Visiting is free but donations are encouraged. Los Ebanos Ferry The Los Ebanos Ferry was first used in the 1740s by Spanish explorers and colonists under Jose de Escandon. This ancient ford was also used by Mexican war troops in 1846, by Texas Rangers chasing cattle rustlers and by smugglers in many eras, especially during the American Prohibition of the 1920s and 1930s. Named after the abundance of ebony trees that flourish around the site, the ferry is the only hand-pulled ferry across the US/Mexico Border. It can transport three cars and several pedestrians across the Rio Grande. You can even help them pull! Located 14 miles west of Mission on Expressway 83, then 3 miles south of the expressway on FM 886 in Los Ebanos. The ferry operates 7 days a week, weather permitting. For more information call (956) 485-1084.
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Page 9 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 11 LOCATIONS La Joya ISD Performing Arts Center Howling Trails Golf Club See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 Chihuahua Woods Preserve See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 Palmview Chamber of Commerce See Chamber Oces, p. 54 Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 El Niño Golf Course See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 National Butterfly Center See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery Riverside Dreamer River Cruises La Lomita Chapel Anzalduas Park See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce See Chamber Offices, p. 54 Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church Tom Landry Mural Mission Historical Museum Shary Municipal Golf Course See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 Greater Alton Chamber of Commerce See Chamber Oces, p. 54 Mission’s Butterfly Statues (UVAL) Historic Bryan House Palmview 6 9 5 10 7 19 La Joya Bryan Rd N Coyote Blvd Bus 1 2 Mile Line Rd Soloman Chapa St 2 3 8 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 N Conway Ave N Mayberry Rd E 9th St E 12th St 13 16 12 14 15 18 17 Bentsen Palm Dr Inspiration Rd Palmhurst Mission Shary Rd
Page 10 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 La Joya ISD Performing Arts Center La Joya ISD’s Alejandro “Alex” H. Saenz Performing Arts Center is a 1,400-seat auditorium hosting student performances throughout the academic school year. Audience members will be delighted by talented theatre, mariachi, folklórico, band, orchestra, classical guitar, choir, dance, and conjunto performing groups. Patrons can expect high quality performances by student talent, consistently earning top awards in their respective competitions. For more information about Performing Arts Center events call (956) 323-2895. Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery The Rio Grande Valley State Veteran Cemetery in Mission is a special resting place close to home, where friends, family, and fellow Texans can honor Texas Veterans. The sacrifices laid upon the altar of freedom will never be diminished or forgotten. This 75-acre cemetery is located at 2520 S. Inspiration Rd. and is open seven days a week, with visiting hours from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Office hours are Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 956-5837227 or visit vlb.texas.gov/cemeteries/. Riverside Dreamer River Cruises Come get a close-up view of the Rio Grande River and the habitat that surrounds it. Take a Riverside Dreamer River Cruise and view the sights and birds that live along the river in Mexico and the U.S. The Riverside Dreamer is a 55-foot U.S. Coast Guard-certified sightseeing pontoon boat with covered, cushioned seating for 49 people. It offers one-hour or two-hour cruises departing from the Riverside Club, located at 214 E. Chimney Rd. in Mission. Call (956) 581-4477 or (956) 581-1033 for reservations. Reservations suggested but not required. Minimum requirements for departure are one hour 15 passengers, and two hour 25 passengers. Private or group cruises for 25 or more are available upon request. For more information visit the website at www.ontheriver. net. La Lomita Chapel La Lomita Chapel (La Lomita means “little hill” in Spanish), the namesake for the present city of Mission, offers an important glimpse into the history of Mission and South Texas. Constructed from adobe, the chapel was built in 1865 by Rene Guyard, a French merchant and devout Roman Catholic, on the Lomita Ranch he purchased in 1845. It continues as a religious shrine and popular site for historians. The small chapel, located three miles south of Expressway 83 on FM 1016, is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. There is no admission fee. For more information call (956) 580-8650. Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church Established in 1899 as the first mission of the historic La Lomita Church by circuit-riding Oblate priests, the church was first known as Our Lady of Mission. The church was destroyed in a fire in 1925. The statue of the Blessed Virgin was the only thing rescued from the incident. When the current Church was constructed in 1927, the name was changed to Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. In 2012-13 the 1927 Church was renovated and expanded to accommodate the growing congregation while maintaining the same sanctuary as well as interior and exterior style. The
