We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“refurbishing” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sabal Palm Sanctuary

Sabal Palm Sanctuary
8435 Sabal Palm Rd, Brownsville, TX (Formerly Sabal Palm Audubon Center and Sanctuary)
+1 956-541-8034
Improve this listing
Ranked #3 of 12 Attractions in Brownsville
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
Activities: Birdwatching
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Cradled in a bend of the Rio Grande, this 527-acre preserve is home to one of the last stands of old-growth Sabal Palm forest in the United States as well as one of the few remaining historic river plantations in the region. Over 4 miles of hiking trails lead visitors through the palm forest, wetland board walks, river observation deck, and multiple bird blinds. Green Jays and Chachalacas frequent our feeders, Armadillos rummage our trails, Least Grebes and Green Kingfishers hunt the wetlands, and Great Horned Owl calls haunt the forest. The recently restored 4,000 sq ft 1892 Rabb Plantation home now serves as our new Sabal Palm Sanctuary visitor center. Take a stroll through the grove, a short walk down to the Rio Grande, or join us for one of our guided birding walks or history tours (seasonal, typically November thru March - please call for schedule).
Lovettsville, Va
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

They've done an amazing job of bringing the house back to life.
The sanctuary is right on the Rio Grande and you can look directly into Mexico from the viewing shelter. There are many places to view all kinds of birds, from the migratory ones to the permanent residents.
The flowering trees and plants attract hummingbirds and butterflies galore! The people manning the center are all very well versed in the sanctuary's flora and fauna.
Bobcats are seen regularly and ocelots have been photographed by cameras located on game trails.

All in all, a great stop for visitors and locals alike!


Visited January 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

37 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brownsville, Texas
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Easy Birding”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2013 via mobile

I'm lucky enough to live here in Brownsville, and this is easily the best birding place here. All you have to do is sit at the visitor center and tally up your list. The paths are nice and the type of birds change throughout the park. There are almost always Altimara Oriels, Green Jays, Plain Chachalacas, Green Kingfishers among many, many other birds. I cannot recommended this place enough. Thank you for reading.

Visited September 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Green Valley, Arizona
Top Contributor
255 reviews 255 reviews
118 attraction reviews
Reviews in 152 cities Reviews in 152 cities
214 helpful votes 214 helpful votes
“What a Thrill”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2013

My first visit to this magnificant 557 acre birding paradise was on the morning of April 12, 2013. I instantly fell in love with the peacefulness with the only sounds those of nature. Many experienced birders had already assembled on the deck outside the visitor center and welcomed a novice like me. Among the Valley specialty birds we saw were the olive sparrow, buff bellied hummingbird, and green jay. Most exciting was the accidental crimson collared grosbeak. There are numberous hiking trails in the area and a butterfly garden, but I preferred to stay with the experts and learn from them. On the way in you pass the 1892 Plantation House that is being restored and will open as the new visitor center later this year. Although this was my first visit, it will not be my last.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brownsville, Texas
Top Contributor
71 reviews 71 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
95 helpful votes 95 helpful votes
“Magnificent place for serious birders!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

I went to the Sabal Palm Audubon Center and Sanctuary and stepped into an amazing world of birders who had come from throughout the world to see rare birds that settle in the Sabal Palm Audubon Sanctuary at certain times when the north wind blows. On the porch outside the birding center is porch where birders with amazing cameras and binoculars, and even more amazing stories of where they had been and where they were going. Everyone seemed happy to help a novice birder. I got there early and saw birds that the experts there said that they had searched for years to see. One bird was a female-plumaged Crimson-collared Grosbeak After a few hours, the wind changed, and the birds and the birders left. Recommendation s- look at their web page and find out when is the best time to come. On the way there, you will go through a huge border fence - do not worry - you are not going into Mexico! Check into the visitor center and pay the $5 fee and get the information you need to begin a great experience.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
165 reviews 165 reviews
51 attraction reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
“A birding mecca, despite the drought.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2013

Sabal Palm has been a top birding site for years, and this was our first visit. True, it is showing some wear and tear, not least from the current drought, but it is still well worth a visit. Feeders around the visitor centre were active, with the usual Green Jays, Olive Sparrow, Golden fronted Woodpecker, and Hummingbirds (saw both Ruby throated and Buff bellied). Unfortunately, we missed the Crimson Collared Grosbeak that had been seen earlier.

Visited February 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Sabal Palm Sanctuary also viewed

Brownsville, Texas Gulf Coast
Brownsville, Texas Gulf Coast

Been to Sabal Palm Sanctuary? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Sabal Palm Sanctuary, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.