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Laredo Birding Festival 2017

Visitors are invited to share in the passion and challenge of admiring wildlife in and around Laredo!
The Laredo Birding Festival (LBF) 2017 attendees will experience a broad range of field trips, a birding track set up with the efficacy and mobility that lends itself to small and medium-sized birding groups. Thirteen daily field trips from February 8-11, 2017, all hosted from the historic La Posada Hotel, make this event uniquely urban-based. Yet attendees also come away with a rural get-away experience included in each and every day. It comes with the exclusive opportunity to see and immortalize south Texas fowl, flora and fauna like never before!
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The event kicks off on Wednesday, February 8, 2017, at the Laredo Center for the Arts, during the Birds, Beer and Cheer (and art exhibit opening) from 6:00-9:00 p.m. that will also allow attendees to take in the winning entries of the Birds of the Brush Art Contest.

Local experts from our Monte Mucho Audubon Society, paired with paid professional trip leaders that know their stuff can assist outdoor enthusiasts catch a glimpse of those “south Texas specialties,” like the White-collared seedeater. Each day, groups report back their findings and the potential to spot up to 240 species exist during the event because Laredo and surrounding counties are home to hundreds of migratory and local species during this time of the year.
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Festival attendees will get to take in local public parks and trails such as Las Palmas nature trail, river vega trails, North Central Park and Lake Casa Blanca. Other locations that show off the regional assets of the area include private ranches set to take in trekkers seeking the thrill of a sighting. The LBF is made possible through the partnership and participation of the Monte Mucho Audubon Society and the Rio Grande International Study Center.
The Festival is filling up fast for this year, but it is an annual event offered regularly every February. To see if you can still sign up, log onto www.laredobirdingfestival.org or call 956-718-1063 or email laredobirdingfestival@rgisc.org.
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December 22, 2016

Due to its border location, it’s not a surprise that Laredo’s local food and culture is heavily influenced by Mexico, its neighbor to the south, but its Texan roots also play a big role. That is why in Laredo you can find a Tex-Mex culture that’s unique to the area. Here are five of the he top ways to experience Laredo’s food and culture.
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Vega’s Interiores Mejicanos 
  1. Shopping
Don’t leave Laredo without checking out the authentic goods from some of the Mexican import stores on San Bernardo Avenue. One of the top stores worth checking out is Basket & Pottery Alley, easily identified by its purple exterior paint. Step inside and browse through rows of gorgeous pottery along with fun gift ideas like sombreros, piñatas, chili pepper decorations and accessories. For high-quality pieces to add to your home, visit Vega’s Interiores Mejicanos, which specializes in home furniture and decor custom-made in Mexico. The shop has been the go-to location for authentic imports since the 1930s. Shoppers can find items like wood-carved headboards, tapestries, original paintings, mosaic tables and more. Its products will be your home’s conversation pieces when you have guests. Finally, go modern at La Coquet for trendy boutique clothing and accessories with a touch of Mexican influences. There, you will find jewelry with Our Lady of Guadalupe motifs, hand-woven tote bags and fun bangles.
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2. Local events

Laredo has a number of annual events that take place in the area for special reasons. The annual Laredo Birding Festival each February is one of them. Due to its weather, its mix of brush and desert, land and its location on the Rio Grande River, Laredo is home to an interesting mix of bird species. And whether you’re an avid birder or curious first-timer, all are welcome at this annual event where guest speakers and world-renowned birders give lectures on the art of birdwatching. Groups also go on nature walks at Las Palmas Trail and other spots for prime birdwatching. Among the birds you may see are scaled quail, green parakeets, red-billed pigeons, our very own white collared seed eater, and many other multi-colored birds.