Page 11 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 Church can now seat up to 1,000. The church’s dome was also replaced with a new fiberglass dome replicating the original. The church is currently listed by the Institute of Texas Cultures as having one of the Rio Grande Valley’s most outstanding architectural designs. The church was constructed in a revival architecture style featuring a four-story bell tower, capped by a domed belfry, mission parapets, arched windows, and decorative limestone detailing. Well known for their friendly parishioners, “animals around the manger”, warm welcome and down-home hospitality, the church is located at Magna (6th) St. (was named after Father Roy’s dog and loyal partner who was very much beloved and instrumental in a resurgence of enthusiasm, warmth, joy, and hospitality in the years leading up to the restoration and expanding of the Church) and Dunlap in Mission. For more information, call (956) 585-2623. Tom Landry Mural This mural honors Mission native and legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Landry. Born and raised in Mission, Tom Landry led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl titles. The mural depicts and spans his life and career. His handprints and footprints are also preserved in the sidewalk below. To honor Tom Landry’s legacy in 1993, Mission residents Bill and Gen Long commissioned Manuel Hinojosa to create the Tom Landry Mural. The mural measures 95x18 feet and was dedicated on September 18, 1995 by legendary Coach Tom Landry himself. The Mural is located on the corner of N. Conway and Tom Landry Ave. (Business 83) in downtown Mission. Mission Historical Museum Located in two adjacent buildings at 900 Doherty Ave. and 200 E. Tom Landry St. in downtown Mission, the Mission Historical Museum offers something for history lovers of all ages. The former John H. Shary office building (900 Doherty) is a recorded Texas Historical Landmark. The two-story, Spanish-style Shary building originally cost $40,000 and was built in 1938. The building has been preserved to retain its historical significance, with the same windows, doors, etc. and features exhibits relating to the development of Mission interpreted as a timeline. The second building, the Old Post Office (200 E. Tom Landry), is temporarily closed due to construction. The museum also hosts several programs for all ages and cultural events for the community to enjoy. Events and programs include lectures, the Mission Quilt Show, winter tours, Day of the Dead Festival and more! Visit the website www. missionmuseum.org, call (956) 580-8646, or find them on Facebook for more information. Events and programs are subject to change/ cancellation. Mission’s Butterfly Statues If you drive around the City of Mission you might notice something a little special. Every once in a while, you might just see a beautiful butterfly sculpture. Being home to the National Butterfly Center, it just seemed fitting for there to be butterflies of giant size around town to celebrate. These butterflies represent some of the 200 or more species that can be found in the area. What started as a small project in 2016 by then president of the Upper Valley Art League has now grown to over 40 sculptures throughout the City of Mission.
Page 12 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 If you drive around downtown Mission, you are sure to see more than a handful of the sculptures. The base of the sculpture is made of fiberglass with intricate details of a branch and leaf. The body of the Queen Monarch is also fiberglass, from which a chrysalis dangles underneath, suspended by a steel cable. The antennae are made of flexible wire to reduce breakage. Sculptures are paid for with donations from the businesses where they are located. Some locations include the Upper Valley Art League, Speer Memorial Library, Mission City Hall, and Lions Park. All sculptures include a leaf that gives just enough room to sit on for a picture. Although the Monarch is the most popular, you will also find sculptures of a Two Barrel Slasher, Malachite, Zebra Heliconian, Swallowtail, Tawny Emperor, and others. And they are not always painted the traditional butterfly colors. There is even one painted Dallas Cowboys colors at Tom Landry and Miller. Historic Bryan House The historic William Jennings Bryan House was built in 1909 as a winter farm home between Bryan’s three runs for presidency and becoming Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson. The Bryan House was recently purchased and restored by Frank and Ariel King. It now hosts boutique weddings, special events, community events, a seasonal farmer’s market, catered ladies’ luncheons, meetings, retreats, historic heritage tours, photography shoots, bird and butterfly watching, and it is also a bed & breakfast. People wanting to tour the house should call Ariel King at (956) 330-7497. The house is listed on Facebook at the William Jennings Bryan House - The Bryan House, the website is www. thebryanhouse.com, and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Page 14 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 C M Y CM MY CY CMY K Quinta Mazatlan-WinterTexanTimes 5x8.pdf 1 4/28/22 8:33 PM
