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Fulton Mansion State Historic Site

Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, a Texas Historical Commission property, is located in Aransas County in the small town of Rockport, about 35 miles north of Corpus Christi. The 2.7-acre coastal site is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The distinctive mansion was restored in 1976-1983 and opened to visitors as a historic house museum in 1983. Today, the doors of the Fulton Mansion are still open to the public, and its library, parlor, dining room, sitting room, bedrooms and bathrooms are available for exploring, offering a rare glimpse into the posh Victorian world of a prominent South Texas family at a time when interior gas lighting and flush-toilets were progressive for this part of Texas. Learn about George Fulton's engineering skills, take a walk through Harriet Fulton's gardens and hear the stories of living in a grand Victorian villa. A gift shop/exhibit room is also on the grounds

Visiting Fulton Mansion

Visitors to Fulton Mansion walk in the Fulton family's footsteps in exploration of their restored, Victorian-era home. Tours of the first and second floors of the mansion occur on the hour. Visitors arriving before the tour begins may wait on the shaded front porch. Visitors may also stroll through Harriet's Garden, located behind the mansion, and peek through the basement windows at their leisure.

A tour of the inside of Fulton Mansion typically takes 45 minutes to one hour. Visitors may want to allow an extra 30 minutes to explore the garden and the architecture of the house. Complimentary garden tour brochures are available at the beginning of the horseshoe path (located at the back of the mansion, away from the water).

Visitor parking is available at the corner of Henderson Street and Fulton Beach Road.

Hours
Guided tour only. Open: Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. and Sunday, 1–3 p.m. All tours begin promptly on the hour. Tour times may become booked in advance, so please call ahead for availability.

Closed: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day

Admission Fees
Adults: $6
Ages 6-18/Students with ID/Adult Tour Groups*: $4 per person
5 and under: free
School Groups*: $1 per student (reservations required)

We accept cash, check or credit card.

Gift Shop/Exhibit Room
The last room on the tour is the gift shop/exhibit room, where visitors will find Victorian-styled collectibles, old-fashioned toys, and Fulton Mansion souvenirs. The room also gives visitors the opportunity to see the pre-restoration state of the mansion.

Special Exhibits
A special exhibit is available every year from mid-June through October, exploring new Fulton stories and objects from the period. For more information, view the event calendar .

Accessibility
The site has a wheelchair lift providing access to the first floor of the mansion. For visitors unable to climb stairs, we have a full-color notebook available illustrating all of the second-floor rooms. All visitors should use caution when exploring the outside of the house and gardens due to uneven paving stones and sidewalks.

Additional Visitor Information
Food, drinks, and public restrooms are not available on site. Picnic tables are located on the south side lawn of the mansion under the shade of a large oak tree. Visitors wishing to use the picnic tables are encouraged to bring picnics, but are responsible for taking any garbage with them. Food and drinks are not allowed inside the house during tours. Plans for the Fulton Mansion Education and History Center are underway. It will provide visitors with access to restrooms and will house new permanent exhibits as well as a gift shop.

For more visitor information, view our FAQs .

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

P.O. Box 100
Austwell, Texas 77950
Phone: 361/286-3559
Fax: 361/286-3722

How to Get There: From Rockport, take Highway 35 north approximately 20 miles. Turn right on FM 774, go approximately 9 miles to FM 2040. Turn right and follow FM 2040 for about 7 miles to refuge entrance.

The Aransas National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 to protect the vanishing wildlife of coastal Texas. It is an ever-changing land and is still being shaped by the waters and storms of the Gulf of Mexico.

This 70,504-acre refuge is made up of the Blackjack Peninsula, named for its scattered blackjack oaks, and three satellite units. Grasslands, live oaks, and redbay thickets cover deep, sandy soils. Ringed by tidal marshes and broken by long, narrow ponds, Aransas is home for cranes, alligators, deer, and many other species of wildlife.

Habitat

Slight changes in elevation help determine what plant communities exist. Rising above the marshes, grasslands are dominated by bluestem and other prairie grasses.

