Corpus Christi is a coastal city in the South Texas region of the U.S. state of Texas. The county seat of Nueces County also extends into the Aransas, Kleberg, and San Patricio counties. The metropolitan area population in 2011 was 463,577. The population was 307,953, at the July 2011 US Census estimate, making it the eighth most populous city in the state of Texas. It is the principal city of the tri-county Corpus Christi Metropolitan Statistical Area, as well as the larger Corpus Christi-Kingsville Combined Statistical Area. The translation from Latin of the city's name is Body of Christ, given to the settlement by the Spanish, in honor of the Blessed Sacrament (Eucharist). The city has been nicknamed the "Sparkling City by the Sea", particularly in literature promoting tourism. The city is home to the Port of Corpus Christi, the 5th largest port in the nation and is served by the Corpus Christi International Airport.
The city is home to a number of popular destinations for both tourists and residents. The official visitor and tourism information organization is the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau. Some of the most visited attractions are located on North Beach, where the Texas State Aquarium and the USS Lexington Museum on the Bay are located. The USS Lexington was also part of the set for the 2000 film Pearl Harbor. Corpus Christi's Museum District is located near the USS Lexington. Some attractions located in the museum district are the Museum of Asian Cultures, the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, the South Texas Institute for the Arts, and the Harbor Playhouse Theatre, one of the oldest continually operating community theatres in Texas. Heritage Park is also in the museum district, where a number of older restored houses can be found. The downtown area, of which the museum district is a part of, is home to skyscrapers such as One Shoreline Plaza, company offices, various shops, a very popular Center of marinas, and Mirador de la Flor. Downtown also is home of the Texas Surf Museum, which explores the history of surfing and focuses on surf culture along Texas' 367-mile (591 km) coast, as well as K Space Contemporary, a non-profit art organization dedicated to promoting and presenting local, regional and national contemporary art.
The Corpus Christi Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, also located in the city, hosts gardening programs from time to time. On Oso Bay near the Pharaoh Valley subdivision is the Hans and Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is known for sea bird watching. The nearby Pharaohs golf course also serves as a haven for coastal and migratory birds. Directly east of Corpus Christi are Padre Island and Mustang Island, home to various municipal, state, and national parks, most notably the Padre Island National Seashore. The city is also near King Ranch, one of the World's largest ranches, upon which the movie Giant was based. The city also celebrate the annual Buccaneer Days Carnival, which is typically held downtown. S. Padre Island Drive (locally abbreviated as "S.P.I.D.", with the letters pronounced individually), is the city's main retail corridor, with two shopping malls, La Palmera (formerly Padre Staples Mall), and Sunrise Mall. Also, a number of other large shopping centers, small strip centers, and restaurants can be found throughout the city. Corpus Christi also is the home of Midget Ocean Racing Fleet, also known as M.O.R.F., which promotes sailing in the coastal Bend. The Wednesday night races held by M.O.R.F. are the longest-running weekly races in the United States.
The majority of the population is employed in the Services, Wholesale and Retail Trades and Government sectors. Corpus Christi enjoys a below-average unemployment rate of 7.0% as of July 2012. The Port of Corpus Christi, which is the fifth largest U.S. port and deepest inshore port on the Gulf of Mexico, handles mostly oil and agricultural products. Much of the local economy is driven by tourism and the oil & petrochemicals industry. In 2005, the Port was ranked as the 47th largest in the world by cargo tonnage. Corpus Christi is home to two installations of the United States military: the Corpus Christi Army Depot, and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. Combined, these installations provide 6,200 civilian jobs to the local economy, making them the single largest employer in the city. Corpus Christi Army Depot, located on NAS Corpus Christi, is the largest helicopter repair facility in the world. Corpus Christi is the original home of the headquarters of Whataburger, a fast food restaurant operator and franchiser with 650 stores in ten states and Mexico; however, the company relocated its headquarters to San Antonio in 2009. Other large employers include CHRISTUS Spohn Health System at 5,400 local employees, the Corpus Christi Independent School District with 5,178, H-E-B at 5,000, and Bay Ltd. at 2,100.Other companies based in Corpus Christi include Stripes Convenience Stores and AEP Texas. Corpus Christi became the first major city to offer city wide free wi-fi[when?] in order to allow remote meter reading after a meter reader was attacked by a dog. In 2007, the network was purchased by Earthlink for $5.5 million, and stopped being a free service on May 31, 2007.
