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Elitch Gardens raises age at which teens can enter park without adult

The decision to change the age for unsupervised teens to 16 was made in response to "unruly teenagers" this summer, the park said.

DENVER — Elitch Gardens Theme Park abruptly changed its policy this week so that all children under the age of 16 must have an adult chaperone with them, the result of "unruly teenagers" at the park this summer, according to the amusement park.

This decision was made in order to maintain the expectation of family-friendliness at the park, Elitch Gardens said in a statement on Saturday. Previously, children 13 and older could enter the park unsupervised. That policy had been in effect since the spring.

Under the new policy, which was announced Friday and implemented Saturday, children 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult chaperone at all times. Teens 16 and 17 years old must also be accompanied by an adult chaperone after 3 p.m.

A spokesperson for the park said they had experienced the problem of unruly teenagers before the summer but just recently decided it was time to change their policy.

Elitch Gardens' website defines a chaperone as a supervising adult over 21 who traveled to the park with the minor(s). They must show a valid ID that includes a photo and date of birth.

Minors who are caught in violation of the rules may be removed from the park, without refund, or detained as evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

"Guests that the policy modification absolutely does not work for, we will work with them directly to resolve their concerns," the park's statement says.

>> The video above is when Elitch Gardens cancels 4th of July fireworks because of staffing shortage

The full statement says:

"Elitch Gardens strives to maintain a fun, family-friendly environment and this policy modification better enables us to continue to do so. The Park has experienced some unsupervised and unruly teenagers attending this summer that can alter this environment. To maintain our family friendliness that guests expect, it is important that our younger guests have proper adult supervision hence the modified Youth Supervision Policy; where formerly our policy required that all children 12 and under have adult supervision, we have simply increased this age to 15. Elitch Gardens will continue to provide quality, safe family fun for Denver families as we have for the last 130 years. We will continue to improve our policies and procedures as needed. Guests that the policy modification absolutely does not work for, we will work with them directly to resolve their concerns."

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