Brownsville Historic Museum - Things to do in Brownsville, TX

What to Do in Brownsville, TX

Nestled in the Rio Grande Valley, Brownsville, TX is a thriving Texas town with tropical vacation vibes. Whether you enjoy history, technology, nature, or food, Brownsville, TX has a little of everything to offer. 

With average winter temperatures in the 70’s, it’s the perfect destination to escape the winter, and its close proximity to beautiful beaches and South Padre Island make it a popular summer destination as well.

Brownsville, TX shares a border with Mexico. Driving through downtown Brownsville, you’ll find yourself passing the entrance to the Gateway International Bridge, which crosses over into Mexico. Just across from the border crossing is a sign welcoming you to the United States of America.

Here are some of our favorite things to do in Brownsville, TX.

What to do in Brownsville, TX


Starbase- Things to do in Brownsville, TX

Brownsville is home to a SpaceX rocket launch facility known as Starbase, located near Boca Chica Beach. While you can’t tour the facility, there’s plenty you can see from the road. The Gateway to Mars sign makes for a great photo opp, and those giant rockets have to be seen to be believed. Be prepared to be stopped by border control on your way back into town.

Gladys Porter Zoo

Gladys Porter Zoo - Things to do in Brownsville, TX

The Gladys Porter Zoo is home to 1,600 animals in a lush, tropical oasis that spans over 35 acres. The park is divided into four geographical areas: Africa, Asia, Tropical America and Indo-Australia. There is also a Herpetarium, Aquarium, Tropical America Free-flight Aviary, Macaw Canyon, Bear Grottos and Komodo dragon exhibit. 

Gladys Porter Zoo - Things to do in Brownsville, TX

One of the most fascinating aspects of this zoo is the way they use water and man-made islands to create animal enclosures that feel part of the natural landscape. Instead of peering through netting to see the monkeys, visitors can stand behind a short barricade and look across a stream to where the monkeys roam freely on a self-contained island. 

Children’s Museum of Brownsville

The Brownsville Children’s Museum is made up of two different buildings chock full of hands-on exhibits for kids of all ages. In one, you’ll find numerous science exhibits, like a build your own spacecraft station, a physics exhibit that includes an area to build your own race car and race it along the track

Brownsville Children's Museum - Things to do in Brownsville, TX

The second building encourages young children to embrace the magic of imaginative play. Children can explore a miniature town that includes a cafe, a farmhouse, a grocery store, a lighthouse, and more!

Sabal Palm Sanctuary

Sabal Palm Sanctuary - Things to do in Brownsville, TX

This beautiful park is situated on 557 acres on the banks of the Rio Grande. Explore over 3 miles of trails through tropical palm trees and enjoy the stunning sights from multiple viewing areas. The Sabal Palm Sanctuary is also home to the Historic Rabb Plantation. In addition to touring the first floor of the house, you can actually book a room on the second floor and stay overnight at this impressive historic home, with grand porches affording sweeping views of the gardens.

Sabal Palm Sanctuary - Things to do in Brownsville, TX

Resaca De La Palma State Park

Experience even more of the beautiful Rio Grande Valley with a visit to Resaca De La Palma State Park. We opted to explore the park on two wheels and rented bikes from the park headquarters for $5 for the day. There’s also a tram tour that takes you to various parts of the park. 

Resaca de la Palma State Park - Things to do in Brownsville, TX

The trails are lined with dense, tropical forest, which played a significant role in the Mexican-American war, as we learned at our next stop.

The park is named for the ‘resaca’ formed by flooding from the Rio Grande. Different parts of the resaca will have water at different times of the year so if water views are your thing, make sure to check with the park headquarters to find out which part of the park to visit.

Palo Alto National Historic Battlefield 

This area played a vital role in the Mexican-American war and you can learn all about it at this historic site. Watch a short film about the war and browse the indoor exhibits before heading out to walk the trails out to the battlefield. Cannons and flags mark the actual battlefield where the Mexican and American armies clashed in the first battle of the war.

Brownsville Historical Association

If you’re a fan of historic homes, you’ll need to make sure to visit the Brownsville Historical Association, which is comprised of eight unique venues, including five museums.

Brownsville Heritage Musuem

The Brownsville Heritage Museum offers an interactive history of the city of Brownsville.

Brownsville Heritage Museum - Things to do in Brownsville, TX

Stillman House Musuem

The Stillman House Museum offers a glimpse of life in Brownsville over a century ago. Built in 1850, it’s among one of the oldest structures still standing in Brownsville today.

Historic Brownsville Musuem

Brownsville Historic Museum - Things to do in Brownsville, TX

The Historic Brownsville Musuem is located at the old Southern Pacific Railroad Depot and houses various exhibits detailing the history of Brownsville. An adjacent building houses a permanent exhibit that tells the story of the Rio Grande Railroad which began operating in 1872 between Brownsville and Point Isabel (now Port Isabel). The exhibit includes an 1872 Baldwin wood-burning, narrow gauge railroad locomotive, the last of its kind in the world. 

Costumes of the Americas Museum

The costumes of the Americas museum depicts the rich cultural history of Mexico, Central America and South America through textiles on display.

Laureles Ranch House Museum

The Laureles Ranch House Museum once belonged to the founder of Brownsville, Charles Stillman. It’s a late Georgian Greek Revival style ranch dwelling with large overhanging eaves and wrap-around porches. It’s undergone various renovations and extensions over the years but has been restored as closely as possible to the original.

Spread the love

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *