Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park, just a short 14 minute drive from downtown Brownsville is a National Park Service unit which preserves the grounds of the May 8, 1846, Battle of Palo Alto. It was the first major conflict in a border dispute that soon precipitated the Mexican-American War. The United States Army victory here made the invasion of Mexico possible. The historic site portrays the battle and the war, and its causes and consequences, from the perspectives of both the United States and Mexico.
The park’s visitor center features exhibits about the battle and the Mexican-American War, as well as a 15-minute video, titled “War on the Rio Grande”. The video gives an overview of the war and is available in English and Spanish. A half-mile trail leads to an overlook of the battlefield and includes interpretive panels.
“Palo Alto Battlefield is one of more than 400 national park units across the country. The park is unique because it is the only unit of the NPS to interpret the U.S.–Mexican War.”
The exhibit area features interactive exhibits, artifacts, and Mexican War era military uniforms.
The visitor center also features a small book store, where you can find over 100 book titles and specialty items. These items cover an array of subjects including the Mexican War, birding, and local history. You can even find a few things for the kids.
The park also features as a trailhead for the Brownsville Historic Battlefield Hike and Bike Trail. The trail is over 8 miles long and passes just west of Resaca de la Palma Battlefield. It ends at Linear Park in the heart of the Mitte Cultural District, close to downtown Brownsville.
Palo Alto is not just an important historical site; it’s also a popular spot for nature watching. Every year flocks of visitors come to the park to catch a glimpse of Monarch butterflies or Aplomado Falcons.