bungee jumping

Mother’s Day, South Padre Island and Gravity Park

It’s been a few years, my mother has passed on, but I was recently reminded of an experience on South Padre Island with my family at Gravity Park.

My parents were always good at getting us together as a family. Every few years we would have a family reunion somewhere. This particular time it was on South Padre Island where our business, Padre Island Rentals, is located. Besides, it was easy to get everyone to come to the beach.
As part of our vacation we went to Gravity Park – Reverse Bungee, Miniature Golf, Giant Swing, Go-cart Track and more. [note – bungee jump no longer offered] As we walked into the Gravity Park area, in front of Louis’ Backyard, it’s easy to think you can do it all. Actually doing it… that’s another thing.
Well before I knew what was happening my 60 something mother is over at the Bungee Jump strapping on a harness. She climbed the stairs to the lower level jump platform. (At least she was not taking on the higher jump where they lift you in a cage.) And off the platform she comes!
So here I am, all the bravado of “I can do anything here” in my mind, in my face and in my walk – and my mother just bungee jumped like it was another day at the beach. I swallowed hard and proceeded to find a harness that would match my girth; I am not a small person weighing in at nearly 300 lbs. The staff at Gravity Park pulled out the thickest bungee cord they had.
On the platform looking down my life did not flash before my eyes, but I did suddenly grow feathers. Unfortunately, like a chicken, not enough to fly. I could not back down now, after all, my mother had just done it.
A frightening moment to be sure – only to have my fears realized. It was a long trip down. Time slowed to a crawl. I could see the air bag below coming at me. I can almost remember the pattern on top. It kept coming, and coming, and coming, until I hit it with some force. Their best bungee cord displayed elasticity like never before, but it did not break. I was not hurt beyond a little abrasive burn from the air bag. In better shape was my ego, having made the leap and preserved my pride.
I will never forget that time with my mother. This weekend is Mother’s Day. I encourage you to make memories with your mothers, and what better place than the beaches of South Padre Island.

Causeway to South Padre Island

UTRGV Coastal Studies Lab: Winter Seminar Series


UTRGV is hosting a Winter Seminar Series every Saturday until February 27th. Admission is free with an impressive schedule full of exciting presentations on a variety of current research topics by UTRGV College of Sciences faculty and graduate students. The seminars will take place at the Coastal Studies Lab. See below information for the address. The seminars are open to the public with limited space. Registration by email is required to attend. Email: coastal@utrgv.edu to register. Please include your first and last name, phone number, and the date of the seminar you would like to attend. Put Seminar in the subject line.

Admission is FREE and refreshments will be served!

 Sat, Jan 23: 10 am to 11:30 am
“Cryptic tails: the hunt for the endangered black-spotted newt.”
Evan Bare, UTRGV graduate research assistant
“Trash talk: NOAA Clean Valley – Clean Gulf marine debris education program.”
Stephanie DuBois, UTRGV graduate research assistant
Sat, Feb 6: 10 am to 11:00 am
“Vibrio cholerae: human pathogen AND bacterial predator?”
Daniele Provenzano, Ph.D., Microbiologist
Sat, Feb 13: 9 am to 10 am
“The good and the bad side of algae.”
Hudson DeYoe, Ph.D., CSL Director/Marine ecologist
Sat, Feb 20: 10 am to 11:30 am
“Exploring the twilight zone: A look into mesophotic coral reefs and their fish communities.”
Linda Jordan, UTRGV graduate research assistant
“Coastal squeeze: plants and animals surviving between development and encroaching seas.”
Shelby Bessette, UTRGV graduate research assistant
Sat, Feb 27: 9 am to 10:30 am
“A novel method for detecting red tide blooms with satellite Landsat 8 images.”
Aslan, UTRGV research associate
“Seeing the unseen: Using sonar to study seagrasses of the Laguna Madre.”
Austin Greene, UTRGV graduate research assistant
UTRGV Coastal Studies Lab
located in Isla Blanca Park
100 Marine Lab Dr South Padre Island 78597
(956) 761-2644

South Padre Island Market Days

market days


South Padre Island’s 20th annual SPI Market Days is back starting January 22nd – January 24th at the  South Padre Island Convention Centre. The event will be recurring daily Friday and Saturday from 9 AM-5 PM and on Sunday from 10 AM-4 PM. Shop for premiere gifts and treasures from all over the world. There will be featured hand crafted jewelry, fashionable clothing, cosmetics, fragrances, unique arts and crafts, gourmet treats, health products, home decor, and so much more!


Dune Restoration Volunteer Event



Come out to Bougainvillea Circle on Gulf Blvd (2700 Block) on Saturday, January 16th starting at 9:00 AM. Give back to the beaches that give you timeless memories. We will be planting native vegetation to enhance the city’s continuous dune line. The city of South Padre Island is sponsoring this volunteer event and will be providing everything needed. Please dress for the weather and we will see you there!


2nd Annual “End of the Road” Beach Cleanup




Sea Turtle, Inc. and Respeta tu Playa Group are teaming up for the second annual “End of the Road” beach cleanup!

The event will take place this Saturday, January 16, and will cover 3 miles of prime sea turtle nesting area. It will take place from 10 AM to 2 PM. Respeta tu Playa will be registering volunteers at County Road 100 Beach Access 6, which is approximately six miles north of Sea Turtle, Inc. Registration begins at 10am and the event runs until 2pm.

It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales, and other marine mammals die each year from ocean pollution. The need for volunteers is great.

Volunteers can pick up their certificates of participation the day of the event.


SPI Kite Fest



Get ready for the revival of SPI Kite Fest! SPI Kite Fest brings together some of the most talented kite flying teams and individuals from all over the United States from February 5th-7th.