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34 Texas Coastal Bend tour guide Early Spring 2016 Texas Sealife CenterEach year in the Coastal Bend hundreds of sea animals become injured stranded and otherwise subjected to duress often due to human behavior. For decades bands of ecological volunteers have acted to rescue and rehabilitate injured wildlife but with limited resources and facilities. The Texas Sealife Center was established in 2012 in the Packery Channel Park building on North Padre Island a facility donated by Nueces County. The new center provides space for rescued sea turtles birds mammals and other creatures and works hand-in-hand with Tony AmosAnimal Re- habilitation Keep ARK in Port Aransas. An important element of the sealife rescue mission is educating the public about the dangers of garbage and human interfer- ence with sea animals a core mission of the Texas Sealife Center. 14225 S. Padre Island Dr. on Padre Island Mustang Island State Park encompasses almost 4000 acres that stretch across Mustang Island between North Padre Island and Port Aransas and includes shore- line on both the Gulf of Mexico and Corpus Christi Bay. The facilities area of the park located within the main gate includes RV spaces and campsites restrooms and ranger station. Park beaches tend to be less crowded with fewer vehicles and two rock jetties extend in to the gulf. On the back side of the island a network of flats and marsh zones provides fantastic fishing and birdwatching along with an exten- sive paddling trail. Google Mustang Island State Park Padre Island National Seashore is the native island experience in its rawest form including the best shore fishing in the countrya bold statement to be surebut consider that one of the worlds strongest ocean currents the Gulf of Mexico Loop Current enters the gulf at Mexicos Yucatan Peninsula and ex- its at the Florida Straits and makes its sharpest turn along the National Seashore. The result is that thegut or drop-off between sandbars can be up to 15 feet deep between the shoreline and first sand bar among the deepest in the world. In those deepest near-shore guts big fish are fed on by even bigger fish which makes Big Shell and Little Shell exceedingly popular with shark hunters and other big game fisher- men. The park boasts that some 380 species of birds half of all those identified in the United States have been spotted here The Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle has made an amazing comeback at PINS a major U.S. nesting ground thanks to the efforts of park staff and volunteers. Through these efforts PINS has become one of the more important nesting sites on the Gulf Coast. nps.govpais 361 949-8068 Parks Offer First-hand Marine Education