Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park
Things to Do
As part of the World Birding Center, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park is a world-class destination for bird-watching. The Rio Grande Valley hosts one of the most spectacular convergences of birds on earth with more than 500 species documented in this unique place. Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park alone has an impressive list of 340 species recorded within the park’s boundaries. Birders have a chance to see migratory birds during their yearly migrations over the valley including flocks of thousands of hawks from the park’s Hawk Tower in the spring and fall. Some birders travel to the Bentsen to see bird species they can’t find anyplace else in the country - from the Green Jay and the Buff-bellied Hummingbird to the Great Kiskadee and the Altamira Oriole.
The visitor center has a bilingual (English/Spanish) exhibit hall, gift shop, meeting room and administrative offices--all surrounded by butterfly gardens and hummingbird feeders. Visitors can take our tram shuttle, ride bikes or walk through the park. A two-story high Hawk Observation Tower with a 210-foot-long wheelchair-accessible ramp gives visitors a bird’s-eye view of the canopy as well as a peek into Mexico. Two enclosed bird blinds and a birding wall allow visitors to see birds up close and watch their behaviors. Over eight miles of trails with bird feeding stations and water features offer a variety of opportunities to encounter wildlife inside the park.
Bird walks are a great opportunity for visitors to meet the wildlife in the park. Other guided tours feature butterflies, dragonflies and night tours as well as programs for teachers, students and young naturalists. Make sure to check the Events Calendar for special events and workshops scheduled throughout the year. Ask about the Junior Ranger Explorer Packs available for free checkout at the park!
February 2014 Interpretive Programs
Fun and informative programs for all ages! Scheduled programs are free with park admission. School Field Trips & Special Programs are available upon request (fees apply), please contact the park for details.
- Hawk Watch - Daily, 8:30-noon (weather permitting) from March 1 - April 30
This takes place at the Hawk Tower. Using keen eyesight, binoculars and spotting scopes, volunteer birders and naturalists will help keep count of the number of raptors migrating north to their breeding grounds.
- Bird Walk - Sundays, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Bentsen is a top destination for birders. Park Naturalists will lead you on a guided walk showing off some of the South Texas specialty birds such as the Altamira Oriole, Green Jay, Couch’s Kingbird, Chachalaca, Ringed Kingfisher, and Great Kiskadee.
- Nature Walk - Mondays, 2-3 p.m.
Join one of our Park Naturalists for a closer look at nature’s most beautiful winged jewels while exploring the gardens surrounding the headquarters. Learn more about the captivating habitat that was developed in order to attract the diversity of native species found in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.
- Dragonfly Walk - Thursdays, 2-4 p.m.
Join one of our Park Naturalists as we discover nature’s most fearsome and exquisite creatures, the dragonfly. Our naturalist will lead you on a walk to visit some of the aquatic habitats in search of a variety of dragonflies and damselflies. Learn what makes these insects a feared predator underwater and in the air.
- Creatures of the Night - Saturdays, 7-9 p.m.
Explore Bentsen State Park after dark as Naturalists guide you through a unique nighttime nature walk in search of Common Pauraques, owls, bobcats, coyotes, glowing scorpions, Giant Toads and more, all while being serenaded by the creatures of the night! Limit 20 participants. Pre-registration required.
- Birds & Butterflies of the Rio Grande - Sat. March 15, 2-3:15 p.m.
In the Rio Grande Meeting Room. Bentsen State Park Volunteers, Ron & Mary Renk, will be presenting a special program featuring the numerous specialty and rare birds that they have observed over the past five years here in the Rio Grande Valley. Also included will be the South Padre migration fallout that occurred during the Spring of 2013.
- Check the Events Calendar for other special events and workshops
The Texas State Park Store "Algunas Plumas" offers a variety of camping supplies, outdoor equipment, field guides, gifts, ice, and food items. The store also rents the following equipment for use at the park.
The World Birding Center is based on a joint partnership between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Rio Grande Valley communities, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. It consists of a network of nine distinctly different birding sites, set along a 120-mile historic river road – each sponsored by one of the Valley’s nine partner communities.