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“Rio Grande birders paradise”

Sabal Palm Sanctuary
Ranked #2 of 28 things to do in Brownsville
Certificate of Excellence
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).
Winnipeg, Canada
Level Contributor
40 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Rio Grande birders paradise”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2014

A hidden treasure for bird watching in south Texas. The historical Rabb Mansion has been restored for use as the new visitor centre. A beautiful facility and helpful staff. We were very fortunate to see a nesting great horned owl beside the center thanks to staff placing a scope focused on the female owl. The trails are easy to walk and well marked. The feeding stations attracted many interesting species including chachalakas, buff breasted hummingbirds, green jays, hooded orioles olive sparrows, golden fronted woodpeckers, catbirds, white tipped doves and curve billed thrashers. On the wetlands we saw BW teal, shovelers, coots, pied bill and least grebes, bittern and rough winged swallows. The walk down to the Rio Grande was nice but few birds over that way. Lots of prickly white poppy in bloom. We enjoyed our pic nic lunch out on the veranda and added our observations to the chalk board list at the centre. Highly recommend this stop for those that enjoy wildlife and hiking. Bring your mosquito repellant or that provided by the center.

Visited March 2014
3 Thank Rick W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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104 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brandon,Manitoba Canada
Level Contributor
54 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Lots of signage”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 16, 2014

We loved the sanctuary the minute we drove up infront of the plantation house. We signed in, got our map and directions we'd need for a fun day of exploring. Found a comfortable table on the veranda and ate our picnic lunch before heading out. The paths were very well marked and paths very easy to walk. We put in a lot of steps and took tons of photos. I watch the webcam on my iPad now every time l sit to eat. When we got back to the visitor centre the fellow at the front showed us the spotting scope so we could see the Great Horner Owl on her nest. That was very nice of him, thank you. This is one of our favorite Sanctuarys to visit.

Visited March 2014
5 Thank LavenderTwin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tucson, Arizona
Level Contributor
95 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Quiet and peaceful”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 15, 2014

We live in the Rio Grande Valley and have been to Sabol Palms previously BBF (before border fence). We decided to make the trip today. Upon arriving we found the new visitors center is in an old mansion which has now been restored. The trails were as we remembered, beautiful, tranquil and quiet. It's a great place to spend an afternoon.

Visited March 2014
3 Thank Paul4093
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Bay, Canada
Level Contributor
67 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Beautiful Park”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 12, 2014 via mobile

We have been to all the birding sites in the Rio Grande Valley, and this one is in our top three. We loved the variety of birds at the main birding/feeding station and that they have a webcam that can be accessed through the app Ustream, that has let us enjoy the birds even when we aren't there. The trails are beautifully marked and so easy to walk on. The different biomes are a treat and the potential for seeing a unique variety of birds and other wildlife, is great.
We had our picnic lunch on the verandah of Rabb Plantation House, overlooking the Butterfly garden. In time, the butterfly garden will attract many varieties of butterflies and moths.
I would highly recommend this site for any avid and serious birders and lovers of nature.

Visited March 2014
4 Thank Lisa C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Fresnos, Texas
Level Contributor
65 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“For the Birds”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 7, 2014

This small park is located right alongside the Rio Grande, even overlooking the river from platforms. It is an outstanding place to view the many species of birds that both live here and migrate through. Some are rare, some beautiful, some both!

Visited February 2014
1 Thank travel4funaurora_OH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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