Whether you know it or not, theme parks double as baby sitters for kids and teenagers. This is not a “once in a while” problem. Guaranteed, for every day of operation, every single theme park in North America has children dropped off and left unsupervised.
From destination parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando to regional ones like Six Flags, it happens more often then you probably realize.
The reason is quite simple; an annual pass to a theme park is always going to be cheaper than paying a babysitter, daycare or after school clubs like the YMCA.
Before you think this is a great idea for your kids considering they are about to be out of school, pump the breaks. While your kids might be very well-behaved, many times when kids and teens enter a park unsupervised, it can turn violent with gang and even school rivalries.
Around 8:45 p.m. somewhere between 50 to 75 teenagers ended up in an all-out brawl that started with pushing and shoving. Kennywood ended up closing the park a little early that night which was advised by local law enforcement that showed up on the scene to break up the brawl.
“It is the most important thing for Kennywood is for people to know they’re safe here,” said Kennywood representative Nick Paradise. “Whether it’s on the rides, when they come into the park and their interactions from other patrons and other guests of the park. So, we’re going to do anything we can, any options that are out there.”
However, as of the writing of this article, the option to require guests to enter with parental supervision has not been made yet. The reason, to me anyway, seems simple: money. At the end of the day, Kennywood would lose money from kids and teens that come in and eat and drink every time they visit.
Paradise said there will be will more security guards, off-duty police officers, and retired police officers on hand in Kennywood for the 2015 season.
This will definitely help the situation, but not fix the overall problem with the park (and many more around the country) being used as a babysitter. Rest assured this will not be the last story you hear about this issue during the 2015 theme park season.
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