When it comes to family camping, Jellystone Park is an excellent choice. These are franchise parks, and there are more than 75 of them across the United States (in 30 states) and Canada. That means that no matter where you live, there’s probably one within a state or two away.
About Jellystone Parks
Jellystone Park is the park with Yogi Bear on the sign. If you’re lucky, you might get to see someone dressed up in a Yogi Bear costume while you’re there. They are more than just campgrounds, offering many resort-like accommodations.
It was in 1969 that the first Jellystone Park was founded and built. It is located in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, and is still operational. Robert Borkovetz and Doug Hagg came up with the idea. They wanted to create a vacation destination for families.
The idea for the park name came directly from the fact that kids at the time liked the Yogi Bear cartoon. So, Haag met with the licensor company for the name Jellystone Park and its resident bear and got permission to use the names for park purposes. That’s why, when you visit a Jellystone Park, you’ll notice numerous characters from Yogi Bear’s cartoon, including Boo-Boo, Ranger Smith, and even Cindy.
Some specifics go into the creation of a Jellystone Park. The parks must have 70 campsites/cabins available at the minimum. They need to have nice restroom facilities. Along with laundry facilities, they also need to have a retail store, among other stipulations. The parks border on luxury, instead of only being rustic, as they also offer a game room and a video theater.
Of course, you also have the standard pool and playgrounds. Some of the parks even have a water slide and miniature golf.
Why Your Family Should Camp at Jellystone Park
Camping with your family at Jellystone offers you a great way to ease them into rustic living. Of course, you and your children still have the opportunity to play video games and watch movies (outdoors), but you also get the chance to experience nature. The extras will help keep the kids from complaining about boredom, at least a little bit.
If you’re ready to take your family on a camping trip, here are some excellent reasons to book your stay at Jellystone Park, whether you’re camping in the spring, summer, or fall.
Why Go Camping with Your Family?
Camping is a great experience for children. While you can take babies and toddlers camping, this might be a family adventure you want to take once your children are old enough to enjoy it and have the most amount of fun. Here are some fun reasons to consider taking the kids camping, before you learn why that camping trip should be at Jellystone Park.
1. Spend Time in Nature
When was the last time your kids spent some time outside? These days kids spend a lot of time playing around with technology and less time outside getting natural vitamin D and burning calories. If they do enjoy the outdoors, camping maybe even more fun for them since they get to explore a new environment.
Camping is a learning experience for your children (and you may learn a few things as well). Teach them about nature and wildlife you encounter on your camping vacation. Not only can they learn about what is in nature, but this also offers you a chance to teach them about respecting and caring for nature.
2. Learn New Skills
Camping is a skill. There are so many things that go along with the camping experience. You will teach your children to set up a tent, build a fire, cook food on an open flame, and how to live without the usual comforts of everyday life. Although, they may still get some comforts depending on whether you’re staying in a tent, an RV, or a cabin. Jellystone Park offers first-class restrooms as well.
These skills are things that they will use later in life. These are memories that will live in their minds forever, and the things you teach them will be the things they teach their children when they go camping a decade or two from now.
3. Teach Them Appreciation
Your children will learn to appreciate all the things they have at home after they’ve spent camping and living a more “rustic” existence, away from the luxuries they’re used to. They’ll learn what it’s like not having running water or indoor plumbing, or at least not always have them in a convenient location.
Make sure they leave the electronics at home. Have a weekend with the family where no one spends time staring at their smartphones or their handheld gaming systems. Bring some books, ones about nature and the critters and plants you’ll see while you’re camping. Make this a time to appreciate all that nature has to offer and quality time with family.
4. Learn How to Live with Less
Not only will your children learn how to appreciate the things they have at home, but camping also teaches a lesson in minimalism. Living with less can save money and stress. You and your kids will learn that there are some things that you don’t need to survive.
With any luck, you’ll come back home, and you won’t have to run right out to buy the newest Gameboy game for your kids. Maybe they’ll take an interest in nature and spend more time playing outdoors.
5. Fosters Teamwork
If you’ve been having trouble getting your kids to do their chores and help out around the house, some time away in the great outdoors may help them learn to work better with you and their siblings. You’ll be cooking together, finding kindling together, and sharing all of these camping experiences with one another (the good and the bad).