More exciting festivities worth checking out are scheduled during Washington’s Birthday Celebration, a month-long series of events held throughout different areas of Laredo. The type of events in the works include a tequila tasting, Comic Con and a wine tasting gala as well as parades and the mardi grass inspired Jamboozie. There’s also a Founding Father’s 5K Fun Run & Health Fair, Youth Song & Dance Festival, Jalapeno Festival and more. Many of the celebrations are sponsored by large corporations including the Anheuser-Busch’s parade and the McDonald’s carnival. The events run from January 19 to February 20, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.
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Imaginarium of South Texas 
3. Attractions

Laredo is a great family destination with a number of cool attractions. The Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium at Texas A&M International University is one example, where you can view the stars and the galaxy up close. With digital projection, guests sit under a dome-like screen and watch super realistic views of the universe (the screen has 8 times more resolution than an HD camera). The planetarium also hosts a series of special films about exploring other countries and nature on Earth. You also can get a hands-on experience at the Imaginarium at Mall del Norte, where children and families can test the theory of science and biology. Stimulating stations include touch-screen activity centers, optical illusion tricks and games. The different hands-on exhibits allow kids to learn without any language barriers.
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Casa Ortiz 
4. Art and history in Downtown Laredo

Lovers of architectural beauty will want to stop by Casa Ortiz, where some of its original structures (in the rear) date back to the late 1700s. It was re-constructed in the 1820-30s and is among the most well-preserved locations in Laredo. The building is currently managed by Texas A&M International University and was built by Mexican architect, Jose Reyes Ortiz. Lore has it that there are underground tunnels underneath the house and gold is hidden throughout the building. On the same street (Zaragoza Street, which is also home other popular destinations like La Posada Hotel), Republic of the Rio Grande Museum is another stop where you can admire historic architecture. Built in 1830, the building once housed the prominent Bartolome Garcia, rancher and Mayor of Laredo and also served as the capitol of the Republic of the Rio Grande. Although it may not look like much from the outside, visitors will feel as if they’ve stepped inside a time capsule with the adobe-style interior, which includes a clay oven and original furniture. The house-turned-museum now offers tours of exhibits that feature artifacts used by the early settlers to the area.
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Laredo Center for the Arts 
Get the most out of your trip by planning a visit to Villa Antigua at Border Heritage Museum. There, you will see a preserved 20th-century brick building and an impressive exhibit inside highlighting the region’s strong Mexican culture and history. The rotating exhibit includes artifacts such as tools used all the way back to the 1700s and early photographs of the area. Art lovers will get their fix at Laredo Center for the Arts, where they will see a mixture of traditional and contemporary art works by local artists. The center is known for rotating its exhibits so that upon every visit, art lovers will see something new. Visitors will notice that many of the art pieces have Mexican influences. Finally, Gallery 201 is a great alternative to see thought-provoking art pieces including photography and painting.
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5. Local food

Thanks to Laredo’s location on the Mexican border, food is as authentic as it comes. Los Jacales Restaurant serves crispy tacos, enchiladas, brisket a la ranchera and more. Taco Palenque allows you to grab bona fide Mexican dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner with tasty meals like barbacoa tacos, antojitos, parrilladas and flan. A salsa bar is available in the restaurant for diners to mix up concoctions of how spicy or mild they want it to be. The restaurant has its own drive-thru for visitors on the go.


Tacos Kissi
isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill Mexican restaurant. Its unique menu consists of seafood, sushi, tacos, and snacks, all with a hint of Mexican flavors. For delectable steaks, The Tack Room at La Posada Hotel will hit the spot. Diners will enjoy their meat dishes in a luxurious setting with white tablecloths and Victorian atmosphere. While there, don’t forget to check out its veranda that’s reputed to be the oldest in the area and overlooks one of the most stunning views of the historic district in Laredo. Some of us can’t get through the day without having a warm cup of coffee first thing in the morning, and that’s where Caffe Dolce comes in handy. Serving delicious coffee, the cafe is among the favorite places for locals to hang out and enjoy light sandwiches like chipotle chicken, crab sammie, and cilantro apple tuna. Looking to take home something for your kitchen? Pay a visit to La India Packing Co.—home to hundreds of hard-to-find spices that will take your cooking up a notch or two. The spice shop has been in business for over 76 years and remains a popular go-to shop for serious cooks. They also have a tasting room where you can enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine infused by the aromas and flavors of La India’s spices.
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