Family experiences of visitor attractions in New Zealand: differing opportunities for ‘family time’ and ‘own time’
Fountain, J; Schänzel, H; Stewart, E; Körner, N
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Studies of family leisure and holidays reveal that an important goal of these experiences is the fostering of family togetherness and social connectedness away from usual work/life pressures. As outlined by Schänzel and Smith (2014), however, family experiences of leisure include opportunities for both ‘family time’ and ‘own time’. Family time incorporates opportunities for strengthening family bonds by creating family memories and allowing learning to occur. By contrast, own time encapsulates freedom from those family commitments to pursue one’s own interests and to seek respite from the obligatory commitments of family life. Using data collected in face-to-face questionnaires completed with 221 New Zealand family groups, this paper seeks to explore the extent to which family time and own time experiences are differently perceived by parents accompanying their children to three family-friendly visitor attractions in Christchurch, New Zealand. In particular, the paper explores the motivations and experiences sought by fathers visiting with their child/ren at these attractions and compares these with mothers’ experiences and motivations. Findings show that fathers have differing motivations and seek different experiences than mothers at these attractions, and that these motivations vary based on whether they are attending visitor attractions as sole parents or accompanied by a co-parent.