June 26, 2013

Hit the ground! Mexican park offers fake border-crossing attraction

Just ignore those men in Border Patrol uniforms – and the barking guard dogs – at this Mexican park. They’re just part of an odd attraction at Parque EcoAlberto in central Mexico.

And you thought roller coasters were scary.

Try being a Mexican trying to cross the U.S. border illegally. Talk about an adrenaline rush.

Now a park in the central Mexican state of Hidalgo is offering that thrill to its visitors.

Along with rappelling and enjoying the hot springs, visitors to the eco-tourism destination of Parque EcoAlberto can try to make a fake border crossing attempt, complete with fake smugglers and fake border patrols – but very real dogs.

For three hours, tourists taking the Night Walk into the woods hear sirens blaring, get chased by dogs and get yelled at by border patrol officers. The excursion is meant to be as realistic and scary as possible.

Every now and then the “border crossers” are told to hide in the dark from the authorities.

The real U.S.-Mexico border is about 800 miles from the park, so there’s nothing illegal happening here.

(And apparently no swimming involved?)

“Parque EcoAlberto in El Alberto, Mexico delivers ... comforting flourishes of nature in spades, but then takes an extra step, delivering something completely unexpected and somewhat disquieting,” says a reviewer at atlasobscura.com tourist site.

“At this park and no where else, visitors can experience what it is like to illegally cross the border that separates Mexico from the United states.”

A story this week by the

Fronteras: Changing Americas Desk

, a multimedia collaboration among seven public radio stations, said the goal is to dissuade locals from making a real run for the border.

The park is run by the local native community, the Hñahñus, which is trying to keep its people at home by showing them illegal crossings aren’t fun and definitely not safe.

They’re not cheap, either. (Uh, so we hear.) The fake crossing is a steal, at about $20 U.S. dollars.

Wonder how one of these would go over at Worlds of Fun?

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