Jurassic to Joplin
Did you know our area has centuries of stories from Native American lore to rock legend? Texas’ and Louisiana’s Gulf Coast region covers adventures in paleontology, petroleum and personality. It’s all at Museum of the Gulf Coast. Head straight to the sports Hall of Fame, if that’s your thing, or go where they play the music. Spend the day. Now let us share some not-to-be-missed highlights.
1. Listen Up. Hear the Music?
Ms. Janis Joplin, world-famous singer, was born right here in Port Arthur and fans come from around the globe to honor her spirited personality. The Music Hall of Fame features a range of performers and writers who helped make our area known for rock, blues, swamp pop, country, rap, zydeco and blues. Tex Ritter, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, The Big Bopper and Tracy Byrd are tips of the musical iceberg.
2. Serious About Sports
Have you ever heard Texans are wild for football? Coaches Jimmy Johnson and Bum Phillips and NFL players such as Jamaal Charles being from our area. Of course we touchdown. Baseball, wrestling, basketball and other athletes from our area display their jerseys, trophies, programs etc. in the museum’s Sports Hall of Fame. Olympian and professional golfer Babe Didrikson Zaharias was born in PA.
3. Notable People Gallery
Actor G.W. Bailey from “M*A*S*H,” activist Karen Silkwood and entrepreneur Arthur Stilwell (Port Arthur’s namesake) join politicians, artists and business greats. Actress Evelyn Keyes even arranged for her ashes to be displayed here. Pop artist Robert Rauschenberg has his own gallery within the museum featuring his international projects and a Grammy-winning Talking Heads album package design
4. Texas Navy Maritime Exhibit
Ships pass right in view of the museum and the port is nearby. Naturally Port Arthur’s maritime history is honored in this interactive Texas Navy Maritime exhibit. Learn, crawl around the “boat” with the kids and sing like a pirate along with the video. Look up toward the giant Fresnel lens from the Sabine Banks lighthouse.
5. Spanning Mural
One of the largest murals in the south spans a first floor wall with our story from dinosaurs to the discovery of oil. This highlight is a favorite of so many that also include a 13.5 foot taxidermy alligator that returned from the dead. Ask them how!
Here’s one more thing. Do not rush through the gift shop just to get to the gator selfie station. Explore the shop’s Janis T-shirts, stuffed critters like the ones that live in our bayous and books by local authors including all-things-Cajun expert Jim LaBove. These make unique souvenirs for friends and will remind you to come back and visit us soon… for the restaurants. #flavorsofpatx