Galveston Island – Nature Tourism & Birding Hotspot
Because of Galveston’s natural resources and year-round warm weather, the island is one of the top locations for nature and birding enthusiasts in the United States. Located on the trans-Gulf migration route, Galveston is a central location for novice and expert birders, offering more than 300 species of birds that reside and travel through Galveston during fall and spring migrations. Many birds find rest on Galveston Bay, a productive estuarine eco-system with busy harbors and salt marshes. Nature tourists exploring Galveston can go birding, dolphin watching, fishing, kayaking, and camping or tour national wildlife refuges and nature parks. An annual event, FeatherFest (www.galvestonfeatherfest.com), attracts birders from across the country to Galveston each April for birding and nature photography workshops and field trips. visitors have a new way to explore this fascinating aspect of the island with birding tours offered by the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council. These tours feature the island’s top birding hot spots and take visitors to see, learn about and photograph rare and unique birds up close and personal.
Discover Old-World Charm in Galveston’s Historic Districts
Boasting one of the largest collections of well-preserved Victorian architecture in the country, Galveston is a charming tropical destination reminiscent of a bygone era. With four nationally recognized historic districts, Galveston is home to several magnificent structures, such as the 1838 Menard House, 1859 Ashton Villa, 1880 Garten Verein, 1895 Moody Mansion and the 1892 Bishop’s Palace, cited by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 100 most important buildings in America. Several of these structures are open for tours daily, in addition to the island’s historic downtown district whose majestic iron-front Victorian buildings house coastal-inspired shops, restaurants, museums and other attractions. Within the island’s quaint neighborhoods, such as the East End Historical District and Silk Stocking District, colorful historic homes line the streets, featuring Victorian, Greek Revival, Queen Anne and other architectural styles dating back to the mid-1800s to early 1900s. While strolling or bicycling through these neighborhoods is a year-round pleasure on the island, the first two weekends in May bring a special treat when the Galveston Historical Foundation hosts its annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour, where private homeowners open their doors to the public for tours. www.galvestonhistory.org
Discover World’s Largest Collection of Southwestern Artifacts in Galveston
Discover Texas history at Galveston’s Bryan Museum. The museum houses the largest collection of Southwestern artifacts in the world. With 70,000 items spanning 12,000 years, it includes treasures ranging from ancient Native American cultural artifacts to 21st century pieces – rare German, French, Spanish, and English documents; exquisite saddles; spurs; antique firearms; exceptionally rare maps and books; fine art; religious and folk art; portraits; and documents. The museum, which opened in June 2015, even features original correspondence from the infamous pirate Jean Lafitte. www.thebryanmuseum.org