Everyone is talking about parental supervision with regards to the child and the gorilla. Also under scrutiny is the responsibility of family friendly venues with regards to signs, walls, barriers, staff and safety.
I don't know enough about the gorilla incident to comment on it, but have seen so many things in museums, galleries and historic venues which relate to this debate* I think it's worth a quick chat about safety. By and large, it boils down to: weigh up the chances, put appropriate measures in place, always assume you will get a few idiots, don't let them spoil it.
Recently we had some work done on a raised area, allowing visitors to look down at a display. Before the area opened to the public, we were assessing the installed toughened glass and metal barriers in place and these opinions arose.
As you may guess, opinion number 3 made everyone do a double take. A lot of complex discussions had to take place. We already had these barriers, so would we have to replace them? Would we have to attach something to the top of them?
In the end, there was compromise. The barriers remained as installed, a metal plate was attached to extend the edge of the raised area where we thought kids may get feet stuck, and we have an age restriction on unaccompanied minors. We concluded that the majority of visitors would be responsible, for both themselves and anyone in their charge, and if anything did happen, it could be safely said that we had weighed up the chances and felt we had appropriate measures in place.
* One of my top horror tales is the mother actually encouraging her children to climb archaeological remains and jump into a road, complaining that if it's dangerous there should be signs (If you are allowing your children to do something usually reserved as a joke "Go play in the road" you may not be great parent material)
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