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|Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Texas Attractions: Aransas National Wildlife Refuge
Location: Coastal Bend of South Texas, 35 miles northeast of Rockport
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About the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge:
Located on Blackjack Peninsula next to San Antonio Bay, the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge covers more than 70,000 acres and is famous as the winter nesting area of the highly endangered whooping crane.
The area encompasses grasslands and stands of wind-blown live oak and redbay thickets. Brackish tidal marshes and long, narrow ponds complete the picture.
The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is home not only to the whooping cranes, but to alligators, deer, javelina, turtles, snakes and many other forms of wildlife. Around 400 species of birds can be seen here, including egrets, pelicans, spoonbills and herons.
You'll probably spot some of this wildlife driving the 16-mile paved loop through the park. There are also several miles of walking trails and numerous observation areas.
Of course, everyone who visits Aransas National Wildlife Refuge wants to see the whooping cranes. There were only 15 whooping cranes left in the world in 1941, but that number has increased to more than 200 today that winter here. They are usually at this park from October to around mid-April, and can be viewed from a 40-foot-high observation tower, roaming the tidal flats feeding on clams and crabs, among other things. There are also boats that leave from Rockport on observation tours.
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge's public use area is open daily dawn to dusk; a Wildlife Interpretive Center is open 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Bring mosquito repellent and some money to cover the admission fee.
To find Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, take Texas Highway 35 north from Rockport approximately 20 miles, then turn right on FM 774. Follow 774 9 miles to FM 2040; turn right and go 7 miles to the park entrance.
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