Jellystone Park locations across the United States and Canada are marking the 50th anniversary of the Yogi Bear-themed franchise this year with new amenities, activities, and accommodation options as well as new locations and record business levels, according to a press release.
“We have the most recognized brand in the family camping business,” said Rob Schutter, president of Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc., which franchises more than 80 Jellystone Park locations across 30 states and five Canadian provinces. “We continue to grow because our franchisees are innovators who continually develop fresh ideas for family activities, entertainment, and accommodations that entice growing numbers of families, generation after generation. People were ‘glamping’ at Jellystone Park locations before the term even came into existence.”
Several Jellystone Park locations across North America are investing in major improvements this year, including locations in the following cities:
— Burleson, Texas: This park is building a very unique accommodation unit that families won’t find anywhere else: a fully furnished pirate ship.
“We’re building it right now and are planning to make it available for this summer,” said Steve Stafford, general manager of the North Texas Jellystone Park location. “It’s a humongous ship. It’s 260 feet long and its masts are 85 feet tall. It looks like something out of a storybook. It even has two cannons with red lights to simulate the firing of cannonballs!”
The unique rental attraction features 10 different cabin units, each of which can sleep a family of six. Each unit also has a kitchen and a private bathroom with a shower.
The North Texas Jellystone’s adjoining Pirates’ Cove Waterpark is also planning to open two new 65-foot tall, 350-foot long tubular water slides over Memorial Day weekend.
— Caledonia, Wis,: This facility is undergoing a major expansion with 50 new glamping cabins, 31 new seasonal campsites, 33 new full hookup pull-through sites and 38 full hookup back-in sites as well as a new swimming pond with a Wibit floating obstacle course. All of the new features are expected to be ready for guest usage by June. Additional new facilities include a multipurpose building with a banquet hall, shower and laundry facilities, a camp store and snack bar plus rental pavilions, cabana rentals, a new playground, and a sand volleyball court.
— Cave City, Ky.: The park is adding 20 new cabins, 103 campsites, and three playgrounds, all of which are expected to be completed by late spring. The improvements are part of a multiyear $10.7 million expansion that includes the addition of Karst Beach, a 2.3-acre water play park that opened last summer.
— Gardiner, N.Y.: New amenities being added this spring include 13 new cabins and three new tent sites. A beautiful open-air pavilion with a stone fireplace and private kitchen will also be completed by spring and will be available to rent for family reunions, birthday parties, weddings, and other special events. The park is also adding a lazy river to its water zone which will be completed by fall.
— Kerrville, Texas: This park, which added a 19,000-square-foot water play park in 2017, plans to open four large water slides this spring. The park’s “sports hill complex” is also being expanded with a “ninja playground,” a Gaga ball pit, and other improvements before summer.
— Larkspur, Colo.: This Jellystone park location is undergoing a multimillion-dollar expansion affecting every aspect of the park. The first phase of the park’s expansion and redevelopment effort will be completed next year.
— Lodi, Calif.: This park, which is located in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, plans to open a 40,000 square-foot water play zone on Memorial Day weekend. The water zone will include two 165-foot long water slides, two kiddie water slides, 13 water blasters, two water cannons, a 750-gallon hydrostorm bucket that periodically dumps 750 gallons of water on anyone standing beneath it, and a 127,000-gallon lazy river. Twenty new cabins are also being added to the park, 12 of which will be “Delta Deluxe” units that come with their own private hot tub on the front porch. The park is also adding 10 bumper boats with spray features that guests can enjoy in the Delta. An outdoor bar is also being added to the deck overlooking the Delta. Parents will be able to enjoy local wines, craft beers, and handcrafted cocktails.
— Pittsfield, Ill.: Additions include a Wibit floating obstacle course which it hopes to open by Memorial Day weekend. Other improvements include six new cabins and a new bathhouse.
— Quarryville, Pa.: The park is adding four new cabins, a new disc golf course, and a new jumping pillow. During the past two years, the park has installed two, two-story, fully furnished tree houses that families can rent for their vacations.
Meanwhile, other campgrounds are joining the Jellystone Park network. Recent and upcoming Jellystone Park franchises include locations in the following cities:
— Nova, Ohio: The former Country Stage Campground joined the Jellystone Park network last year as the Cleveland/ Sandusky Jellystone Park.
— Nelsonville, Ohio: The former Happy Hills Campground will reopen April 15 as the Hocking Hills Jellystone Park. A grand opening celebration is planned for mid-May.
— Golden Valley, N.C.: This former Girl Scouts Camp will have its grand opening as a Jellystone Park location Memorial Day weekend. The park has been upgraded with many new amenities including a multilevel water play structure with water slides, an activity pool, an 18-hole miniature golf course, lazer tag, new cabins, luxury glamping tents, and premium RV sites.
— Pigeon Forge, Tenn,: The former Bear Cove Village, the closest campground to Dollywood, joined the Jellystone Park franchise network last year as the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg Jellystone Park.
— Pouch Cove, Newfoundland: The Marine Park joined the Jellystone Park franchise network last summer and is now known as the Jellystone Marine Park.
Jellystone Park locations set a new all-time record of $125 million in system-wide revenues in 2018, a 6 percent increase over the prior year. It was Jellystone Park’s 10th consecutive year of sales growth.
In January 2019, Entrepreneur magazine ranked Jellystone Park among the nation’s top franchise opportunities. Jellystone Park was ranked No. 202 on Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list (No. 1 in the camping category), up 63 slots from the prior year, thanks to the company’s growth, innovation, and franchisee satisfaction. That same month, Franchise Business Review named Jellystone Park to its Top 200 franchise list based on franchisees’ responses to questions regarding their financial performance, how they rate the franchise’s long-term growth opportunities, and their willingness to “do it again.”