From sewer tours in France to “ghetto tours” in New York, there’s no shortage of strange excursions out there. An amusement park in Mexico, however, may have the most unusual outing yet: Parque EcoAlberto is bringing in tourist dollars – and teaching Mexican youth a lesson – by simulating the experience of fleeing across the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to PBS, the nighttime-only attraction aims to dissuade immigration by teaching Mexican citizens that attempting to cross the border is no walk in the park. For three hours, events unfold as realistically as possible, with masked guides shouting for participants to “get Moving” and a fake border patrol chasing them with flashlights and dogs.
The park, which also has hot springs and offers ziplining, is about 800 miles from the real U.S.-Mexico border in part of the indigenous HñaHñu community. According to the news outlet, the community has lost about 80 percent of its population to the U.S., mainly to Arizona and Nevada.
“We try to help people so that they won’t leave,” a park employee who acts as a “coyote,” or person paid to smuggle people across the border, tells PBS. “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.”