Page 15 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 13 12 LOCATIONS McAllen Nature Center See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 McAllen Convention Center McAllen Performing Arts Center Veterans War Memorial of Texas Champion Lakes Golf Course See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 International Museum of Art & Science McAllen Heritage Center McAllen Chamber of Commerce and McAllen Convention & Visitors Bureau See Chamber Oces, p. 54 Payne Arena Old Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum World’s Largest Killer Bee Quinta Mazatlan See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 Statue of Father Hidalgo N 10th St S 29th St S 10th St N 23rd St N Bicentennial Blvd S Ware Rd Jackson Rd S 2nd St Erie Ave 69C 10 11 9 6 1 7 5 8 W Nolana Ave E Coma Ave Bus 2 4 Houston Ave Galveston Ave W 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 3 McAllen Hidalgo
Page 16 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 McAllen Convention Center Located near the intersection of Expressway 83 and Ware Rd., the McAllen Convention Center hosts many events during the year including symphony presentations, sporting events, trade shows, and special events. Opened in 2007, the center offers 174,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space. Call (956) 681-3800 for information or go online to www.experiencemcallen.com. McAllen Performing Arts Center Since opening day, the $44.9 million, 1,828seat, 93,000-square-foot McAllen Performing Arts Center has been an incredible venue to host the Jersey Boys, Annie, Elf, America, Mamma Mia, Moscow Ballet Nutcracker, Valley Symphony Orchestra, and many other exciting shows, bringing the best of the arts to the city of McAllen. The venue offers unobstructed views and perfect sound with a magical house experience and stage presentation. Commercial development exploded in what is now referred to as the Convention Center District, with five signature hotels, major restaurants chains, dozens of retail shops that entice the entire family, and a park featuring a pond that often sees paddle boats and outdoor community events taking place. For information about upcoming shows, go to www.experiencemcallen.com or call the box office at (956) 681-3800. The McAllen PAC is located at 801 Convention Center Blvd. Veterans War Memorial of Texas The Veterans War Memorial of Texas honors the 1.4 million American military men and women killed in all the wars and conflicts of the U.S.A. This beautiful grass covered and landscaped five-acre Rio Grande Valley endeavor is located at the east side of the McAllen Convention Center, 29th St. and Col. Plummer Dr. The “American Spire of Honor” is a black granite five-sided 105’ majestic spire with a silver dome. It rises from the center of the circular configured memorial site. Vertical and circular landscaped pathways with multiple-colored pavers are found throughout the Memorial. In the outer pathway there are 113 flagpoles each with a fluttering U.S. flag, they encircle the Memorial. The flagpoles stand as symbolic guardians of the American honored heroes and as sentinels far into the distant future. There are many pathways in the interior. All are lined with historical stories engraved on granite walls and plaques. Visitors may obtain a 4” X 8” colored paver with their family or veterans names for $25.00. One of the many histories found in the Memorial, “The Plaza of Liberty”, depicts the beginning of the struggle of the American people to be free. The Daughters of the American Revolution and its 180,000 members brings life to that era with 12 walls of history stories, 6 bronze plaques of war scenes, bronze statues of George and Martha Washington and Patrick Henry with his pre-war speech… “Give me Liberty or Give me Death!!” with all supported by their historical stories. This is a beautiful site and a photographic treasure. A visit to the Memorial is truly an outing for families, school children, public and foreign visitors. All stories are written for easy understanding. When taken together the stories and supporting material allow a better understanding of the struggles and sacrifices of the Nation’s people to capture the dream of freedom and independence. This also allows the people of this era to pass a permanent and unchanging history of the Nation’s Forefathers. The history
Page 17 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 of this Memorial will pass through generations to the Nation’s children and their children’s children, who are our future leaders. It allows them to better understand our Nations struggles and sacrifices to be free. Entrance and admission are free, open 24/7. All are invited to visit this schoolroom of history. International Museum of Art & Science The International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) was developed through the efforts of the McAllen Junior League to increase the quality of life for the citizens of the Rio Grande Valley. The mission of IMAS is to promote a deeper appreciation of the arts and sciences through its exhibitions, cultural events, and educational programs; and to preserve, expand, and display its permanent art and science collections. IMAS is a Smithsonian Affiliate, fully accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, and is the premier art and science museum of South Texas containing over 50,000 square feet of exhibit spaces. The fine art galleries host a number of permanent and revolving international and regional art and science exhibits. The museum houses the McAllen Public Utility (MPU) Science Lab and Ann Moore Art Studio, which host a variety of hands-on activities that change monthly. A must-see exhibit at IMAS is Science on a Sphere, an interactive theater space with daily presentations on space and weather. The Discovery Pavilion offers an interactive