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HARLINGEN — The T. rexes with their scaly reptilian skin snapped and snarled at the children who laughed and squealed with delight.
Nearby, a child posed for pictures in front of a triceratops with its horns near the ground, a boy in a blue shirt stared with wide eyes and jaw dropped open at the dancing dinosaurs, and hip-hop music charged the festive morning at Boggus Ford Harlingen at 2521 S. Expressway 83.
The children from the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District Special Education Extended School Year had come Tuesday for a morning of exploration and discovery. The prehistoric creatures from the distant past had just awakened from their long sleep to entertain about 60 children, and it was a fine joining of two separate histories of Earth’s life as the 21st-Century kids played, laughed, danced and slapped hands with the Jurassic Rio Grande Valley residents from 67 million years ago.
“Jump! Jump! Jump! Jump!” called out a commentator in a brown vest from Jurassic RGV while fellow employees inside the 30-pound dinosaurs used controls to move the heads up and down, make the eyes blink and create the sounds of roaring to the thrill of the kids.
“Alright!” someone shouted. “Hands down! Hands down! Run! Run! Run! Run!”
Teachers were delighted the kids could have an activity like this.
“We like to expose our kids to as much social interaction as possible,” said Sergio Gonzales, behavioral interventionist for the Harlingen school district, as he cajoled a young boy in a yellow shirt and gave him direction.
This kind of exposure, he explained, is especially important because often the parents of kids in special education are stretched beyond their capacity as they try to serve the needs of all their children.
“They don’t have the opportunity to go to the movies or take the kids out and do something like this,” Gonzales said.
The event was made possible through a partnership between Boggus Ford and the Harlingen school district, said Jacob Boggus, general manager.
“We are blessed to be able to partner with the school district to provide this type of event for these deserving students,” he said. “We truly enjoy being part of our community.”
Jurassic RGV has performed more that 450 shows since it opened in July 2020, said owner Cindy Benitez.
“This is our 452nd show,” she said. “We do birthday parties, libraries, schools, head start. We promote non-bullying, education as far as respecting your teachers, politeness, reading. We politely recommend for kids to read, so we tell them always to visit our local libraries to check out lots of books to educate and explore our world.”
Certainly the kids at Boggus Ford on Tuesday morning were enjoying a time of learning and exploring. So were the employees of Jurassic RGV, who moved the T. rexes back into their trailers and now filled the store with small dinosaurs perched on their arms.
To see more, view Brownsville Herald photojournalist Denise Cathey’s full photo gallery here: