Beachcombing at Mustang Island State Park - Family Love In My City

Beachcombing at Mustang Island State Park

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Beachcombing Bingo at Mustang Island State Park - Corpus Christi, Texas
When we beach, we pretty much just chill. Play in the waves, eat some sandwiches, fruit and junk food. There's some throwing of the football, riding our favorite whale inflatable, digging around in the sand, but not much exploring going on. Not because we're not interested, but because we really don't know about the nature and wildlife that surrounds us at the beach.

How do you know what to explore if you don't know what you are searching for? If you are at Mustang Island State Park, you ask the Park Rangers and play a game of Beachcombing Bingo!
Beachcombing Bingo at Mustang Island State Park - Corpus Christi, Texas
We asked Park Interpreter, Eric Erich, about some of the programs he leads at the park and he offered to take us on our first Beachcoming Bingo adventure. 
Beachcombing Activities at Mustang Island State Park with Park Ranger - Corpus Christi, Texas
TIP: If you are heading to the Mustang Island or any Texas State Park, check the calendar of events, like their Facebook page and visit the Office or Visitors Center for activities and to pick up a Junior Ranger journal or explorer pack! At Mustang Island, check the office or the boards in the day parking lot to see when Watercoloring and Beachcombing Bingo are available!

But back to beachcombing! As we walked towards the jetties, we learned about this yellow coral that many people mistake as rope and throw into the trash.
Beachcombing Activities at Mustang Island State Park with Park Ranger - Corpus Christi, Texas
We saw a few ghost crabs peeking in and out of their holes and learned that some of those holes are not made by crabs, but by Mexican ground squirrels!
Scavenger Hunt at Mustang Island State Park - Ghost Crab
Not on our list, but pretty interesting was a nut that we think traveled all the way from Brazil.
Scavenger Hunt at Mustang Island State Park
We found a few washed up cabbage head jellyfish. 
Scavenger Hunt at Mustang Island State Park - Cabbage Heady Jellyfish
And made our own sand dollar when we couldn't find a real one. :)
Beachcombing Bingo at Mustang Island State Park
We walked carefully onto the jetties because we were told that this was the best place to see the sea turtles and we did see some Loggerhead Sea Turtles peeking through the waves! I just wasn't quick enough with my camera to get any good pics!

Through the rocks, we saw lots of blue crabs!
Beachcombing at Mustang Island State Park - Blue Crab in Jetties

Beachcombing at Mustang Island State Park - Blue Crab in Jetties
Also on the list was beautiful blooming Railroad Vine and plenty of birds!
Beachcombing at Mustang Island State Park
Because we have done some birdwatching, we were familiar with some of the birds on the list. The willet, laughing gull, egrets and terns were what we saw that day.

But all this to say, than any chance you get to talk with a Park Ranger, take it! My son had so many questions for Eric that he happily answered! Not being beach regulars, just about every detail he gave was new information to us. Whether is was how the jetties were made or the difference between a brown and white pelican, we explored, we learned and we left feeling a better connection to the outdoors and our state park.

What state parks have you visited? How do you keep your kids connected to the outdoors?

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