learning space for younger visitors and a display of minerals from the permanent collection. IMAS is located at the corner of Bicentennial and Nolana, at 1900 W. Nolana Ave. in McAllen. Regular hours are Wednesdays through Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Current admission is $5 for general, and $3 for children ages 4-12, students ages 13-18, and seniors age 65+. Please check the website at www.theimasonline.org or call (956) 6812800 for more information. Also see the IMAS Facebook page. McAllen Heritage Center Visit the McAllen Heritage Center to learn about McAllen’s vibrant past! You can enjoy the city’s history chronologically displayed in photos and other artifacts, and special exhibits about schools, musicians, businesses, and other historical items. Local talented artists are honored in the “Artist’s Corner” where artwork is displayed on a rotating basis. The museum offers various historical videos that visitors can enjoy in the presentation room, a children’s coloring area, a Book Nook, and various special exhibits hosted throughout the year. Please check the website or Facebook page for updates. The museum store, “La Tiendita”, which is also online, carries many historical books including the Valley Land Fund books along with an array of tee shirts and fun McAllen souvenirs. Also offered are items crafted by local glassworks artisan, Yoli Cantu. There is much to see and enjoy at the museum and you are welcome to come visit! Some restrictions may apply for museum entry depending on Covid19 or other conditions, including but not limited to: face mask or covering of mouth and nose required for entry and while inside the museum galleries. Call to inquire about group tours or field trips. There is no admission fee, however door donations are gratefully accepted. Limited free parking is available in the rear parking lot. The McAllen Heritage Center is located at 301 S. Main St. in McAllen. The hours are Wednesdays through Fridays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and the 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call (956) 687-1904, email email@example.com, or visit www. mcallenheritagecenter.com or the Facebook page for current exhibits and other information. Payne Arena The Payne Arena is a multi-purpose complex that features a 6,800-seat arena that will configure up to 5,500 seats for basketball, ice hockey, football, and soccer and a center stage concert capacity of 7,000 seats. The arena fea-
Page 18 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 tures 25 suites and 500 club seats. The property also includes 2,200 parking spaces, a lounge with access from outside of the arena, as well as a bar and pro shop. The Payne Arena has featured family and children shows, concerts, sporting events and other entertaining events. The arena is home to the Rio Grande Valley Dorados (Arena Football) and the Rio Grande Valley Barracudas (Major Arena Soccer). The Arena is located at 2600 N. 10th St. (Hwy. 336) in Hidalgo. Tickets can be purchased from the box office, Ticketmaster, or other outlets. Visit www.hidalgoarena.com or call (956) 8436688 for a schedule of events or more information. Old Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum The Magic Valley’s early 20th Century transition into an agricultural powerhouse is retold at the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse, which also embraces nature conservation as a wing of the World Birding Center. The Old Hidalgo Pumphouse began pumping water to create an agricultural empire north of the Rio Grande in 1909 when the Louisiana-Rio Grande Canal Company installed steam-driven pumps, fueled by mesquite wood to pump the water to irrigate farms. The Pumphouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, exhibits the steam engines and pumps and tells the story of how agriculture was developed in the Rio Grande Valley. This site overall is a hidden treasure, with beautiful sceneries of its gardens where you can enjoy nature with native trees, native shrubs, and native plants; these features attract birds and butterflies. The Old Hidalgo Pumphouse Museum and World Birding Center, located at 902 S. 2nd St. in Hidalgo, is open 7 days a week. The hours of operation are Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free to all visitors, but there is a charge on scheduled museum and historical trolley tours. The museum tour fee is $3, and the historical trolley tour fee is $5. Photography sessions, venue rentals, and bicycle rentals are also offered. For more information call (956) 843-8686, or visit www.cityofhidalgo.net or www.facebook.com/HidalgoPumphouseMuseumandWorldBirdingCenter/. World’s Largest Killer Bee Fear of bees raged across the United States when aggressive African Killer Bees first entered the United States in 1970 in Hidalgo, Texas. Today a statue next to the Hidalgo City Hall at 600 Old Military Rd., marks the city as the place the feared bees first entered the U.S. Statue of Father Hidalgo Located on the grounds of the Hidalgo Memorial Park the statue of Father Miguel Hidalgo, for whom the city and county are named, pays tribute to the Catholic Father known as a champion for human rights. He was influential in starting the Mexican Revolution against Spain while Texas was still part of Mexico. Father Hidalgo issued his famous Grito de Dolores, calling for Mexican Revolution on September 16, 1810. The statue is located at the entrance to the park at the north end of Esperanza Ave.
