Corpus Christi in Six Hours

It’s not easy to prioritize your time in a City when you have just five hours to spend, but we did a pretty good job of it.

Our morning began by visiting The Texas State Aquarium. As a fish enthusiast, Megan was especially looking forward to this underwater adventure. We began with a shark exhibit…


…before moving on to the Lion Fish and Electric Eels.  One of the highlights was seeing the Aquarium staff in full scuba gear feeding these fish.


The Museum’s exhibits are well configured, giving you the opportunity to see them up close.  The jellyfish exhibit, for example, is in low light, highlighting the animals translucent tissue.


The sea otters, crocodile, and bald eagle were outside, and they were in separate exhibits, again configured in such a way as to maximize human interaction with the animals.  In the case of the sharks and stingrays, we could even put our arms in the water and “lightly touch the animals with two fingers.”


The true highlight of the aquarium are the dolphins.  The trainers brought out four dolphins, two of which were especially good at tricks.  Through mimicry, these dolphins learn to clap, jump out of the water, do flips, swim on their back, and even splash the audience!  Our favorite was a three-spin flip.


Next door to the Aquarium is the city’s Art Museum of South Texas.  The museum is housed in a structure designed by Philip Johnson and made from shellcrete.


The current exhibit in the Museum was of Texas Mixed Media, and my favorite artist represented was Mary McCleary, who is actually a Professor of Art at Stephen F. Austin University.  In her artist statement, she indicates she takes found objects and layers them onto paper in a way that “conveys an intensity which the viewer finds compelling.”  That was the case for me (Alex), and I’d like to see more of her work.

We also had a chance to see another Dale Chihuly, and I learned about the “Art Guys,” who have a work composed of clear glass tubes horizontally placed on the wall and filled with broken glass.

Megan, too, found a new artist she liked: Bill Meek.  A glass artist from Houston, his piece “Catharsis” is in a sun room overlooking a piece by Jesus Moroles outside the building.

Speaking of which, the exterior of the Museum is as intriguing as the interior.  The walkway to the building includes a large, ringed fountain.




Off to the side is a large piece by James Surls, who graduated from Sam Houston State University.


With all the art hitting close to home, we decided to stray outside the box for lunch.  Thus we went to a Vietnamese Restaurant (literally called “Vietnam Restaurant”) in Corpus Christi.  This seemed like an unlikely pairing, but the food was truly good.  I (Megan) ordered the Vietnam Fried Rice, which was delicious; Alex had the Vermicelli Noodles with grilled chicken; and Professor Yawn had the restaurant’s signature “Hot Pot” which, after being slow cooked for 25 minutes was, indeed, hot!  And very good.  It was our favorite restaurant thus far in the trip.

Before leaving Corpus, however, we felt somewhat compelled to visit “Mirador de la Flor,” which is a memorial to Selena, the Tejano singer.  Selena was shot at the age of 23 but she sold more than a million albums in her short career and paved the way for other Hispanic singers.


And with that visit, we closed down our time in Corpus Christi.  Although “hooked” by the beaches, baseball, sea-life, and art, we had business in the Rio Grande Valley, so southward we roamed.

But not before getting drinks at Coffee Wave.  We cannot recommend this enough!  The coffee was good; the Mexican Hot Chocolate was excellent, even on a summer day; and the Chai Tea Latte was amazing!  And with that, we waved goodbye to Corpus Christi!

Moot Court Scrimmage: Aftermath

After an intense 24 hour period competing and observing Moot Court proceedings, the LEAP Ambassadors, Moot Court participants, and members of the pre-law cohort decided to relax a bit, explore the history of Dallas on a Segway, and fill their bellies.

The relaxation involved some downtime at the hotel, followed by an ice-cream treat.

Shortly thereafter, another treat was in order.  We stopped by Segway Nation for a tour of Dallas on a segway.


It was a beautiful time of day, what movie-makers call “magic hour,” and we made the most of it with pictures.


But, of course, with it turning a bit dark, Austin felt he need to serve as a protector of the group, and adopted a secret-service/tough guy look.


At first, not everyone felt totally relaxed…

Segway_Alex_Close_Up_Web…but eventually everyone got the hang of it, and we headed off to see Dallas.

The segway tour took us to Pioneer Plaza, a large outdoor sculpture that consists of 49 bronze steers and 3 riders created by sculptor Robert Sommers.  Note that it appears that Alex is saluting when, in fact, that it is a longhorn projecting in front of her face.


The tour, led by excellent guides Doug and Jack, also took us by I. M. Pei’s Dallas City Hall, where we were able to turn and see the beautiful Dallas skyline which, according to our guides, is regularly listed as one of the five most beautiful in the US.

The tour also took us by the Kennedy assassination site on Elm Street.  The students had a chance to get off the segways and walk to the “X” spots, which mark where the Oswald’s shots hit Kennedy.

JFK_Elm_Students_WebWe also entered the Kennedy Memorial, designed by Philip Johnson, one of the great architects of the 20th Century.

Kennedy_Memorial_Student_WebSpeaking of Johnson, we were also able to go to Thanksgiving Square, a public space he designed in the 1970s as a means of racial and cultural healing.  With a replication of Rockwell’s “Golden Rule” painting…

…and the “Ring of Thanks,” where visitors are encouraged to stand and offer thanks.  From the center of the ring, the sound reverberates, symbolically echoing the many things for which we are thankful.  In our group, thanks went to family, opportunities, school, and even the LEAP Center.

Thanksgiving Square also has a spiral chapel adorned with one of the largest stained glass assemblages in the world.  The glass, designed by Gabriel Loire of France, is designed to become brighter as it ascends and moves to the center.

In the midst of such beauty, it was easy to be thankful.

And with that, we returned to the segway base, where we shed our helmets and headed to Hoffbrau Steaks (thanks for the recommendation, Doug!) and enjoyed a robust end-of-the-day dinner.


But before heading out we gave a few more thanks: to our LEAP Ambassadors, who came to Dallas to cheer on their Moot Court friends; to the Pre-Law cohort, who came to check out the action and consider joining the team for next year; for Kristyn, who decided to stick with the “team” rather than go home; and to our coach, Jean Loveall, who spent a lot of time teaching us the finer points of law.