Today these areas are preserved and protected from invading scrub species through controlled burning. Mottes (a grove or clump of trees) of live oak and redbay growing in old sand dunes are stunted and shaped by prevailing gulf winds. These thickets form dense cover, providing shelter for deer, javelina, and feral hogs. Predators stalking the mottes are coyote, bobcat, and raccoon.

Wildlife

Strong winds push the bay waters over low-lying shores, forming brackish tidal marshes among the short, salt-tolerant vegetation. It is this habitat that attracts thousands of migratory birds. On their journey between North and Central America, warblers concentrate on the refuge from mid-April to early May. Mild winters, bay waters, and abundant food supplies attract over 392 species of birds to Aransas, including pelicans, herons, egrets, spoonbills, shorebirds, ducks, and geese.

The endangered whooping crane makes these same saltwater marshes their winter feeding grounds. Productive tidal flats provide clams and crabs for the whoopers to eat.

One of the rarest creatures in North America, the whooping crane is making a comeback from a low of 15 birds in 1941. Whooping cranes nest in Canada during the summer and winter at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. The cranes can usually be seen from the Observation Tower from late October to mid-April. (For information about commercial boat tours to see the cranes and other birds, call the Rockport Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-242-0071.)

Moving inland, the water changes from salty flats to freshwater ponds. These ponds teem with life. Created by rain and ranging in size from puddles to lakes, they are a haven for alligators, turtles, frogs, snakes, and birds.

Species List

Birds of Aransas NWR

Things to do at the Refuge

You will find the refuge to be an excellent place for observing and studying wildlife and plants. The following facilities are available for visitors:

  • 16-mile, paved tour road.
  • Wildlife Interpretive Center.
  • 40-foot observation tower.
  • Several miles of walking trails.
  • Picnic area.

Wildlife Viewing Tips

  • Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife. In warmer climates, little is moving on hot summer afternoons or on windy days.
  • Observe from the sidelines. Leave "abandoned" young animals alone. A parent is probably close by waiting for you to leave. Don't offer snacks; your lunch could disrupt wild digestive systems.
  • Cars make good observation blinds. Drive slowly, stopping to scan places wildlife might hide. Use binoculars or a long lens for a closer look.
  • Try sitting quietly in one good location. Let wildlife get used to your presence. Many animals that have hidden will reappear once they think you are gone. Walk quietly in designated areas, being aware of sounds and smells. Often you will hear more than you will see.
  • Teach children quiet observation. Other wildlife watchers will appreciate your consideration.
  • Look for animal signs. Tracks, scat, feathers and nests left behind often tell interesting stories.

A Few Simple Rules

  • Daily registration is required of all visitors.
  • Pets must be leashed.
  • Please observe speed limits and watch for wildlife crossing roadways.
  • All firearms must be unloaded and broken down and/or cased while on the refuge.

When You Visit

  • The Refuge Public Use Area is open from sunrise to sunset.
  • The Wildlife Interpretive Center is open daily 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.
  • Poisonous snakes are present; watch your step.
  • There is no public camping on the refuge.
  • Mosquito repellant is recommended.
  • There are no facilities on the refuge to provide food or fuel. Hopper's Landing (3 miles) and Tivoli (14 miles) have the closest gas stations. Food, motels, and campgrounds can be found 35 miles away in Rockport, Port Lavaca, and Refugio.
  • For more information on environmental eduction, wildlife, or other activities, please contact the refuge at 361/286-3559 or fw2_rw_aransas@fws.gov .

Volunteering at the Refuge

Volunteers are needed at the refuge to help with visitor services, trail trimming, building and grounds maintenance, construction, custodial duties, office help/computer work, Boy Scout coordination, and some biological work. (Year round)

Six trailer pads with full RV hook-ups are available for residential volunteers. Please contact the refuge for availability.