Page 19 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 Call today to schedule a free consultation and let us show you how professionaly designed marketing materials with clear and consistent messaging can elevate your brand. Sales@promosandprints.com (956) 580-7800 1217 N Conway Ave, Mission, TX A Division of Nexus Publishing LLC You Only Get One Chance To Make A First Impression Make It Count With Promos & Prints On Your Side
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Page 21 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 LOCATIONS UTRGV Patron of the Arts Edinburg Chamber of Commerce See Chamber O ces, p. 54 Ebony Hills Golf Course See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 Museum of South Texas History Bert Ogden Arena Pharr Aquatic Center Tierra Del Sol Golf Course See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan Del Valle – National Shrine La Sal Del Rey Monte Cristo Golf & Country Club See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 South Texas Motorcycle Museum Edinburg Scenic Wetlands See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 Los Lagos Golf Course See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 The Gelman Stained Glass Museum Alamo Chamber of Commerce See Chamber O ces, p. 54 Alamo Museum Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 Alamo Country Club See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 S Veterans Blvd S Alamo Rd N Alamo Rd S Raul Longoria Rd N 10th St Farm to Market Rd 907 Tower Rd Tower Rd Tower Rd 69C Alberta Rd W Freddy Gonzalez Dr E Schunior St Violet Ave W 2 12 10 13 8 3 5 1 Lopezville Pharr Bus 14 7 6 15 16 17 4 18 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 San Juan 9 11 Alamo
Page 22 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 UTRGV Patron of the Arts UTRGV Patron of the Arts is the performance series of the UTRGV School of Music that has provided Rio Grande Valley residents and visitors with excellent artistic programs for over 35 years. The program was created in 1984 in Brownsville to provide the community and students with opportunities for learning and enrichment by attending live events by professional guest musicians as well as visual artists. Patron of the Arts also provides a venue for faculty and student performances to showcase the considerable talent the RGV has. UTRGV Patron of the Arts has two main venues: the UTRGV Performing Arts Complex at 1201 W. University Dr. in Edinburg, and the TSC Performing Arts Center at 90 Taylor Ave. in Brownsville. For up-to-the-minute performance and ticket information, please visit utrgv.edu/ arts. Museum of South Texas History The Museum of South Texas History (MOSTHistory) is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Founded in 1967 as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum in the 1910 Hidalgo County Jail, the museum has grown over the decades through a series of expansions to occupy a full city block. It was later renamed the Museum of South Texas History to better reflect its regional scope. Today, the museum preserves and presents the borderland heritage of South Texas and northeastern Mexico through its permanent collection and the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives and exhibits spanning prehistory through the 20th century. Experience centuries of stories from the borderland region at Museum of South Texas History. The museum’s signature Rio Grande Legacy exhibit creates a passage through time in state-of-the-art multimedia settings. Stand in the shadow of a full-sized mammoth, hear corridos or ballads from the Mexican Revolution while warming your hands over the horno or oven, and even watch as a steam train rolls by in the train station. Enhance your visit by viewing any of the three educational videos in the comfortably integrated theaters. MOSTHistory also holds a variety of virtual family-friendly special events and programs throughout the year including Dia de los Muertos, Sunday Speaker Series, guided tours and more. FRIENDS of MOSTHistory receive benefits including free admission to all special events and programs and discounts on rental space and in the museum store. The Museum of South Texas History is located in downtown Edinburg at 200 N. Closner Blvd. on the Hidalgo County Courthouse square. The hours of operation are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about MOSTHistory, including becoming a FRIEND, visit MOSTHistory.org, like on Facebook, follow on Twitter and Instagram, and