Parks/Open Space

South Texas Ecotourism Center

Laguna Vista, Texas

Creating a hub for ecotourism, environmental education, and connectivity

The Coastal Rio Grande Valley has long been a well-known destination among nature enthusiasts and scientists for its special confluence of desert, riverine, and coast geographies. However, the watery landscapes restrict access to visitors between sites, making it difficult to find a cohesive experience. Community leaders saw a development opportunity to build a center that not only allows visitors to experience the ecological and cultural heritage of the land, but also stands as a central place to unite the 420-mile Caracara Trail with local communities and nearby towns.

We collaborated with a multidisciplinary team to plan, design, and implement the South Texas Ecotourism Center as a hub for ecotourism in the Rio Grande Valley. Designed with a focus on sustainability, the visitor center is integrated into the 10-acre site amongst a moat, weirs, aqueduct-like “arroyito”, and a modified natural river cutoff aimed at capturing and recycling stormwater. Residents walk among loma hills, lagoons, and distinct landscapes that provide critical habitat to many migratory and resident wildlife species. At the pinnacle of the experience, sits a boardwalk that rises 30 feet above the landscape and provides sweeping views of the wetlands and coastal prairies.

Services Provided: Park Planning, Sustainable Development, Landscape Architecture, Public Facilitation and Outreach, Permitting, Construction Observation


  • Honor Award in Design (Constructed, Public), ASLA Texas


South Texas Ecotourism Center, Cameron County


Megamorphosis Inc. (Prime), Mejia & Rose International, Green Rubiano & Associates, Ethos Engineering, Wrighton Johnson Haddon & Williams Inc, CORE Design, Scott Clarke Designs, McCampbell Irrigation, Mike Heep/Heep’s Native Plant Nursery, Noble Texas Builders, Southern Landscapes