Santa Clara

California's Great America Introduces New Chaperone Policy

NBC Universal, Inc.

People planning to go to California’s Great America in Santa Clara this weekend should be prepared for a big change in who’s allowed in and who’s not. 

Starting this Saturday, the theme park will institute a chaperone policy. Anyone 15 years old or younger must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 21 years old to enter the park.

This is a policy started by Knotts Berry Farm in Southern California, but could be quite a surprise for those who aren’t familiar with the policy.    

Great America's owner, the Cedar Fair company, says it decided to start a chaperone policy because they say that over the past two years, there have been increasing incidents of unruly behavior across this entertainment industry.

The teens must have a chaperone in order to be admitted or remain in park after 4 p.m. The chaperone cannot bring in more than 10 guests and any seen unaccompanied are subject to ejection, and chaperones must be available by phone at all times.

Some parents say they like the change.

“I do have a son, he is 10 years old, he can definitely handle his own,” said parent Richard Haun. “But I wouldn’t use Great America as a drop-off-like babysitting kind of venue. It’s just not the responsibility of the park. Especially with some of the situations that have happened at Great America.”

Great America and Santa Clara police said security is a private issue but added it does respond to emergencies there.

Some teens affected by the policy, who plan to visit Great America this weekend, seemed relieved by the policy.

One said he would feel safer because he’d been at the park before when fights broke out between teenagers and there were no adults there to settle things down. “Do you think this is a trend that needs to be happening with a lot of other places?”

“Each park has their own rules and regulations, and they’re just looking for the safety of families and children,” said Haun.

The policy makes it clear there will be very strict enforcement, pointing out surveillance cameras and security personnel with body cameras will be utilized.

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