Six Flags theme parks are the latest in a growing number of entertainment venues that have decided to keep selfie sticks at arm’s length.

Six Flags theme parks are the latest in a growing number of entertainment venues that have decided to keep selfie sticks at arm’s length.

The chain — including its original park in Arlington — recently told season ticket holders that the devices are no longer welcome. The selfie stick, among the hottest gift items last Christmas, is a retractable pole featuring a bracket to hold a cellphone so the user can shoot better selfies.

Six Flags follows the lead of Disney’s parks, one of which shut down a roller coaster midride to remove someone using a selfie stick. At Disney, the ban initially applied only to the rides but was expanded to include all places in the parks.

"We made this decision based on our own environment, although a growing number of facilities have banned these items in the interest of public safety," Six Flags spokeswoman Sharon Parker wrote in an email. "We have not had any incidents involving selfie sticks. Our goal is to prevent such an occurrence."

This appears to be part of a backlash as prominent events, from Lollapalooza to Wimbledon, shut down the selfie stick trend. The photo tools also pop up regularly in quirky news tidbits, including a stick used to stop a drowning and President Barack Obama’s use of another in a Buzzfeed video.

Locally, the devices have already been banned at AT&T Stadium, the Dallas Cowboys’ home in Arlington, with little public discussion. Team officials did not explain why.

The Texas Rangers put them on the banned list at the start of this season. Their concern was the distraction of having poles and phones waving above fans’ heads during games.

The sticks, which generally cost between $5 and $20, have been forbidden at American Airlines Center since the start of 2015. Melissa Koehler, AAC’s marketing director, said there were concerns the devices could "become a nuisance to patrons and interrupt their experience at the arena."

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science and a growing number of prominent museums also tell visitors to leave their selfie sticks at home or in their cars. The bans usually include tripods and other monopods.

Dallas Zoo staff is keeping an eye on selfie stick usage but hasn’t moved toward a ban.

"We’ve haven’t deemed them a big enough problem to take action," said zoo spokeswoman Laurie Holloway. "But if it gets to the point that 50 percent of the guests are poking others with them, then we might."

She said employees are also watching for visitors who might use the sticks to extend a phone into the enclosures. Like many modern zoos, there are fewer bars and cages and more open areas for the animals.

The Fort Worth Zoo also hasn’t moved against selfie sticks. But the Central Park Zoo in New York City appears to be one of a few zoos to ban the devices.

On social media, selfie sticks are praised for their awesomeness and utility, and vilified for their contribution to narcissism and obnoxiousness. Time magazine called it one of the 25 best inventions of 2014, but it’s also picked up the nickname of "narcistick."

The bans are so prevalent that an online travel company created a website to give visitors a quick travel guide for wielding selfie sticks (yes at Stonehenge; no at Mecca).

The website is still young and its database small. It lists just one venue each in Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Los Angeles, and none in some other large U.S. cities. Just four venues — three museums and a theme park — were listed in Texas.

It hadn’t been updated to include Six Flags or the state’s major sports venues, where the decline of selfie sticks moved as quickly as their arrival and boom.

Follow Jeff Mosier on Twitter @jeffmosier


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