World of Discovery graphic

French Frigate under the Causeway
French naval ship departing the ship channel.

Located under the causeway at the north side of Corpus Christi, World of Discovery offers exhibits on the natural sciences, exploration of the New World and frontier life, all enhanced with film presentations in small intimate theater settings.

Many of the exhibits are the result of the generous donations of prominent local families, including personal items of the people that made Corpus one of the busiest seaports of the last century.

Xeriscaping graphic
Outside the main entrance is the Xeriscape Learning Garden. Although Corpus Christi is located on the Gulf of Mexico, drinking water has always been a major issue. The garden illustrates how selective landscaping can conserve this precious resource without sacrificing natural beauty. An informative presentation located in a gazebo documents the past, present and future utilization of the surrounding aquifer.

Just beyond the entrance is "Shipwreck Theater" where you can enjoy a video presentation describing the early exploration of the "New World".
the dinosaur exhibit

To the right of the entrance are series of well designed natural science displays. Children will be attracted to the many animals set in their native surroundings. Land animals, birds, fish and reptiles lead to the ancient ancestors, the dinosaurs. There is also an extensive geology section complete with a model of a modern oil refinery, one result of the dinosaur era.

For younger children, World of Discovery has conveniently placed a large play area between the two main indoor areas.

relaxing by the watergarden

While the kids are unwinding in the play area, adults can venture outside to the soothing Watergarden to sit on a shaded bench and enjoy the water cascading down the inside of the circular plaza.

cowboy of the south Texas plains

The other wing of the museum concentrates on the history of the region from the frontier days through the twentieth century. In addition to the cowboy gear, you'll find beautiful exhibits of antiques from the finest old homes in Corpus.

The interactive "Columbus Theater" at the far end allows visitors to select video presentations on various aspects of Christopher Columbus' journey west. Then it's on to a truly unique exhibit.

The Santa Maria

A large plaza overlooking the ship channel entrance to Corpus Christi Bay is home to replicas of Christopher Columbus' three ships, the Nina, Pinta & Santa Maria. These ships were built in Spain and sailed to America on the 500th anniversary of original voyage.

During our visit only 2 of the ships where accessible. The Pinta & Santa Maria were slightly damaged by a barge and were under repair.

The Nina under sail in the bay
*photo by Frank B. Whaley Post Cards, 733 Burkshire, Corpus Christi, TX 78412
The 3rd ship, The Nina was briefly visible from the deck of the other ships as it made it's way across the bay in the distance.

standing on the steeply pitched deck

With the small size of these ships it is no wonder that the crews were a little nervous about being so "close to falling off the edge of the earth". My house is bigger than one of these. Yet, after many weeks at sea the crew finally saw a glimpse of the vast uncharted western hemisphere.

As we prepare to usher in the new millennium, this "discovery" may well be the most important event in the past one thousand years. The impact on both the native population and the Europeans that came after was monumental. It resulted in dramatic changes to almost every system in civilization. Science, religion, economics and politics were all radically altered by the westward migration that followed.


World of Discovery is well worth the time and we look forward to taking our grandchildren in the future. I hope the design features such as the interactive displays for children and small theaters scattered throughout will be incorporated in all museums in the future.

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