Rockport Center for the Arts

Rockport Center for the Arts boasts a state-of-the-art main gallery as the result of building renovations and expansions in 1998 and 2000. The two parlor galleries are now dedicated entirely to the works of its member artists, while the main gallery allows the Center to host local, regional, national, and internationally acclaimed artists in both solo and group exhibitions. In 2000 the Garden Gallery was added, allowing the Center for the first time to simultaneously feature three distinct exhibitions, at times displaying over 100 original works of art.

Today the building also houses two visual arts classrooms which are home to numerous workshops, classes, seminars, and open studio sessions. A well-furnished pottery studio is always active, and includes a kiln room which hosts daily firings. Visitors enjoy the art center gift shop where member artists display a wide range of art and craft.

Galleries

Austin Street Gallery 501 S. Austin St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 790-7782
http://www.austinstreetgallery.com Coastal Creations Art Gallery 415 S. Austin Street
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 790-8101
http://www.coastalcreationsart.com Comforts of Home 103 S. Austin St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 727-1471 Dinah Bowman Gallery and Picture Framing 312 5th Ave.
Portland, TX 78374
(361) 643-4922 Hours: M-F 10:00-5:30 Weekends by appt.
Full service Picture Framing Business since 1979.
Pick up, delivery and hanging services available Felder Gallery Tower Center
1726 Hwy 361
Port Aransas, TX 78373
(361) 749-2388
http://www.feldergallery.com Frame of Mine Gallery 1010 Wharf St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 729-0967 Latitude 28^02' Cuisine and Fine Art 105 N. Austin St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 727-9009
http://www.latitude2802.com New E-Mail and Web Site will be coming soon.
A new virtual art gallery offering art by many of Rockport's prominent artists.
Hours: Wed - Sun 2PM - 9PM Main Street Arts 902 E. Main St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 729-2244
Maison et Jardin 507 S. Austin Street
Rockport, TX 78382
steveakin@steveakindesign.com
http://www.steveakindesign.com Monday - Saturday 10-5
Fine Arts, Gifts & Accessories Mathews Gallery & Studios 333 S. Commercial St.
Aransas Pass, TX 78336
(361) 758-1838 Moroles, Inc. 408 W. Sixth St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 729-6747
http://www.moroles.com PoPo's Art Studio, Inc. 404 S. Austin St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 790-5104 Salt Flats Gallery - "4 The Birds" 415 S. Austin St. #9
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 790-9700
http://www.saltflatsphotography.com Simon Michael Gallery 510 E. King St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 729-6233 St. Charles Art Gallery 414 S. Austin St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 790-5313 Wind Way Gallery 203 S. Austin St.
Rockport, TX 78382
(361) 790-8331
info@windwaygallery.com
http://www.windwaygallery.


The Aquarium at Rockport Harbour

361-729-2328

The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor, Inc. is located at 702 Navigation Circle, Rockport, Texas 78382. The Aquarium is a large metal building on the eastern side of Rockport Harbor. Current visiting hours are Thursday through Monday, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Special tours are available upon request for schools, churches, scouts, social and civic groups and other special needs. Admission is free to all. (Dog friendly as well.)

Attendance has been phenomenal, averaging over 1000 visitors per month. In addition to strong local attendance and support, visitors have signed in from all 50 states and 17 foreign countries.

The Rockport Aquarium is Now Available
to be Rented for Private Parties When it is Not Open to the Public.
Contact Annette Hegen at 361-729-0182 to
Make Your Reservations Today!

Aransas Pathways

Aransas County and the Cities of Rockport and Fulton are rich in natural resources.

Our wealth of historic sites, birding opportunities, water-based recreational opportunities and the dedication of the community to their preservation are self evident in the many organizations that have been established to preserve and enjoy them.

And as the gateway to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, many visitors pass through our cities and County to see the main attraction, the endangered Whooping Crane, and the other attractions of the Refuge.

