A parent’s defense of the“no childless adults” policy at LEGOLAND

Nov. 02, 2013 @ 04:31 AM

This is going to come as a bitter shock to some grown-ups, but here goes: some things just aren’t suitable for us. Or more precisely, aren’t suitable for just us by ourselves.

I’m speaking of the recent backlash against LEGOLAND Discovery Center’s “no childless adults” policy, which the Atlanta park cited when it turned away a 63-year-old man and his grown daughter at the admission window.

Sorry, but as a parent I’m going to stick up for this policy, although I do sympathize with the man who was turned away. (So does LEGOLAND. Upon learning the man was battling cancer, park management later offered to take him on a special tour.)

Where my sympathies decidedly don’t lie are with the people who are turning this incident into a general rallying cry against what they perceive as adult bias in a child-centered world.

I can’t prove it, but I’ve got a hunch that we can count among the most aggrieved that same guy on the plane who gives out a loud and exasperated sigh at the first wail from an upset child, or the people who cheer with gusto at the news some restaurant had decided to forbid children.

You get the idea. On a regular basis, we parents have to deal with some very not-so-subtle hints that our children are ruining the collective calm of everyone else, all of whom were apparently born 35-years-old with a Kindle on their laps.

Venues like LEGOLAND are a blissful respite from these unpleasant people.

Sure, maybe that adult LEGO aficionado standing next to your family could be a wealth of fun facts about the revered plastic bricks. He could also be a cranky grouch who doesn’t appreciate it that your toddler keeps skipping into the picture he’s trying to take of LEGO’s complete replication of New York City.

Of course, he - or for that matter, she - could be something worse. While the odds of this may be slim, they’re almost certainly that much lower thanks to strict admission and security policies, and yes, watchful parents.

Probably the only critique I heard of the no childless adults policy that merited some actual pondering was that since LEGO also marketed its toys to adults, the company’s amusement parks should give adults equal access, regardless of their parental status.

But I ultimately can’t agree with this. First, there’s no LEGO set that I’m aware of with an “18+ only” designation. Some adults are simply choosing to remain fans of the toy. Further, purchasing one product doesn’t grant you the additional right to purchase every other LEGO product – which these parks are.

Anyway, if you ask me, there’s far more bias today against children than childless adults. You can tell this just by all the tiresome rants against “entitled” children and their “helicopter” parents.

If you’ll notice, the ranters frequently hail from two generations that had it really, really good…the Baby Boomers and Generation X. They had almost everything, in fact.

Well, except for a LEGOLAND. And some of them are having a tantrum over it.


Stephanie Janard is a mother and writer who lives in Spindale. She can be reached at sjanard@msn.com.