Start your day at the well-known Casa de Palmas Hotel where you can find the Kiglea Africana, or Sausage Tree, as you enter the historic landmark built in 1909. Native to Africa, the tropical tree towers 40 feet high and bears sausage-like fruits which hang down in long cordlike stalks. Pro Tip: Visit the tree at night when its deep purplish-red flowers bloom because by morning they fall.
Located steps away from the Casa de Palmas, Birdie’s Bistro is an obvious stop for nature lovers looking to fuel up for a day of outdoor adventure. Its gourmet coffee paired with a sweet or savory local sourced breakfast is the ideal experience for any traveler.
Quinta Mazatlan is the main attraction when it comes to birding in South Texas. The Spanish-revival Style mansion is one of the largest adobe structures in Texas, and it’s one of nine unique locations in the Rio Grande Valley that make up the World Birding Center. Known as an urban bird sanctuary due to its location within McAllen’s city limits, more than 500 bird species have been spotted at Quinta Mazatlan, making it perfect for first time visitors or expert birders.
Two miles of trails await you at the McAllen Nature Center. Traverse through 33 acres of native Tamaulipan Thornscrub habitat. Less than 3% of the native habitat remains in the Rio Grande Valley, making this site important for wildlife and visitors alike. The Nature Center boasts over 200 species of birds, 80 species of butterflies, and 20 species of reptiles and amphibians, including the endangered Texas Indigo Snake and Texas Tortoise, to name a few. Binoculars and children’s nature adventure kits are available to borrow free of charge.
A day of outdoor adventure is not complete without viewing the majestic South Texas sunset, especially when viewed near the banks of the Rio Grande River where you can find the National Butterfly Center and Bensten State Park.