find on YouTube, or call 1-956-383-6911. Bert Ogden Arena Bert Ogden Arena is the largest indoor entertainment venue in deep South Texas and serves as a premiere destination for sports and live entertainment. The venue has over 9,000 seats, luxury and member suites, 78 points of sale, restaurants and more to suit the needs of visitors during shows and other live events. The Arena is home to the RGV Vipers, a NBA G-league basketball team. For upcoming shows and events, be sure to follow on social media at Bert Ogden Arena. The Arena is located at 4900 S I-69 in Edinburg. Call (956) 562-7362 or visit www.bertogdenarena.com for more information. Pharr Aquatic Center Located at 1000 S. Fir St., the Pharr Aquatic Center serves the community with family fun. Designed and managed by the Pharr Parks & Recreation Department, the Pharr Aquatic Center consists of a fan shaped 6,800 sq. ft. leisure pool, which enters from a zero-depth beach area that wades into 3-1/2’. On the shallow end stands a water play structure that features three children’s slides, geysers, water sprayers, misters, spray fans, two giant splash buckets, and ornamental palm tree sprayers. Available to the public is a lazy river that consists of a 200’ raft slide that spills into a 360’ linear ft. 8’ wide meandering river. Other Park amenities include a children’s pool, featuring geysers and a baby slide, and is covered with a shade structure. Also, the center features a Natatorium that encloses a 25-yard x
Page 23 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 join us june 16th at 6:30pm for our quince celebration and open house! our Quince! Founded 2006 Opened 2008 celebrating WE'RE 301 S. Main St. • McAllen, TX Free Admission & Parking Available in Rear. Wed. - Friday: 1PM - 5PM 2nd and 4th Saturday from 12pm to 4pm (956) 687-1904 McAllenHeritageCenter.com 25-meter, 10 lane competition pool. Admission fees Monday through Friday (closed Wednesdays) are children and senior citizens for $3 and adults for $5, Saturday and Sunday fees are $5 and $10 respectively. For more information call (956) 402-4560 or visit the website at https://pharr-tx.gov/parks-recreation/aquatic-center/. Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan Del Valle – National Shrine Devout Catholics often make pilgrimages to see the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan de Valle in San Juan. The Shrine got its start in 1949 when Father Jose Maria Azpiazu, OMI, placed a replica of the image of the Immaculate Conception of San Juan de los Lagos in the parish Church at San Juan. Such was the number of pilgrims that in 1954 a new shrine was dedicated to house the image. Disaster struck the first shrine in 1970, when a pilot deliberately crashed his plane into the building after giving notice to the air control tower to warn the public because he was going to crash his plane into a church or school somewhere in the Valley. The faithful continued to make pilgrimages to the shrine, and the church grew in strength from the ashes of the old one. On April 19, 1980, the present shrine was dedicated. On June 12, 1999, the shrine was designated a “Minor Basilica” through official notification from the Vatican. The Basilica is located in San Juan, at 400 N. Virgen de San Juan Blvd. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. For information or tours call (956) 7870033 or visit www.olsjbasilica.org. La Sal Del Rey For centuries, this remote site was a destination for American Indians, Spanish settlers, Mexican traders, and Anglo-Americans who sought the rich source of valuable white crystals known as salt. La Sal del Rey is the site of a large salt lake and was South Texas’s main source of vital salt during the Civil War. The name La Sal del Rey is Spanish, meaning “The King’s Salt,” a reference to royal ownership of valued mineral sources in colonial times. Native Americans had been using the resource for eons, but for the Spanish, it was the mineral equivalent of a gold bonanza. Under special provisions of the crown, salt miners would carry it by carts, the tracks of which left deep ruts still