We have fallen behind other communities within the state, including Port Aransas and Corpus Christi, in developing the economic opportunities offered by these attractions

Birding with Aransas Pathways
  • The project will provide new and/or upgraded facilities supporting hundreds of visitors interested in observing a diverse and plentiful array of species of upland birds and waterfowl which are either resident or pass through Aransas County each year.
  • The most notable species is the endangered Whooping Crane which winters in the county.
  • The project will provide parking and informational signage for approximately 45 sites.
  • Included in the project cost is construction of parking lots, viewing stands, observation platforms, boardwalks, photography blinds and design and placement of signs which identify primary seasonal birds and waterfowl with references for more information.
  • It also includes the cost of acquisition of land or conservation easements as well as related legal costs.
Birding Sites

Thirty-plus excellent birding sites have been identified within the county. Some of these sites are already designated on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trai l, many are not.

As a part of the proposed project fact sheets will be developed for each site that will include:

  • a photograph of the site,
  • the site address,
  • GPS location,
  • driving directions from downtown Rockport,
  • availability of parking,
  • any special insight needed with regard to relations with the landowner(s),
  • information about primary seasonal birds and waterfowl with references for more information.

Development needs:

  • Surveys are needed to determine how parking might be accommodated
  • Permission from land owners to visit privately owned sites
  • Signage will be required, similar to historic markers
  • Permits by TX DOT and/or other regulators
  • Land and construction for parking lots if required (easement or purchase)

Everyone who enjoys birds and birding must always respect wildlife , its environment , and the rights of others . In any conflict of interest between birds and birders, the welfare of the birds and their environment comes first.

Code of Birding Ethics

Walk and Bike with Aransas Pathways
  • Birding sites and Historic places will be interconnected by a system of walking paths, sidewalks, and hike and biking trails.
  • These trails range from simple footpaths lined with mulch, and wider paths of asphalt or crushed stone to segments utilizing existing sidewalks along city and county streets and roads. Some segments will use currently undeveloped rights of way. Additional segments will be on land acquired through conservation easements or direct purchase.
  • The trail system will include 12 identified loops which travel throughout the County ranging in length from 1.2 to 15 miles in length.
    • By far the longest trail extends from the Lamar community along Texas Highway 35 bordering the Aransas Wildlife Refuge to the intersection of Highway 35 and Salt Creek, a distance of 15 miles.
    • Other trails connect birding and historic sites within the City of Rockport, Goose Island State Park, the town of Lamar and other locations outside city limits but within the County.
    • One of the best examples is the hike and bike trail, already funded extending from Memorial Park along Tule Creek to the intersection of Tule Creek and Business Highway 35.
    • The project will erect a footbridge across Tule Creek from the terminus of this trail to the existing Shell Crete Park across the creek and it will include the construction of birding trails within the 11 acre park site.
    • Another loop originates at the terminus of this trail in Shell Crete Park and extends to birding sites on Tule Marsh East and thence to Little Bay along Picton Lane.
    • Another typical loop traverses the Heritage District of the City of Rockport linking the old town and its historic buildings.
  • A small kiosk will be located at each trail head for the purpose of describing the birding and historic sites and other points of interest along the route, the length of the trail and a map showing the interconnectivity of the trail with other trail loops.
  • The project costs include acquisition of easements and rights of way when required, purchase of short segments to complete segments if necessary, the construction of trails, the Tule footbridge described above, signage and the kiosk at each trail's head.
Trails and Pathways

The City of Rockport has contracted for a hike and bike trail which will run from Memorial Park, paralleling Tule Ditch for a time, then diverting toward the Aquatic Center and eventually ending at the parking lot near Wal-Mart and the intersection of Tule Creek and Business 35.

There are numerous up to 12 other pathways which can be developed (some of which are already partially developed) linking historic and birding, cultural, art and nature sites which can be used for recreation within the County.

It is envisioned that each Pathway would include a Kiosk, which would act as a trailhead, and would provide maps and information regarding the various attractions along that particular pathway. Also it would include maps guiding the visitor to other pathways and to the central information and resource center perhaps operated in conjunction with existing or planned Chamber facilities

 

 


 




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