I grew up in San Marcos and in high school took a summer job at Aquarena where one of my job requirements was to dress up in a giant Ralph costume. I had to walk around and hug children (or, make them weep in fear at the sight of a large pig). Trust me, dressing in a Swimming Pig costume, in the summer, in Texas, is not a pleasant experience.
I remember Rufus the Sadistic Swan well. My twin baby sisters had their birthday party at Aquarena Springs in about 1978 or '79. Rufus invited himself, and at some point attacked Margaret and ate her birthday present - a cheap wristwatch from our grandmother. Some park attendants later found my emotionally scared sisters and told them that Rufus had vomited up the watch, and Maggot could have it back. She declined - wisely I think.
Oh my, GLURPO! I am not normally afraid of clowns, but this early photo of Glurpo really freaks me out. According to the caption, "Glurpo was apparently quite the tourist attraction at the San Marcos Texas 'Aquarena,' where ... he would swim out of an underwater cave and horrify small children by mutely laughing and sucking his insane rictus up against the glass like a parasitic eel."
Aquarena has since become an educational area that is part of the Texas State University system, renamed the Aquarena Springs Center. I took my SCUBA diving certification dive there. All of the old stuff from the park show now lies at the bottom of about 10 meters of water, accumulating algae and providing a home for the fish. The faux-submarine (somehow involved in the mermaid show) has been scuttled, and makes a lovely underwater tour.
A Flickr user says of the above photo, "Let's just say I'm glad the woman, not the man, is feeding the pig in this manner."
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