“It makes a difference,” said John Thornton, a life-long camping enthusiast from Venetia, Penn., who frequently camps at the Jellystone Park in Harrisville, Penn. “When a family owns a campground, they are invested in it personally and you see the difference in everything they do.” This is true of most campgrounds in the Jellystone Park network, the majority of which are owned and operated by husband and wife teams, many of whom have their children and extended families working with them.
As a result, the families that own Jellystone Parks not only take care of guest needs with the highest level of interest and dedication, but they also develop friendships with many of their guests who come back with their families and friends year after year.
The benefits of these kinds of relationships benefit Jellystone Park owners, too.
For example, when Denny and Kathy Quigley bought the former Kozy Resort Kampground 15 years ago, Thornton said, the campground needed a lot of work. But Thornton kept coming back because the Quigleys and their son, Gary, treated him and his wife and children like they were part of their family.
Meanwhile, the Quigleys continued to improve their campground, eventually joining the Jellystone Park network in 2011. But the improvements never stopped, with additions including new playground equipment, a mini golf course, mining sluice, dog park, jumping pad and a jumping pillow. But even as the park became busier and busier, the Quigleys never lost the family touch that brings people back year after year.
Then there is the special magic of a Jellystone Park.
Only Jellystone Parks have Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Cindy Bear and Ranger Smith, and children love to interact with them. Jellystone Parks are also famous for providing fun, family activities and themed weekends that include everything from crafts and games to wagon rides. Themed weekend activities, such as Hawaiian weekends, often include limbo contests, sand castle building, and a luau. Mardi Gras themed weekends include parades, cookouts and dances, while Christmas in July weekends include campsite decorating contests, campsite caroling, cookie and ornament making activities. The increasingly popular Halloween themed weekends include costume and campsite decorating contests and trick or treating activities.
All of these activities give Jellystone Parks the ability to provide families with experiences they can’t find anywhere else.
“We see the special magic of a Jellystone Park in the experiences that families have with their children and the special memories they create with one another,” said Maurice LeBlanc, a second generation Jellystone Park owner who runs the Jellystone Park in Robert, La. with his wife, Me-Me.
“Even today, there is still a need for families to interact, gather and make memories together, without laptops and cellphones in the way. Jellystone Parks provide unique settings and activities for families to get back in touch with each other.”
Clearly, the Jellystone Park concept works. There are currently 82 Jellystone Parks across the U.S. and Canada, and the network continues to expand as growing numbers of family owned campgrounds join the Jellystone Park system.
“It’s the only campground we go to,” said Stephanie Ward of Hodgenville, Ky., who camps at the Jellystone Park in Cave City, Ky. with her husband, Travis, their children and their pets. “It’s close. It’s super clean. It’s pet friendly and it’s family owned and operated,” Ward said of the park, which is owned and operated by Bill and Kay Pott and their daughter, Emily. Jeff Brenneman of Callensburg, Penn. has developed a similar fondness for the Jellystone Park in Harrisville, Penn. “We can’t camp anywhere else because we like it so much,” he said, adding, “(Our son) Mason loves it. He’s like a king out there. He never wants to leave. We have also met a lot of really nice people out there and made a lot of good friends.”
For more information about Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts across the U.S. and Canada, visit www.CampJellystone.com.