Theme Park Bans Single Adults Because They Might All Be Pedophiles

Puxton Park pedophiles

If you are the sort of person who assumes any adult visiting a family-friendly area without a child of his or her own is a pedophile, great news! There is a tourist attraction that agrees with your views and has adapted their policies to ban single adults on the basis that they might be dirty perverts. Depending on where you live, it may involve some travel time, but Puxton Park, a theme park west of London, promises to cater to your specific and — if you ask me — extremely paranoid needs.

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Puxton Park is a “family adventure park” that offers such festivities as a family fun play barn, a falconry display, slides and other play equipment, a farm shop with fresh produce and locally sourced products, a restaurant, and numerous “friendly resident farmyard animals” including a lake with wildlife.

It also offers a family-only environment, meaning if you decide to take in the sights without a child in tow, you’ll be refused admission. Matthew Richards, a 54-year-old grandfather and bird enthusiast, decided to visit the falconry display last week, and he was turned away at the door.

I was frankly amazed. We have taken one of our grandchildren there before, and I saw that the falconry was there and thought it would be interesting to go back and see the displays.

The managing director explained the decision in this way:

There is a lot in the headlines about pedophiles and things that are going on with children. We have done our research and, in line with all other parks, we don’t let single men or women in. I think if I did a survey of 100 of our customers they would agree that we are doing the right thing.

After Richards’ story gained some negative attention in the press, Puxton Park posted a lengthy explanation on their website:

The main aspect not being reported is that Puxton Park is predominantly an attraction for children aged 0 years to 7 years with 90% of the park dedicated fully to child’s play, which is not suitable for lone adults. Some adults may be interested in our falconry department and we offer falconry experience days which are open to all. We have not set out to discriminate against single adults but we take child protection extremely seriously.

We would rather be over zealous when unaccompanied adults visit us armed with cameras than put children at any potential risk. Even schools follow similar policies with regards to the photography of children.

Honestly, I think this is pretty sad. I mean, they’re a private business and they can ban who they want, but this “better safe than sorry” crap is a fear-based mentality that’s based on the fundamental belief that most people have unsavory motivations — rather than, say, statistics. Yes, pedophiles exist, but they’re far more likely to be one of your child’s own relatives or a neighbor than a total stranger at a theme park. I volunteer for an organization that works with sexual abuse victims and it’s almost ALWAYS someone the child knows, okay?

I’m not saying bad people don’t exist, or even that they aren’t sneaking off to theme parks to ogle the kids. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. But it’s as likely as any other perfectly horrific incident happening out of the blue. It’s as likely as your child dying on the way to the theme park in a car accident. You can’t prevent every terrible outcome, and when you try, you ostracize communities and report innocent people to the police and cause all kinds of negative, smothering, forever-anxious feelings.

Puxton Park’s own website claims it has “something for everyone.” It sounds like it’s time to update that information: “We have something for everyone, unless you’re a single adult, in which cause we believe you have a psychiatric disorder which causes you to experience a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.”

What do you think about this park’s decision?


Image via paulisson_miura/Flickr

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