Page 24 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 visible in the ground and established roads. In 1863, Union forces destroyed the salt works. The following year, when Confederates took control of the Valley again, they used La Sal del Rey as a staging point and re-opened the mines. After the Civil War, a legal controversy over the lake’s ownership led to the State of Texas declaring that mineral rights belonged to private property owners and not to the general public. Salt mining continued at La Sal del Rey until the 1940s. Today it is a federal nature preserve, looking much as it did during the 1860s. Visit https://www.utrgv.edu/civilwar-trail/civil-war-trail/hidalgo-county/la-sal-del-rey/index. htm for more information and directions. South Texas Motorcycle Museum The South Texas Motorcycle Museum opened in October 2009 and features dozens of motorcycles that span over the past century. The mission of the South Texas Motorcycle Museum is to educate the public by celebrating and preserving the rich culture, engineering, art, and history of the motorcycle. The South Texas Motorcycle Museum is a non-profit organization run and managed by volunteers who are eager to conserve history on two wheels. For more information about the museum, or to find out how you can help, call (956) 2920770. Visit the website at https://stxmm.net/ The Gelman Stained Glass Museum The Gelman Stained Glass Museum in San Juan, located at 411 Virgen de San Juan Blvd. across from the Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan Del Valle, is home to the most comprehensive collection of stained-glass windows in the United States. This 16,000 square foot state-of-theart museum replicates the Latin-cross cruciform architecture of European medieval cathedrals, providing a sacred setting for these antique stained-glass windows acquired from deteriorating churches around the country. The windows on display represent the most renowned manufacturers of 19th and 20th Century American and European stained-glass art. Their collection consists of over 140 antique windows ranging from Tiffany Studios, John La Farge, J & R Lamb Studios, Mary Tillinghast, as well as pieces from the German Munich styles by Franz Meyer, F. X. Zettler, Cox & Buckley and more. Encompassing the cathedral-like experience for its visitors, the museum has other religious relics within its collection such as Roman Catholic altars, baptismal fonts, and marble statues. The museum is also a venue for photoshoots, private events, and weddings. Museum Hours of Operation are Wednesdays through Fridays, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays through Sundays, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit www.gelmanmuseum.org or call (956) 6010838. City of Alamo Museum Alamo is a community with a big name and a history that spans the era of bequeaths of land from the Spanish crown to become the gateway to the well-known Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge. That history is being collected, preserved, and displayed at the City of Alamo Museum, 130 S. 8th St. in the City of Alamo. It is a history of the early development of Camp Ebenezer with a railroad depot in 1902 as a ranching and shipping operation. Colonizing followed when the Alamo Land and Sugar Company purchased 32,000 acres and excursion trains brought prospective farmers to the area, housed temporarily at the camp between 1914 and up until the 1930s. To track the city’s history, this new museum opened five years ago, starting with the permanent Galleria of Angels, numbering 1,800. Other permanent displays include the tragic 1940 truck-train collision, the history of the Alamo Fire Department, El Gato Exhibit, Karankawa Exhibit, and a collection of every Alamo News issue from 1927 to 1982. Revolving exhibits take place on average every three months. Traveling exhibits of loaned items have included 100 Madonna and Child figurines, Seventy Nativity sets, 40 Singer child sewing machines, 1900’s-1920’s Dress Collection, and a barber chair that sat John, Bob, and Ted Kennedy. The phone number is (956) 961-4398, website is www.alamotexas.org (under Department’s link), the hours are 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Follow on Facebook and find how to “Discover Your Past” at the City of Alamo Museum.
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69C 69E 2 Rio Grande Valley Regional Maps San Ygnacio to Los Ebanos Pages 4-7 La Joya to Mission Pages 9-12 McAllen to Hidalgo Pages 15-18 Edinburg to Alamo Pages 21-24 Donna to Mercedes Pages 33-35 Harlingen to San Benito Pages 36-39 Los Fresnos to Brownsville Pages 41-44 Port Isabel to SPI Pages 45-48 Rio Grande City Zapata Roma San Ygnacio McAllen Hidalgo Edinburg Pharr Donna Weslaco Harlingen San Benito Rancho Viejo Brownsville Los Fresnos Port Isabel Boca Chica South Padre Island Mercedes Raymondville Edcouch Alamo Mission Alton Palmview La Joya Los Ebanos San Juan Palmhurst