Corpus Christi is served by Corpus Christi International Airport and Interstate 37. U.S. Highway 77 connects the city to Brownsville and Victoria. Texas State Highway 44 is a main thoroughfare that connects Corpus Christi to Laredo and the western part of South Texas by way of U.S. Highway 59, Interstate 35, and U.S. Highway 83. The inner city public transportation is provided by Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority with its 28 bus routes. Corpus Christi once had a streetcar system functioning from 1910 to 1931 and a railway station (passenger service ended in 1965). In the Early 2000s, there were plans to reintroduce a trolley system back to downtown Corpus Christi, but any plans have since gone dead. Despite the convenience of a large harbor, the city does not have a passenger port. Plans to bring a cruise service are pending. The city is accessed by two major bridges; the Harbor Bridge (US 181) and the John F. Kennedy Causeway (PR 22). Both bridges are maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation.
Colleges and universities:
Corpus Christi is home to several institutions of higher learning: Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Del Mar College, Our Lady of Corpus Christi, a private Roman Catholic university, and numerous vocational schools including Southern Careers Institute, South Texas Vo-Tech, Career Centers of Texas-Corpus Christi, and Vogue Cosmetology School. Corpus Christi is also home to the South Texas School of Christian Studies located on Ward Island alongside Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The school serves as an extension campus on the undergraduate level for Hardin Simmons University and on the graduate level for Logsdon Seminary of Hardin-Simmons University. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMUCC or TAMU-CC in short) is a component of the Texas A&M University System. It was formerly known by the following four names: Corpus Christi State University (CCSU), Texas A&I University at Corpus Christi, and University of Corpus Christi.
Del Mar College is a local community college begun in the 1940s at a location behind Wynn Seale Jr. H. S. The main campus began with the administration building which was constructed after World War II on Del Mar. The college grew to encompass a good portion of a residential addition called Southmoreland built from the Bohemian farm lands in the late 1930s. Del Mar now includes a West campus located in area of Corpus Christi that once was Cliff Maus Airport. Southern Careers Institute offers career training at two Corpus Christi locations, primarily in the medical, business, and cosmetic fields.
Five school districts provide primary and secondary education for area residents: Corpus Christi Independent School District (CCISD), Calallen ISD, Flour Bluff ISD, Tuloso-Midway ISD, and West Oso ISD. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi provides the primary and secondary education for Catholic schools. Several Open Enrollment Charter Schools in Corpus Christi. These public schools are: Accelerated Learning Center, Cesar E Chavez Academy, Corpus Christi College Preparatory HS, Corpus Christi Montessori School, Dr ML Garza-Gonzalez Charter School, GCCLR Institute of Technology, Premier HS of Corpus Christi, Richard Milburn Academy, School of Science and Technology, Seashore Learning Center, and Seashore Middle Academy.
The city's location beside Corpus Christi Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and Laguna Madre provides opportunities for water sports and nature tourism. Because of the abundance of fish, waterfowl hunting is available in the region for duck, geese, coot, and teal. White-winged dove and mourning dove are also hunted on private leases.
The city has one of the highest average wind speeds of coastal cities in North America Combined with the Bay Front area along Ocean Drive, making the city an important destination for wind sports such as kite boarding, wind surfing, kite flying and sailing. The Corpus Christi Skatepark opened on February 17, 2007. It is located in Cole Park on the shoreline of the Corpus Christi Bay near downtown. The12,000-square-foot (1,100 m2) concrete park includes a skating bowl, and a street course with stairs, railings and flat surfaces.