Arts : On the Street 

Bigfoot a Texan? Maybe everything is bigger in Texas

This summer, the Institute of Texan Cultures is hosting a new exhibit that features the ‘wild man of the woods.’ Sorry ladies, no leaf-wearing, muscular Tarzan on display here, but rather one of the monstrous, hairy, ape-like creature otherwise known as Bigfoot.

For years, my older brothers have spooked my younger siblings with stories of Sasquatch. What other way to bring the family together than to visit this extraordinary exhibit?

My parents and younger brother and sister accompanied me on this outing to discover the myth of the giant ape. The institute charges $7 for adults and $4 for children.

As we walked through the entrance of the institute, we passed an array of famous Texan footwear on display. I couldn’t help but pause by David Robinson’s size 17 basketball shoes ...

To get to the Bigfoot exhibit, visitors must first walk through a darkened walkway full of fake, luscious brush and a forest-themed background. Howling noises drifted through the air from hidden speakers and my dad followed making ghost noises. My little brother’s grip tightened as we walked along the trail.

At the end of the trail, we entered the exhibit and caught up with a group already on tour. The guide explained that East Texas is the Bigfoot “hotspot,” with the most sightings in the state. He guided the group through the entire exhibit, which displays everything from putative handprints, footprints, skulls, and hair samples, to fabricated and authentic photos and home videos of Bigfoot sightings.

After the tour, the guide shared stories of sightings that were too X-rated for the family-friendly tour. Texas history has never been so exciting.

At the end of the exhibit a 9-foot cardboard Bigfoot holds a “yes” and “no” bucket in each hand. Visitors can vote on his existence by placing a metal washer in their bucket of choice. The believers were outnumbering the cynics when I left. My skeptical little sister seemed to be the only one to roll her eyes and vote no. Are you a believer? You have until July 30 to check out the exhibit and cast your vote.

After two hours of Bigfoot immersion I had to pry my fascinated father and wide-eyed little brother away from the exhibit. Just when I thought they had seen enough to satisfy their mind’s eye, they ventured into the gift shop to buy Bigfoot paraphernalia. If seeing is believing, this exhibit has all the proof you need, and then some.

- Christina Martinez


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