- Texas A&M is the most sprawling college campus in Texas, with over 200 buildings and a capacity for over 83,000 football fans at Kyle Field.
- The campus is located in College Station, Texas, in the middle of the Dallas-Houston-Austin triangle.
- Texas A&M was founded in 1876 as a land-grant research facility and is the largest enrolled body in the country with about 59,000 students.
- The campus is home to various wildlife, including armadillos, bats, pigs, opossums, raccoons, skunks, and snakes.
- The campus also features a variety of flora, including red berry juniper, net-leaf hackberry, desert willow, mariola, yuccas, and ocotillo.
Colleges come in all shapes and sizes with some being so small that they’re online-only or contain only a few buildings. However, there are also huge campuses that sprawl thousands of square feet, and we’re going to talk about one of those today. We’ll talk about Texas A&M, which is the most sprawling college campus in Texas, and show you just how big it is while also telling you a bit about the history and wildlife around the area.
What is the Most Sprawling College Campus in Texas?
In the case of Texas, the most sprawling college has no real competition. According to the University website, the largest college campus in Texas is Texas A&M at 5,200 total acres.
When we say there’s no competition, we mean it. The next largest school in the state is Texas Tech University, which is a much smaller 1,800 acres, and the other schools go down from there. While Texas A&M’s massive campus doesn’t crack the nationwide top 10, it’s still very impressive. It’s also one of the oldest colleges with an initial creation date of April 17, 1871.
Where Is Texas A&M?
Texas A&M is located at 400 Bizzell St, College Station, TX 77843. The town of College Station is mostly for the school. However, there are other homes and establishments in the area. The school is located in the middle of the Dallas-Houston-Austin Texas triangle, and it’s situatined in Brazos County, Texas.
College Station is about 83 miles northwest of Houston and 87 miles east-northeast of Austin. The name of College Station is due to the existence of Texas A&M and the nearby railroad. The town has more than 206,000 residents. College Station has origins that go back to 1860, as that is when the Texas Central Railway was being built in the area. Only 11 years later, the proposal for Texas A&M came through, and the rest is history.
History of Texas A&M
The school is considered a land-grant research facility, and it was founded in 1876. The school was opened due to the Morrill Act of 1962, which provided land grants of public property for the formation of colleges. Interestingly, many of the alumni of Texas A&M served during both World War I and II. Since that time, the campus has expanded, and the student body has as well.
The full name of Texas A&M stands for the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. The name goes back to a time when the school focused many of its classes on agricultural and mechanical studies. However, per the university, the letters don’t technically don’t really stand for anything anymore. The letters stayed because it’s a reference to the college’s official name and history.
There are currently about 59,000 students at Texas A&M. That makes it the largest enrolled body in the country. Students at the university are called Aggies. This is due to the fact that back in the 1900s, the students were called “farmers.” In the 1920s, the name turned into Aggies, and it stuck until this day. The current cost of tuition is about $56,000.
Features at Texas A&M
So what is on all of the land that makes up the most sprawling college campus in Texas? There are over 200 buildings on the campus, with notable structures including the Bonfire Memorial, Kyle Field (Athletics), the Rudder Theatre Complex, and the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum.
There’s also the Albritton Bell Tower, which was added in 1984 and stands 138 feet into the air. The tower is equipped with 49 bells that ring every quarter hour. The Kyle Football Field has a capacity for over 83,000 football fans, and it’s the second largest football value in the entire state of Texas. The field includes natural grass, a sports museum, and the second largest video board in all of college athletics. It’s a large campus with buses and plenty of parking for those far-away classes.
Wildlife Around Texas A&M
The most sprawling college campus in Texas and the surrounding areas are also home to many wonderful forms of wildlife. If you walk around campus during different parts of the day, you have the chance to run across some of these critters:
Armadillos – You will typically find armadillos between the twilight to early morning hours of the summer season. During the winter, you may see them during the day. They’re commonly found around stumps and rock piles.
Bats – Hang around urban areas and school buildings at night, and you could come across bats. You’ll hear them squeaking but know that they’re not aggressive.
Pigs and Hogs – It’s not totally uncommon to come across pigs and potentially feral hogs during your time around the town of College Station. If you see one, report it to the wildlife department.
Opossums – As omnivores, opossums eat all types of food, from insects to birds, but they will stay away from humans. Keep your lid on your garbage cans to keep them away.
Raccoons – Though they are harmless, raccoons are used to living close to people, so don’t be surprised if you see one hanging around. However, they do most of their foraging at night.
Skunks – Also often found at night, skunks will hunt for grubs and insects, but they have been found to raid chicken houses from time to time. If you live on a farm, be cautious of that possibility.
Snakes – You can’t live anywhere in Texas without seeing a snake from time to time, and it’s no different here. Most are harmless, though some, such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouths are venomous.
It’s worth noting that there are many ways to see both local and exotic animals when you are visiting Texas A&M. There’s the Texas A&M University Aquarium, Aggieland Safari, Franklin Drive Thru Safari, and other fun attractions to visit while you’re in town.
Flora Around Texas A&M
The vast Texas A&M campus is also home to plush and green trees and many varieties of flowers. Some of the species you may see on your journey include:
Red Berry Juniper – You’ll see red berry juniper in its tree or shrub form. It thrives in both cool and warm seasons.
Net-Leaf Hackberry – Another common tree in the area is the net-leaf hackberry, which is a small to medium-sized species with unique leaves which you can grow in your own backyard.
Desert Willow – The desert willow, also known as the Chilopsis is a flowering plant often found in the College Station area. It produces gorgeous pink flowers.
Mariola – Mariola (scientific name Parthenium incanum) is a small shrub with gray-green shrubs and small flower clusters. It’s a tough-looking plant but it has an understated beauty.
Yuccas – There are also plenty of succulents in the area, which include yuccas. These are many different forms of this genus of perennials shrubs, and you can see many of them around Texas A&M.
Four-winged Saltbush – This is a truly unique species that is a member of the goosefoot family. It’s a semi-evergreen shrub that can reach up to eight feet. You’ll generally see it bloom from April till October.
Ocotillo – The ocotillo is a large shrub that’s easy to identify by its cane-like spiky stems that emerge from a short trunk. At the end of the stems are two-inch leaves. You’ll likely spot one if you venture off of campus.
As you can see, Texas A&M deserves the title of the most sprawling college campus in Texas. It’s a great university where students can thrive and learn the skills they need to grow in their professional lives. It’s also worth a visit, if only to check out a football game at the famous stadium. Stop by next time you’re in town.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Riley Davidson/iStock via Getty Images
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