Joan and Scott Holt Paradise Pond

The Joan and Scott Holt Paradise Pond is located behind Restaurant San Juan. At the entrance to Paradise Pond, a boardwalk takes you under some large trees and through a pollinator garden leading you to the 2-acre freshwater pond in the rear of the property.  During the fall and spring migration, the trees will be home to many species of neotropical migratory birds.  Many of the large trees that once created a canopy over the pond died following Hurricane Harvey.  Hundreds of native trees and shrubs have been planted to help restore Paradise Pond. We ask for your patience and understanding as we help restore the habitat.  

Joan & Scott Holt Paradise Pond Recovery Plan

  • 75% of the site was covered in invasive Brazilian pepper tree and Chinese tallow trees.
  • Hurricane Harvey's strong winds and surge of salt water killed many of the native black willow treses.
  • Remove invasive trees and vegetation.
  • Restore tree canopy and under-story around perimeter of pond.
  • Replant native plants to increase the biodiversity of the site and provide a variety of nutritious food sources for birds.
"Thank you for your patience as we work towards developing a healthier habitat for wildlife."
If you would like to donate, please visit the Recreation Foundation of Port Aransas’s Facebook page.

Dedicated in 2002, the Joan and Scott Holt Paradise Pond is a 2-acre habitat that provides an excellent example of public/private collaboration. A group of birders who won the Great Texas Birding Classic designated the prize money for the purchase of land located behind a local motel. Several donations of land, additional grants and other funding sources helped to complete the project that birders from across the country now enjoy.

Paradise Pond is a stop on the spring migratory route for smaller warblers and other songbirds, while many feathered friends call the pond home all year long. The wheelchair accessible boardwalk and 3 observation decks provide easy access to get "up close and personal" with the birds under a mantle of trees.

There is a sitting area at the entrance for watching butterflies, dragonflies and birds, along with information about the flowers and the butterflies that the flowers attract.

Private donations of land, foundation funds and teamwork helped make Paradise Pond part of the Birding Trail of Texas. Visitors flock from across the country for a sitting here.

In 2006 Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine rated the Port Aransas birding boardwalks #1 in Texas.


The Port Aransas Nature Preserve would like help from you! If you think you'd like to help please contact Rae Mooney at

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