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Alone at an amusement park?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

At what age did you start allowing your child to go on rides alone (well, in our case, it would be with a friend)? We have a summer pass for 6 Flags and we are hoping to encourage  some independence. At what age can they explore without mom and dad?

post #2 of 28
Not being alone and in a very familiar place is key.

The park might have a set age limit
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

The girls are 10, and we would be leaving a phone with them. We were hoping to let them go on a couple rides and then meet back up, check in, and then go on.

post #4 of 28

10 is old enough for sure.

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

This is so interesting, because on a more "mainstream" site the answers are between 13-15. People are saying it is far too dangerous...

post #6 of 28

Rather than a specific age, I'd consider whether they all exhibit the necessary characteristics to be trusted with some unsupervised independence away from home.


Are they level-headed, conscientious, and responsible? If there is a problem, will they be able to cope? Problems could include things like one of them getting sick on a ride or getting stuck on the ride if there is equipment malfunction. If one of them is unlikely to manage well or get hysterical, then I would probably stay close rather than heading off to the other side of the park. 


If one is trustworthy and the other isn't, then I would hesitate to leave them on their own. 


10 could be just fine. 

post #7 of 28
I agree that 10 sounds reasonable, and that the main thing is whether the girls are reasonably competent, confident and trustworthy.

I'm not surprised that parents on a more mainstream board would suggest a higher age. Overprotective parenting is becoming the norm these days. I honestly expected that here, but maybe it's less here because of our resistance to paranoia-driven hyper-vigilance in pregnancy and labor, and a tendency to be more in tune with our kids actual needs and abilities. If that leads to a more free-range childhood, I'm all for it! :-)
post #8 of 28

If waiting until 15 to let them roam an amusement park what is going to happen when they are out in the scary big world at 16 driving a car to who knows where? I find that very odd!


And if I got stuck on a ride I would totally freak out. 

post #9 of 28
I think my 11-year-old is less likely to freak out on a broken ride than I am. LOL!

I would let her go off with a similar-aged friend to go on a ride so long as they had a cell phone with them.
post #10 of 28

I think that 10 is fine. I also think this happens in steps. You don't go from being RIGHT ON TOP of a child to leaving them. So as long as they know what to "do" if something happens they will be fine.

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by pbjmama View Post

If waiting until 15 to let them roam an amusement park what is going to happen when they are out in the scary big world at 16 driving a car to who knows where? I find that very odd!


And if I got stuck on a ride I would totally freak out. 

I agree! I wrote this response:


"I'm so confused by people who are saying 16+. At 16, our children are expected to be able to navigate the world well enough to be responsible to drive. They need to be able to negotiate using a map or gps, to be able to ask for directions if needed, and be able to keep themselves and the rest of the world safe in a thousand pound weapon travelling at high speeds, but some of you would be unwilling to have them walk away and meet back up in an hour??"

post #12 of 28
I think ten is fine for walking around an amusement park without parents, especially if there are two kids together and they know where to go to get directions.
post #13 of 28
Dd1 (12yrs old) is taking a field trip to a six flags with a water park. The only rules are you can't be alone and you need to check in every two hours.
post #14 of 28

I would practice with shorter intervals and work up to longer intervals.  The hardest thing about amusement parks is that there is unpredictable wait times.  So they might be in line for 20-30 mins so if you said "two rides and meet us at the tea-cups" that could be an hour.  Also, it is really hard to hear your phone while around roller coasters!  We had multiple issues last year while at an amusement park of not being able to find each other and calling and calling with no answer.


So I think responsible 10 year olds should be fine, just make sure you scaffold the experience and then have some contingencies built in (i.e. send us a text when you are about to ride" the crazy roller coaster that has a really long wait time" so we have an idea of when to expect you at the carousel.

post #15 of 28

i think the plan you have is fine. many times kids want to do things, then they realise they are not ready for it.


you have a two hour check in.


i wouldnt say the age thing either. i'd go by how they can handle things. how calm they would be if they got lost and what they did. 


my dd i'd totally let her do it at 10. 

post #16 of 28

i would say 9 with a phone with them.if you are going to meet them at the exit to ride. or 10 if meeting at a meeting place .

post #17 of 28

I think 10-11 is fine depending on the kid.  My oldest is 8 and I don't see it happening in 2 years bc he is very immature.  I would definitely have clear rules and a designated place to meet at a specific time every 2-3 hours.

post #18 of 28
10 seems fine to me. I've always found it weird like another poster said that people don't allow their kids any freedom and then they get their licence at 16, move away to university at 17 and start drinking at 18 (at least in Quebec)... then they're surprised when the kids lose their minds at their first taste of freedom.
I'd much rather offer my son some freedom while I can keep him on the invisible leash (cell phone), than offer him no life skills and hope for the best when he turns 18 and it's considered harassment to text him every 15 minutes lol
post #19 of 28

We had season passes to six flags for a few years.


I get super motion sick so I was pretty motivated to have my kid ride without me.


From about 7, I would let my kid ride a ride with a friend and without me, but I'd walk the whole line with them, watch them get on and then take the chicken exit.  This was mostly the kind of rides where you see the whole thing, because the roller coasters have height restrictions.  Younger than that I would have done a kiddie ride without me, but we didn't have tickets then.  


By about 9 or 10, I'd let them go in a ride while I sat at the entry to the line, or maybe go off and do 2 rides, but with a pretty clear plan (e.g. you'll ride this, then ride this) but not much more than that.


11 to 13 would be "I'll meet you at X ride in 3 hours, keep your cell phone on".


Now that he's 14, I can see dropping him at the park and leaving, or letting him take the subway to the park, but he's really outgrown six flags.

post #20 of 28

Wow. Well, I'll be the voice of dissent. That is way, way out of my comfort zone. I can't imagine letting my kids roam an amusement park by themselves at age 10. They definitely would not want to, either. I think there's a huge difference between a 4th grader and a 16 yr old/sophomore/junior in high school. I am not an overprotective parent, either, but amusement parks are weird places with lots of weird people (and I mean that in a bad way, definitely). I would and have let my kids roam with their friends (w/ regular check-in times) at our local hippie music festival and felt fine about that, but not at a big amusement park. I can't imagine my friends w/ kids doing that either. 


I think an amusement park is bordering on a hostile environment. People are hawking stuff, trying to sell all kinds of things. Rides are scary. Unless you know your way around it's easy to get lost and turned around. No way for us. 


My kids are not big on rides. They sort of like them, but find them pretty scary sometimes. I'd much sooner turn them loose in the woods. 

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