Page 31 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 With winter temperatures averaging 65-70 degrees and over 200 sunny days, Rio Grande Valley premier golf courses can be enjoyed year-round. Alamo Country Club 9-hole, par-35, semi-private course, 438 Country Club Dr., Alamo (956) 787-0907 Brownsville Golf Center 18-hole, par70, municipal course, 1800 W. San Marcelo, Brownsville (956) 541-2582 Champion Lakes Golf Course (previously Palm View Golf Course)18-hole, par-72, public, 2701 S. Ware Rd., McAllen (956) 681-3444 Ebony Hills Golf Course 9-hole, par-35, 300 W. Palm Dr., Edinburg (956) 292-2144 El Niño Golf Course 9-hole, par-29, executive golf course, 511 E. Loop 374, Palmview (956) 585-5551 Howling Trails Golf Club 27-hole, public, 1910 Hole in One Dr., Mission (956) 323-2165 Los Lagos Golf Club 18-hole, par-72, 1720 S. Raul Longoria Rd., Edinburg (956) 316-0444 Long Island Village Golf Course 18-hole, par-53, par-3, 950 S. Garcia St., Port Isabel (956) 943-7520 Monte Cristo Golf & Country Club Par-7, public, 2919 N. Kenyon Rd., Edinburg (956) 3810964 Rancho Viejo Resort and Country Club 18-hole, par-71 for Men, par-74 for Women, semi-private, 1 Rancho Viejo Dr., Rancho Viejo (956) 350-4000 Raymondville Municipal Golf Course 9-hole, par 36, 13839 Emma Ross Rd., Raymondville (956) 690-4068 River Bend Resort & Golf Course 18-hole, par-72, semi-private, 4541 US-281, Brownsville (956) 548-0192 Shary Municipal Golf Course 27-hole, municipal golf course, 2201 N. Mayberry St., Mission (956) 580-8770 South Padre Island Golf Club Par-72, 1 Golf House Rd., Laguna Vista (956) 943-4653 Stuart Place Golf Course 9-hole, par-36, 155 Highland Dr., Harlingen (956) 428-2000 Tierra Del Sol Golf Course 18-hole, par-72, municipal golf course, 700 E. Hall Acres Rd., Pharr (956) 402-4545 Tierra Santa Golf Club Par-72, 1901 Club de Amistad, Weslaco (956) 973-1811 Tony Butler Golf Course Par-71, municipal course, 2640 Golf Course Dr., Harlingen (956) 216-5970 Treasure Hills Golf Club Par-72, 3009 N. Augusta National Dr., Harlingen (956) 425-1700 Valley International Country Club 18-hole, par-70, 301 McFadden, Brownsville (956) 5489199
Page 32 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 Stay in Comfort Explore our 3 Nature Centers 15 Minutes from the Mexico Border Experience Weslaco’s Unique Restaurants Shopping From retail shopping centers to locally owned businesses Weslaco is a great place to shop and find one of a kind items! Check out Weslaco's Historic Downtown! Restaurants Mexican, BBQ, Tex-Mex...when it comes to food you will find a variety of family owned and operated restaurants! Recognized nationally for unique cuisine. 956-968-2102 | WWW.WESLACO.COM | 275 S. KANSAS AVE WESLACO TX Welcome to Weslaco! Nature Weslaco is home to three nature parks with unique sites and trails including a State Park! Visitors stop by from all over the world to learn about the diverse bird species, and attend educational activities and presentations. ANNUAL EVENTS: December: Weslaco Lighted Christmas Parade Holiday Light Display March: Texas Onion Fest August-February: Alfresco Weslaco (Every 3rd Thursday of the month) LOCAL DEST I NAT I ONS Nana's Taqueria - The Eatery (Food Truck Park) - Historic Downtown Weslaco - Teddy's Barbeque - Tierra Santa Golf Course - Valley Nature Center - Frontera Audubon - Estero Llano Grande State Park - ITheatre @ The Tower
Page 33 Rio Grande Valley Visitors Guide 2023-2024 S International Blvd S Border Ave S Kansas Ave Texas Blvd N Main St S Texas Blvd S Texas Ave Bus 77 LOCATIONS Donna Historical Museum Tierra Santa Golf Club See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 Valley Nature Center See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 Rio Grande Valley Partnership See Chamber Oces, p. 54 Villa de Cortez Weslaco Museum Weslaco Visitors Center Weslaco Chamber of Commerce, See Chamber Oces, p. 54 Frontera Audubon Society See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 Estero Llano Grande State Park See Birding and Nature, p. 49-52 Delta Lake Park Raymondville Municipal Golf Course See Golfers’ Paradise, p. 31 Raymondville Chamber of Commerce See Chamber Oces, p. 54 Rio Grande Valley Livestock Showgrounds Boots on the Ground - Mercedes, Texas Mercedes Chamber of Commerce See Chamber Oces, p. 54 9 5 1 10 7 8 3 4 Mercedes Weslaco Monte Alto Bus Bus 2 Donna Miller Ave E 5th St 6 10 11 13 14 15 16 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 12