Texas State Aquarium Announces Funding Milestone and Groundbreaking Date for “Port of Corpus Christi Center for Wildlife Rescue at the Texas State Aquarium”

July 28, 2021

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX, - The Texas State Aquarium is excited to announce that, thanks to an extraordinary gift from the Dobson Family of Foundations, funding commitments for the new Port of Corpus Christi-Center for Wildlife Rescue have reached a significant milestone.

The Texas State Aquarium President and CEO Tom Schmid reports, “Currently over $13 million has been raised for the construction of the new wildlife rehabilitation center, which was the threshold we wanted to reach before initiating construction. Now that we have reached this important milestone, on behalf of all of our Wildlife Rescue patrons, we are incredibly excited to announce that we will begin construction this month.” 

On July 29 at 11:00 AM Central Daylight Time, the Texas State Aquarium and its partners, including the Port Commission Chair Charlie Zahn, will host a groundbreaking ceremony to begin construction of the Aquarium’s new Port of Corpus Christi Center for Wildlife Rescue at the Texas State Aquarium.  

In 2020, the Port donated 2.5 million dollars to the project and has hosted the Aquarium’s current rehabilitation on leased property for the last 20 years.

“For many years, Port of Corpus Christi and the Texas State Aquarium have partnered to protect the unique diversity of animal life and seawater habitats that make our region exceptional,” said Port of Corpus Christi Commission Chair, Charlie Zahn. “Construction of the new Wildlife Rescue Center will provide unparalleled medical care to gulf wildlife, and all of us at the Port are overjoyed to partner with the Aquarium in this noble pursuit.” 

The new 15 million dollar, 20 thousand square-foot wildlife rescue center, to be located on our main campus immediately adjacent to the Aquarium, replaces the existing facilities located on Rincon Road. With state-of-the-art veterinary medical equipment, an interpretive center and multimedia theater to help share the Wildlife Rescue story, the Aquarium’s goal is to increase capacity for wildlife rescue and response, facilitate learning for veterinary medical students and veterinary technologists, and foster a better understanding for the public regarding what each of us can do to help protect wildlife. Upon completion of the facility, the public will have unparalleled access to witness the treatment and rehabilitation of thousands of shorebirds, raptors (birds of prey), marine mammals, and sea turtles.

“This is another proud and meaningful moment in the Port of Corpus Christi’s longstanding relationship with the Texas State Aquarium,” said Sean Strawbridge, Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Corpus Christi. “Since 1994, we have supported the Aquarium’s exhibit and rescue programs and contributed to scholarships for Sea Camp. Further, we remain committed to maintaining high standards in water quality and thereby rendering the Aquarium one of the few port-city aquariums that can draw seawater from the bay for its exhibits.”

In addition to the Port of Corpus Christi and the Dobson Family of Foundations, other major contributors to this program include the city of Corpus Christi, the ExxonMobil Foundation, Catherine and Bob Hilliard, the state of Texas, The Brown Foundation, and the Earl C. Sams Foundation.

This is an extraordinary milestone for this institution. Even before the Aquarium first opened its doors on the Gulf of Mexico experience in 1990, the founders envisioned a much larger facility. They developed a four-phased master plan, which, in addition to the Gulf of Mexico exhibit building, would include a marine mammal exhibition, a Caribbean wing, and a research, education, and conservation center. Dolphin Bay opened in 2003, Caribbean Journey in 2017, and with the opening scheduled for the wildlife rescue center in 2022, we will have essentially completed that visionary initial master plan.



Wildlife Rescue Center renderings, rescue photos, and b-roll can be found here: View Photos Here

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