Welcome to Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley
One of top birding destinations in the country, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in deep, South Texas well deserves its status as headquarters of the World Birding Center. Birders across the nation know Bentsen as a treasure trove of "Valley specialties", tropical birds found nowhere else in the United States. The 760-acre Bentsen - Rio Grande Valley State Park, together with over 1,700 acres of adjoining U.S. Fish and Wildlife refuge tracts, promises a year-round nature adventure in the richest birding area north of the Mexican border.
Constructed of layer upon layer of sediments by centuries of Rio Grande flooding, the land at Bensten- Rio Grande Valley State Park is a rich and fertile alluvial plain. Native shrubs and forbs are shaded by Cedar Elm, Sugar Hackberry, Rio Grande Ash, Texas Ebony and Anacua trees. The habitat at Bentsen is especially valuable as very few riparian woodlands remain intact along the Rio Grande.
As one of the larger tracts of Rio Grande floodplain forest remaining in this area, Bentsen is a magnet for the "Valley specialties" that make this park famous. Green Jays & Plain Chachalacas congregate regularly at feeding stations within the park. Other neo-tropical varieties such as Ferruginous Pygmy-owl, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Clay-colored Thrush, Hook-billed Kite, and Gray Hawk are also likely. Virtual clouds of migrating Swainson's and Broad-winged Hawks are a popular spring and fall spectacle.
Learn and Discover
Bentsen is a great place to begin a south Texas birding adventure. Bird walks offer our visitors a chance to see wildlife in their natural habitats. Other guided tours at Bentsen feature butterflies, dragonflies and night tours as well as programs for teachers, students and young naturalists. Make sure to check the program calendar for special events and workshops scheduled throughout the year.
The Visitor’s Center has a bilingual (English/ Spanish) exhibit hall, park store, meeting room and administrative offices - all of which are surrounded by butterfly gardens and hummingbird feeders. Visitors can take our transportation tram, ride bikes or walk through the park. A two-story observation tower 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 seven miles of trails with bird feeding stations and water features offer a variety of opportunities to encounter wildlife inside the park.
Click on Bird Icon above to navigate to desired flyway destination!
1. Head southeast on US-83 S/N Grant St toward Bravo Blvd/TX-200 Spur
Continue to follow US-83 S
2.Turn right at US-83 BUS E
3.Turn right at Bentsen State Park Rd 43/Farm-To-Market Rd 2062 S
Continue to follow Farm-To-Market Rd 2062 S
4. Continue onto Bentsen State Park Rd 43/Park Rd 43
Continue to follow Park Rd 43
5. Keep left at the fork
6. Bentsen Rio Grande Valley
Mission, Texas 78572
1. Take US-77 N/US-83 N (Continue to follow US-83 N) Approx. 50 mi.
2. Take the US-83 BUS exit toward Inspiration Rd.
3. Merge onto W Expy 83
4. Slight left at US-83 BUS W
5. Turn left at Bentsen State Park Rd 43/Farm-To-Market Rd 2062 S
Continue to follow Farm-To-Market Rd 2062 S
6. Continue onto Bentsen State Park Rd 43/Park Rd 43
(Continue to follow Park Rd 43)
7. Keep left at the fork
8. Bentsen Rio Grande Valley
Mission, Texas 78572
The park is under a burn ban. No ash producing fires, of any kind, are allowed. Containerized fuel stoves are currently allowed for cooking only.
February 2015 Interpretive Programs
Fun and informative programs for all ages! Scheduled programs are free with park admission. School field trips and special programs are available upon request (fees apply); please contact park for details.
Sundays: Bentsen Bird Walk 8:30am - 10:30am
Mondays: Nature Walk 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Tuesdays: Beginner’s Butterfly Walk 2:00-4:00pm
Wednesdays: Bentsen Bird Walk 8:30am - 10:30am
Thursdays: Beginner’s Dragonfly Walk 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Fridays: Beginner’s Bird Walk 8:30-10:30am
Saturdays: Creatures of the Night (except Feb 21st) 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Limited participants. Call 956-584-9156 to reserve your spot.
Wildlife of Bentsen State Park – Special Program
Saturday, February 7th 2:00-3:00pm
Take a photographic journey and see amazing images of nature and animals during, State Park Volunteer, Ron Renk's presentation of his program "Wildlife of Bentsen State Park".
Become a Junior Ranger
Saturday, February 21st 2:00-3:30pm
Children who spend time in nature are healthier, happier, and smarter! Join us as we help kids learn about nature and earn their Junior Ranger Badge, by drawing, writing, and observing wildlife.
Saturday, February 21st 6:00-8:00pm
Join us for a special evening learning about the splendor of the night sky. This program will begin in the Rio Grande Meeting Room and cover the basics of stargazing, the importance of preserving the night sky and ways you can help. After the presentation, spend time in the beautiful courtyard gardens investigating the starry night through telescopes and binoculars. Pre-registration required. This is a free program with limited space, call 956-584-9156 to reserve your spot today!
Digital Nature Photography 102
Saturday, February 28th 9:00am-4:00pm
"Be one with your camera" and join Park Volunteer, Bill Supulski for introductory classes in nature photography for people with point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras. Will break for lunch, so please bring a sack lunch to enjoy in the park.
Kids ages 7-12 can learn about the natural world around them when they participate in the Texas State Parks Junior Ranger Program and by completing activities in the Junior Ranger Journal. Pick one up today at the Visitor's Center and your kids will have fun learning how to protect Texas' special wild places. Also available to checkout at the Visitor's Center is the Junior Ranger Explorer Pack. This is a great tool to have to help complete the Junior Ranger Journal! (Free)
Park Operation Hours
When the visitor center is closed, please pay at self-pay station beside the main gate into the park.
Nine Unique Locations
Calendar of EventsVisit our Calendar of Events Page!
Join UsVolunteer opportunities available here!
State Park Map
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader here.
Find your Way
Your Experience Includes:
Butterfly Watching Links:
Dragonfly Watching Links: