Great America’s New Age Restrictions


Great America implements a new policy change. Courtesy of Jeremy Thompson.

Hillary Lee, Lifestyles Editor

On April 22nd, Great America announced that any minor 15 and under needs to be accompanied by an adult (21 years of age) in order to enter and remain in the park until closing. On Great America’s website, it states, “all guests ages 15 years old or younger must be accompanied by a chaperone who is at least 21 years old in order to be admitted to, or remain in, the park after 4:00 p.m. local time to close.  The chaperone must present a valid government-issued photo identification with date of birth at ticket entry. One (1) chaperone may accompany no more than ten (10) guests ages 15 or younger per day. In addition, the chaperone must accompany their party during entry, remain inside the park during their visit, and be available by phone throughout their stay. Guests ages 15 years old or younger who are found inside the park unaccompanied by a chaperone will be subject to ejection. This chaperone requirement applies to all California’s Great America ticket and season passholders.”

Before this policy was issued, people walking around California’s Great America were of all ages, with many kids under 16 unsupervised. Some think that this policy was eventually passed also because Great America is already planned to permanently close sometime in 2033. Many agree that the rules were implemented for a good reason, but others believe it does not benefit Great America as a whole.

Students at Wilcox also express their opinions on their stance for this issue. Maya Reshef, a frequent customer, states how “They’re hurting their overall revenue because it’s more convenient to drop off their kids off with their friends since parents have other priorities …it also takes away fun experiences since they’re likely to go less often because they can’t go alone,” 

“I’m against that policy because it alienates a key demographic of 12-16 year olds going to the park…from a logistical standpoint, Great America would be losing financial profits,” states Joshua Ching. “A lot of parents use Great America as a daycare center for their kids,” He continues.

“I do not like the new policy since I think 14-15 year olds are very capable of going to Great America without an adult…however I understand how the policy was put in place since there were a lot of teenagers causing trouble at Great America,” voices Ava Lily Tran, one who goes to Great America around 5 times a year.

“It’s bad because it could discourage kids from going to Great America…I think kids will look for loopholes around it,” says Alex Zabala who goes during the Summer and often attends festive events like Halloween Haunt.

“I don’t think it should be a necessary rule, maybe just a recommendation,” says Joshua Chang.

On the contrary, some others think that these precautions were implemented for the greater good: “I think it’s great…I’ve seen underage kids doing illegal things at Great America,” expresses Gurleen Deol.

Some child welfare organizations, such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, supported the new policy as a preventive measure on child trafficking and exploitation. John Ryan, a spokesperson for the organization, says “We applaud Great America for taking this step to protect children and prevent child trafficking and exploitation. Unaccompanied minors are especially vulnerable to these crimes, and we believe that this policy will help to deter predators and keep children safe.”

Some parents have suggested alternative solutions, such as requiring minors to carry identification or implementing a buddy system for groups of children to abide by safety concerns. Emily Jones, a mother of three, says, “As a parent, I understand the need for safety, but this policy just feels like another way to make things more difficult for families. It’s not always easy or affordable to find a babysitter or have an adult who can come to the park with you, especially if you’re a single parent or on a tight budget.” Others also aimed to collaborate with Great America to consult with child welfare organizations  and develop a more inclusive policy. 

In the end, Great America implements these rules to balance safety with inclusivity and accessibility. The park aims to make changes such as this one to reach a more welcoming, inclusive, and overall safe environment for families and friends to have fun.