Kansas Gets 1st Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park
When Ralph Newell and his wife, Kim, bought their 85-site campground near Lawrence, Kan., 10 years ago, they knew they had their work cut out for them.
The park was in “tough shape.” But after investing $750,000 in improvements, the Newells have transformed their campground into a popular family friendly destination, complete with fun, family activities with everything from daily tie dye T- shirt crafts and ice cream socials to flashlight candy hunts, hayrides and outdoor movies.
And the Newells’ efforts to create a family friendly destination don’t stop there. On Thursday (July 1), their park will become the first campground in Kansas to join the Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts chain.
“We think this is the right move for us,” Ralph Newell said. “Jellystone Parks are well known for their family friendly activities, and we believe our park will be a nice addition to the Jellystone Park chain.”
Indeed, Jellystone Parks are known for having unique activities and special themed weekends, which is something the Newells have done at their park for years. This year, in fact, the Newells have planned nearly 30 themed weekends, including a “Death by Chocolate” and Murder Mystery weeks as well as a 50s week and a Christmas in July celebration with campsite decorating contests, free cookies and free admission to children under 16.
The park also operates a corn maze in the fall and this year will have its first pumpkin patch in advance of Halloween.
“Anybody can provide a place to stay overnight,” Newell said, adding, “What we want to do is get that customer to want to come back again and again.”