Matthew Richards, 54, is a married father of three adult children and grandfather to three children. As a bird enthusiast, he was happy to travel 25 miles to see a falconry display at a Puxton Park, a family leisure attraction near Weston-super-Mare in North Somerset, England. However, he was turned away at the gates and informed single adults are banned in case they’re pedophiles.
"I was, frankly, amazed," Richards told the Western Gazette. "I was told the rule applies to single men and women for the protection of children."
The brochure that prompted Richards’ excursion didn’t mention the ban on adults, and the park sells adult memberships.
"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," Richards explained.
Alistair Mead, the managing director of Puxton Park, said the rule has been in place since the park opened seven years ago.
"There is a lot in the headlines about pedophiles and things that are going on with children," he said. "We have done our research and, in line with all other parks, we don't let single men or women in.”
The ban on single adults is hard to find on Puxton Park’s website. It can only be found in the prices section, at the end of a long list, and after information on gift vouchers. It reads: "We are sorry but we are unable to let single men or women without children into the park.”
"I almost feel discriminated against,” Richards said. "I could understand it if it was for the attractions that young children only enjoy, but the falconry is of interest to all."
Still, Mead believes he’s making the right decision and that other visitors will continue to support Puxton Park.
"I think if I did a survey of 100 of our customers, they would agree that we are doing the right thing," he said.
Sources: Western Gazette
Image via Western Gazette