Jellystone Parks Thrive in Summer's Heat
The Midwest may be suffering from one of its worst heat waves in years, but that doesn’t stop families from having nightly campfires at Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Lawrence, Kan.
“Campfires and s’mores are always popular with families no matter how hot it gets,” said park manager Nancee Morris.
At Jellystone Parks, ice cream socials, swimming, and fun family activities with Yogi are also part of the camping experience, according to a news release.
“Our soft serve ice cream is a big hit,” Morris said, adding that the park is also selling lots of slushies, bottled water, pool toys and floaties – anything that helps keep our guests cool.”
The record heat has prompted Morris to re-arrange the daily activity schedules from 9 a.m. to noon and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. to avoid the hottest parts of the day.
“We had a blast!” said Jamie Fenster, 25, of Bonner Springs, Kan., who spent this past weekend at the park with her husband and two children, Autum, 5, and Bailey, 2, each of whom celebrated their birthdays.
Although the Fensters don’t have an RV, that was no problem because the park has cabins for rent.
“We’d go out and do activities for a while, then go to the pool for a while, and then do more activities,” Fenster said, adding that the ice cream socials, face painting, jumping pillow and shuffle board games were especially fun for her kids.
The Fensters even got a chance to watch an outdoor showing of a children’s move, but their girls were so tired after Saturday’s activities that they fell asleep half way through it.
Jellystone activities begin at 9 a.m. each day during the summer and include a flag salute, “Hey” rides and firetruck rides, followed by tie-dye T-shirt craft classes. Popular afternoon activities include balloon catapulting, pool games and riding around the park in pedal karts, while evening entertainment includes outdoor movies.
Special themed events are also scheduled each weekend, including a Hawaiian Luau weekend July 29-31 with poolside luaus with Hawaiian music, a hot dog roast and limbo contests for adults and kids alike.
Special weekends in August include a “Yogi goes to Hollywood” weekend on Aug. 13-14 with a special dinner to be served in honor of the park’s past guests. A “Back to School” weekend is also scheduled for Aug. 19-20 with several activities, including an arts and crafts class in which kids will decorate their backpacks for school. Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Cindy Bear and Ranger Smith will all be there to enjoy the activities as well.
Fall activities include several Halloween-themed weekends with a corn maze, the park’s first haunted house, a Halloween-themed campsite decorating contest and trick or treating.
“We’ll be coming back soon,” Fenster said, adding that she didn’t know a Jellystone Park existed in Lawrence even though she lives only about 20 minutes away.
Morris said many of her visitors this year include residents of the greater Kansas City area who have only recently discovered that a Jellystone Park is in their midst.
The campground, which previously operated under another name, had a grand reopening as a Jellystone Park in June after the owners invested more than $750,000 in improvements.
For more information about the park’s amenities and activity listings, please visit www.kansascityjellystone.com.