For the last seven years Puxton Park, a 50-acre family adventure park in North Somerset, England, complete with a farm, some slides, an electric tractor race course, and a Falconry Centre, has had a policy in place barring single people from entering the park so as to keep out potential pedophiles. And for seven years, no one seemed to mind—until one grandfather tried to enter the park to go see some falcons.
"I was frankly amazed. I was told the rule applies to single men, and women, for the protection of children.
"I almost feel discriminated against," he said.
"I could understand it if it was for the attractions that young children only enjoy, but the falconry is of interest to all."
Puxton Park claims that its anti-single adults rule is "in line with all other parks," but according to Richards, they advertise for adult memberships as well. While the Falconry Center is open to single adults, they must make an appointment beforehand and park staff would escort them to the center. So obviously, it looks like Grandpa Richards was just butthurt after traveling 25 miles to get there only to be turned away for not having a reservation. Puxton Park's managing director Alastair Mead told the Gazette:
"There is a lot in the headlines about pedophiles and things that are going on with children."
"I think if I did a survey of 100 of our customers they would agree that we are doing the right thing."
The rule never seemed to bother anyone before, but Richards' complaints have brought about a minor social media storm. In a Facebook post addressing the matter, Mead stated:
"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.
"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.
While most people who commented on the post agreed with Puxton's stance, the statement was met with some protest from people who felt the park accused all single adults (with cameras) of being pedophiles, as well as from older folks who just want to go have a nice time at the park. Like these two ladies, BOTH of whom have small dogs as their Facebook profile pictures:
Yes, what a load of rubbish, Double Dachshunds. Puxton has since disabled comments on their Facebook posts in light of "a large number of comments relating to our entrance policies." It makes sense to keep lone adults out of a kid's park, especially if there is a policy in place for unaccompanied adults who want to see some cool-ass raptors, although emphasizing stranger danger may downplay the reality that most of the time victims of child sexual abuse know their abusers.
Image via Puxton Park's Facebook.