One of our favorite annual family camping experiences is visiting a variety of Yogi Bear’s Camp Jellystone Parks. Jellystone campgrounds have cornered the market on family fun, and we want to share some of the things that we think they are doing right.
It’s important to realize that Jellystone Camp Resorts are individually-owned franchises, so the activities and amenities vary from park to park. In this podcast episode we are specifically talking about the features of the very best ones we have visited.
5 Things Jellystone Campgrounds are Getting Right
We visited our first Jellystone Park about 5 years ago, and had an amazing family vacation at the Luray Jellystone in Virginia. Since then, we have seen the franchise grow and many of the campgrounds invest in resort-like amenities. Jellystone knows it’s customer and is doing all the right things to make family camping a more fun experience for the young and, ahem, not so young.
So what are some of our favorite things trending within the Jellystone system?
- Planned Group Recreation–kids love good old fashioned summer camp activities like relay races and water balloon fights. Jellystone Parks are putting more organized sports recreation on the activities calendar and we love it.
- Limiting Additional Add On Expenses–we think the trend is toward including more, not less, in the cost of your campsite. We hate being nickel and dimed on paying for extra activities within a campground, especially after you have paid a premium cost for your site. Many of the Jellystones are including mini golf, paddle boats, pedal carts, and water slides with your stay. This is how we think it should be.
- Upping the game for teens and tweens– Jellystone Parks are paying attention to the teen and tween crowd, adding large water features, zip lines, ninja training courses, and teen-only laser tag. These are the types of thing your big kid will beg to do over and over again.
- Customer service training— We are continually impressed by the young staffers at many Jellystones Parks. These teenagers and college students are friendly and engaging, bringing just the right amount of ‘cool’ to rule enforcement. They are everything you want in a camp counselor, so we know they are being trained well by management.
- Upgrading the campsite experience–Many ‘resort campgrounds’ put a ton of money into amenities, but scrimp on site maintenance and landscaping. Jellystone Parks are developing resort-style campsites with concrete pads, upgraded fire pits, and space to spread out.
5 Fun Facts about Yogi Bear and Jellystone Parks
Where did these Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Camp Resorts come from anyway? We dug into some historical Americana, and learned more about the history of Yogi Bear and his namesake campgrounds. Did you know…
- Yogi made his debut in 1958 as a supporting character in the Huckleberry Hound Show, and didn’t get his own show until 1961.
- Yogi’s personality and mannerisms are said to be based on Art Carney’s Ed Norton character on The Honeymooners.
- Yogi Berra sued Hannah Barbera for defamation, but later dropped his suit when the studio claimed the name similarity was merely a coincidence.
- Animation historians link Yogi Bear and his antics to social unrest in the 60’s. They say Yogi represents a figure bucking against what society expects from him.
- Doug Haag, the founder of the first Jellystone Park, also considered Paul Bunyan, Pocahontas, and Robin Hood as recognizable figures to brand his campground around. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out how he landed on Yogi Bear…
What’s New with Camp Jellystone?
Michele Wisher, the Vice President of Promotions and Marketing for Leisure Systems, had a lot of news to share on this podcast episode. And as a mom of three, she spend a lot of time giving tips on how to save some dough. Here are links to the promotions and deals that we discussed:
More Jellystone Content
Want to hear more abut the Yogi experience? We paired this episode with a Campground of the Week review of our recent stay at the Hagerstown Jellystone in Maryland. Check out Campground of the Week episode #83 to hear all the details about this amazing park.
You can also check out Jellystone podcast episodes from years past…
- RVFTA Episode #92 What’s New at Camp Jellystone?
- RVFTA Episode #37 Greetings from Camp Jellystone
- Campground of the Week #69 Yogi at Shangri La in Milton, Pennsylvania
- Campground of the Week #43 Jellystone Park Quarryville in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
- Campground of the Week #40 Jellystone Park of Estes near Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
- Campground of the Week Episode #38 Lazy River Jellystone in Gardiner, New York
- Campground of the Week Episode #16 Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Luray, Virginia
- Campground of the Week Episode #7 Barton Lake Jellystone in Fremont, Indiana
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See you at the campground!
Stephanie + Jeremy