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VacationPlaces to Go, Things To See | #vacation | #seniors | #elderly

Places to Go, Things To See | #vacation | #seniors | #elderly

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South Padre Island is a vacation spot beloved by all for good reason: It’s full of things to do for tourists and visitors – and around every corner is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

Of course you know you can visit the beach, or see gorgeous sandcastle art on the island – but did you know there are so many more culinary and cultural adventures just waiting to be had?

Here are a few exciting spots to visit on your next trip to the island!

GABRIELLA’S ITALIAN GRILL & PIZZERIA   

You’re on a beach vacation and you’re hungry for a delicious, homemade, one-of-a-kind meal. Your first thought might be seafood – but what about an authentic Italian restaurant experience instead?


Gabriella’s Italian Grill & Pizzeria, located at 700 Padre Boulevard on South Padre Island, can provide exactly that. This picturesque restaurant has close to 200 seats with patio dining options and delicious Italian dining from scratch. 

The pizza dough is hand-rolled and pizzas are made to patrons’ liking  on an authentic imported Italian brick oven. “Absolutely everything is homemade from scratch,” said manager Dave Davis. “We don’t take any shortcuts to get the food so delicious. Items are prepared when ordered – not just dished up and plated.” 

Gabriella’s also offers a full-service bar with over 25 craft and exotic draft beers from all over the country and the world, as well as a full bottle- and by-the-glass wine list of California and international selections.

RELATED: Explore the History and Culture of South Texas at the Mitte Cultural District in Brownsville.

Davis attributes the restaurant’s success to the “awesome staff and old-world authentic Italian recipes” and “truly amazing guests that come from all over the state and even further away to dine with us.” And the warm, authentic atmosphere keeps visitors coming back for more.

Gabriella’s is open Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. In the summer, it remains open until 11 p.m. most evenings. To-go orders are available, as well as on- and off-premise full-service catering. Visit www.gabriellasspi.com or call 956-761-6111 for more information. 

SEA TURTLE INC. 

Did you know that the Gulf of Mexico is home to five different types of sea turtles? And one great place to see them all is South Padre Island. 

While they may be difficult to find in the wild, at Sea Turtle Inc., a South Padre Island rehabilitation center for sea turtles, you can see sea turtles, learn more about them and their habits, and even have the opportunity to volunteer with rescued animals.

Located at 6617 Padre Boulevard, it’s a much-loved spot for locals and out-of-town visitors alike. Its main focus is rehabilitating and releasing sea turtles, as well as providing various educational programs and services. 

It also plays a critical role in environmental conservation: preserving and protecting marine reptiles for many years to come. 

Enjoy daily turtle feedings and educational presentations, including 15-minute Turtle Talks in an outdoor amphitheater. An indoor Education Complex is also available with museum displays, gift shop, and resident tanks. 

It’s regularly open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., extended for the summer season (June 1-Aug. 15) to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Off-season admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and military, $4 for children 5-17, and summer admission is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and military, and $4 for children 5-17. Children 4 years old and under are always free.

For more information, visit www.seaturtleinc.org or call 956-761-4511.

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND BIRDING AND NATURE CENTER  

South Padre Island is an important stopover point for migratory birds along the route between Laguna Madre Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, which means it’s a great place to learn about birds and see more than 300 beautiful species of bird – whether you’re an avid birding enthusiast or a beginner. 

The South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center offers visitors exhibits on South Padre Island’s birds, fascinating tours, and an interactive learning experience. Enjoy gorgeous views of not only birds, but beaches, sand dunes, and the Gulf of Mexico from a five-story viewing tower. You’ll have access to five bird blinds and over 3,300 feet of boardwalk nature trails. There’s also an auditorium showing documentaries during the day about local wildlife. 

The SPI Birding and Nature Center, located at 6801 Padre Boulevard, is open every day from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the months of September through January, and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the months of February through August, excepting some major holidays. Admissions prices are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students 13-18, $3 for children 4-12. Children under 4 are free.

To learn more about how to get started on your own interactive bird-viewing experience on the island, visit www.spibirding.com or call 956-761-6801 for more information.

PINEAPPLE NINJAZ

If you’re looking for cuisine off the beaten track, you can’t go wrong with a stop at Pineapple Ninjaz, an innovative food truck located at 1201 Padre Boulevard.

For the adventurous diner, it offers high-quality chicken breast or seafood served inside a coreless fresh pineapple that’s stuffed with jasmine rice and sprinkled with veggies. Dishes include a lobster tail bowl, a veggie bowl, a mix bowl, a kickin’ chicken bowl, and padre pastor tacos. Pair it with a kickback colada and you’ve got a meal to remember!

Catering services are also available. 

Hours of operation for this pineapple culinary experience you won’t soon forget are Tuesday-Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

To learn more about this one-of-a-kind culinary tour de force, visit www.pineappleninjaz.com or call 956-662-8782

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND ADVENTURE PARK

Have you always wanted to ride a horse along a Gulf of Mexico beach? Or spend an exuberant day ziplining without interruption? South Padre Island is the place to go for your one-stop adventure shop. 

It offers an array of activities ranging from family horseback rides and morning special horseback rides at affordable rates, to zip-line enjoyment where visitors can book 45 minutes of unlimited zip rides, to a children’s petting barn with pony rides, to go-karting, mini-golfing, massages and various combined packages. 

South Padre Island Adventure Park also offers packages with bonfires and specialized luau menus for groups or parties, and beach wedding accommodations!

Hours may vary based on activity. To learn more or to book a visit or event, visit https://www.islandfunpark.com or call 956-761-4677.956) 761-4677

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