At Mexico Fun Park, a Border-Crossing 'Experience'

...without the border

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 26, 2013 9:45 AM CDT

(Newser) – Splash Mountain it ain't: One of the attractions at Mexican amusement park Parque EcoAlberto is a re-creation of an illegal US-Mexico border crossing, complete with smugglers, dogs, sirens, and border patrol agents, PBS reports. It isn't supposed to be fun—the three-hour "Night Walk" experience is intended to put potential immigrants off making the journey. The park, in the state of Hidalgo, is owned by the indigenous HñaHñu people, which have lost an estimated 80% of its population to the US, a park administrator says.

Although the experience costs about $20 and attracts a mostly middle-class crowd—people unlikely to attempt a border crossing—the park still encourages young locals to stay by providing jobs and more money for the community. "We try to help people so that they won't leave," says a local who plays a smuggler. "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."

A man rests his hands on a fence looking out to the United States from a Mexican customs station after being detained by US Border Patrol in Arizona and returned to Mexico in Nogales, Mexico.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
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