At the risk of learning something on your beach vacation, consider a visit to the Marine Science Institute (750 Channel View Dr., 361/749-6729, www.utmsi.utexas.edu , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri., free). The oldest marine research station on the Texas Gulf Coast , the institute is dedicated to sciences (ecology, biochemistry, physiology, etc.) relating to plants and animals of the sea.
The Marine Science Institute visitors center offers educational movies (Mon.–Thurs. at 3 p.m.) and self-guided tours of marine-related research project exhibits, stunning photographs, and seven aquariums containing offshore artificial reefs, black mangrove marsh, and Spartina, often over an open sea floor.