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Culture

It’s hard to escape the foot-tapping sounds of music that envelope McAllen year round. As home of the South Texas Symphony Association — which supports the Valley Symphony Orchestra and Chorale and the Valley Sinfonette — our city places great emphasis on classical music’s influence. (Psst, we’re the headquarters for the South Texas Classical Guitar Society as well.) However, there’s plenty of room for the zest of the Mexican performing companies and Broadway shows that book space at the McAllen Civic Center Auditorium. McAllen’s facilities make it an excellent winter retreat for stars to migrate from Branson, Missouri for a season.

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Prefer dance? McAllen Dance Theatre, the South Texas Dance Theatre and the Rio Grande Valley Ballet also entertain audiences with their professional selections. Likewise, the University Theater at the University of Texas Pan American in nearby Edinburgh posts an enticing calendar of plays and musicals for audiences. Or explore everything from dinosaur tracks to Mexican folk art at the International Museum of Art and Science. The recently opened RioScape: A Discovery Park allows adults as much hands-on fun as the children, allowing the families to explore 10,000 square feet devoted to teaching scientific principles of water pollution, erosion, hydropower and more. The museum is a member of the Smithsonian’s Affiliation Program, and holds accreditation by the American Association of Museums (a distinction less than 10 percent of museums throughout the United States hold).

Outdoorsmen (whether they choose to hike, hunt, fish or bird-watch) find McAllen the perfect base to reach no less than 14 state and county park/lake areas. The options range from Falcon Dam to the Santa Ana Wildlife Range and the salt lakes at La Sal Del Rey Tract. You can even scuba dive from the artificial reef built just off South Padre Island or at Port Mansfield Liberty Ship Reef.

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