While most amusement parks offer roller coasters and cotton candy, one park in Mexico gives visitors the chance to participate in a fake border crossing, complete with dogs, smugglers and U.S. Border Patrol agents.
PBS reports that Parque EcoAlberto in Hildalgo, Mexico, simulates an immigrant-smuggling scenario for its paying customers.
The tourist groups are led by a fake smuggler or coyote on a three-hour excursion filled with blaring sirens, howling dogs and angry Border Patrol agents. According to park officials, the attraction is meant to discourage rather than promote the illegal crossing of the United States-Mexico border, which is 800 miles from the park’s gates.
“Our objective is to stop the immigration that exists amongst our citizens, principally from the state of Mexico to the U.S.,” park administrator Maribel Garcia claimed in an interview with PBS.
Parque EcoAlberto is located in an area inhabited by the diminishing HñaHñu community. Eighty percent of the community’s population, according to Garcia, have emigrated to Arizona and Nevada.
Garcia said that some of the youth who returned to the town after crossing the border decided to create the attraction in order to bolster the town’s economy and persuade inhabitants to stick around. A fake smuggler who identified himself as Titi told PBS that the path to revitalization is slow but promising.
“We try to help people so that they won’t leave,” Titi said. “It’s time to create some employment, to work with our own and regenerate everything, or at least what we can, even though it might be slow going.”