They may even learn to communicate and work with strangers as well. When you stay at a park like Jellystone, you’ll be interacting with other families on many levels.
6. It’s a Change
Camping lets you all get out of the house and experience something new and different. It’s an adventure you get to share together as a family. It’s a chance to build memories that you’ll all look back on and smile at fondly for years to come.
Even getting lost, having a leaky tent, or getting eaten by mosquitoes offer fond future memories and laughs.
7. Activities for everyone
It seems like there is always something fun to do at Jellystone Park. You’ll want to check the website for the location you’re staying at for specific events, but here are some of the things that these parks offer throughout the year:
- Arts and crafts projects
- Hay and wagon rides (especially during the Autumn months)
- Live entertainment
What activities are available will depend on what season it is. You can always expect to have fun and be able to keep everyone in the family entertained.
8. Themed Camping Weekends
Mardi Gras, Christmas in July, and even Halloween are all celebrated at Jellystone Park. Dress up, make holiday-related crafts, play games, and participate in the parades. These themed events offer a fun time for the entire family, and it’s always a chance to make new friends.
Should you opt to visit in the fall, the Halloween themed camping adventure is one of the best. Campers decorate for Halloween, and there is pumpkin decorating, a costume parade, and plenty of other fun and scary events to participate in for the entire family. Just don’t forget to bring your costumes.
9. Club Yogi Rewards Points
Yes, Jellystone Park has a rewards program, and it’s free to sign up for it. You earn points for staying at Jellystone Park, any location, and you can use those accumulated points for free nights or merchandise. They also have auctions for club members that allow you to use your points to bid and win.
You can sign up for the rewards online. You’ll also use the website to keep track of the points and to use them.
10. Plenty of Fun
There’s always something fun going on, whether you’re visiting on a themed weekend or not. You can go swimming, play games, or spend time at your campsite enjoying your family and friends. The amount of fun you and your family has is completely up to you and your level of participation. If you participate in camp-wide events, you’ll have more fun and meet more people.
Participation and fun are what Jellystone Park is all about. If you’d prefer a secluded camping experience, this may not be the right option for you.
11. Plenty of Nature
Most Jellystone Park destinations are located near State or National Parks, giving you so much more to explore when it comes to nature and the outdoors. It offers an excellent opportunity to teach your children about all of the flora and fauna in the state or province you are camping in.
Go hiking and talk about the different plants and trees you see. Point out the birds that you see. Discuss what different animals in the wild eat. Camping is fun, yes, but it can be an educational experience as well. Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of the chance to teach your child something new?
12. Make Lifelong Friendships
One of the great things about Jellystone Parks being so popular is the fact that many families make it their yearly destination and visit the same times each year. They make friends while they are there, friends that they see each time they go back.
You can take this opportunity as a chance to teach your children about pen pals, something you may have had when you were their age. Not all camping age children are old enough to be on social media on a regular basis, having a “snail mail” pen pal may be a fun experience for them.
13. And, Yogi Bear
You and your children also get the chance to see Yogi Bear and other characters live and in person. You can pose for pictures with them just like you do with Santa and the Easter bunny each year. For little kids, this can be a huge delight (or frightening, depending on your child).
Another time kids can get to see Yogi is during “Tuck-ins.” Yogi Bear will come and read the kids a bedtime story to help them get to sleep at night.
Preparing Your Family for a Trip to Jellystone Park
You’re camping, even if you’re staying in a cabin or an RV. Make sure you think nature when you pack for your trip.
Weather can change quickly, and storms can roll in fast. Know what the forecast is like and always bring something extra just in case it’s colder or warmer than you thought it would be.
Pack bug spray and sunblock. These are probably two of the most important supplies any camper needs, aside from food and water.
Ready to Book Your Stay at Jellystone Park?
After reading all the great things camping can do for a family, and all the fun stuff Jellystone Park offers, it’s hard not to want to book a weekend away. Family camping time is a time to bond and have fun together without the trappings of home (like chores and technology). If you want to camp someplace that offers endless entertainment of all kinds, this is the right choice.
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