Bird Banding, Goat Feeding and Nature Activities at Jellystone Park Campgrounds

August 6, 2014

If you want to give your family a unique, nature-based experience, Jellystone Park™ campgrounds offer a variety of activities that involve both learning and fun!

bird banding at pittsfiled illinois campground

Bird banding demonstration at Jellystone Park Pittsfield, IL

The Jellystone Park™ campground in Pittsfield Illinois hosted a bird banding demonstration the weekend of August 2, 2014. Campers learned about identifying birds and the process of banding, which is used for research and migration information. The event was led by Tony Rothering, who is a permitted Bander, and a member of local non-profit organization – Lincoln Land Association of Bird Banders. The Pittsfield Illinois campground, also known as Pine Lakes Jellystone Park, is planning a hummingbird exhibit in the spring.

archery at larkspur colorado campground

Campers practice archery at Jellystone Park Larkspur, CO

If you are traveling west, the Jellystone Park™ campground in Larkspur, Colorado has a Ranch Camp during the summer that promises to “hand back your kids happy, dirty, tired, and of course, better educated about nature.” Ranch Campers get to feed and care for the park’s goats and horses, do ranch chores, practice archery and more.

In their quest to get kids to unplug, the Jellystone Park™ in Marion, North Carolina introduced the Passport Program that encourages kids to experience various nature-focused activities in order to win prizes. A 1.4 mile geocache hike along a river, scavenger hunts and gem mining in a natural creek further encourage family bonding and outdoor recreation. They also added a “Nuts for Nature” woodland trail featuring owl boxes, a ropes course, tree cookie walkways, log noodles, a butterfly patch and a nature building zone.

Nuts for Nature Trail at Marion NC campground

Nuts for Nature Trail at Jellystone Park Marion, NC

Many Jellystone Park™ campgrounds include nature walks as part of their activity programs. Campers learn about trees, birds, animals and principles of Leave No Trace – a Boulder, Colorado-based non-profit organization that develops educational programs to help children and adults take better care of the environment.

Check with your favorite location to see what nature activities they have planned.



Yogi Bear Aids Marriage Proposal

September 21, 2012

It was time to celebrate at the Jellystone Park campground in Montrose, Colorado when Yogi helped a guest propose to his girlfriend. She said Yes!

Colorado Campground Offers Opportunity to Interact with Baby Goats

April 5, 2012

Campers who stay at the park from Spring Break through Earth Day may get a chance to bottle feed a new generation of Nubian dairy goats

LARKSPUR, Colorado – The Grenier family can hardly wait for Spring Break. Not only because they get to go camping at the Jellystone Park campground , but because the timing might work out to bottle feed the park’s newest members – a new generation of Nubian dairy goats! “The goats have roped us in!” exclaimed Lisa Grenier of Castle Rock, whose five children have become enamored of Jellystone’s goats, particularly her 12-year-old daughter, who got a chance to trim the hooves of one of them last fall.

Several Castle Rock families, in fact, are staying in close contact with Jellystone Park owner Ian Steyn regarding the park’s new arrivals. “We’re really looking forward to going there and bottle feeding the baby goats,” said Jennifer Sturgeon of Castle Rock, who has taken her two boys, ages 6 and 9, to the park several times in recent months to interact with some two dozen goats that live on the property.

Steyn brought what he thought were 24 male goats to his campground last year after a local dairy goat farmer expressed remorse over having to butcher the males, since they couldn’t produce as much milk. But Steyn later discovered that four of the goats were “mis-sexed,” and he wound up with four doelings, who later became pregnant does that are about to give birth.

But since Steyn bottle-fed all of his goats from infancy, the animals are unusually tame, companion goats that interact gently with guests, sometimes even jumping on their laps like cats or dogs. “They’re great entertainment for the kids, and they’re just fun to watch,” Sturgeon said, adding that they can also be trained to go hiking. “You can put a pack on them and they’ll go hiking with you.”

In addition to providing entertainment for children, Steyn uses the goats to naturally maintain and fertilize the grass on the campground’s 2-mile long disc golf course. He also uses the does to educate park guests about the benefits of goat’s milk and the cheese that’s produced from it, which is called “chevre.” In fact, the park frequently holds classes for guests who want to learn how to milk a goat and make various products from it, including cheese, butter, ice cream, pudding and goat soap.

Guests also help with bottle-feeding, since young goats need to be fed three times a day. Some guests have even adopted some of the goats, and care for them on a regular basis. “We use the goats to tow sleds in the winter, and in summer, they tow little carts that the kids can ride,” Steyn said.

Close to 20 goats are expected to be born at the Jellystone Park at Larkspur around the time of spring break and will need to be bottle fed for several weeks, potentially until Earth Day. For more information about the goats and other family activities and attractions at the Jellystone Park in Larkspur, visit

Colorado Campground to Feature Gourmet Meals with Organic Produce Grown on Site

April 2, 2012

The Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Larkspur is planning at least five gourmet dinners from Memorial Day weekend through late September.

LARKSPUR,  Colo. – The nights are still chilly on the east slope of the Rockies.  But that’s not stopping Matt Fredell at Jellystone Park campground in Larkspur from planting his first boxes of produce. Fredell, an organic farmer, is building planter boxes with lids that can be closed overnight, protecting newly planted vegetables from frost. “We can extend the growing season to as much as nine months by doing this,” Fredell explained, adding that he expects the first seedlings to be sprouting by Earth Day.

And by the time summer is here, Fredell expects to have a garden full of spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and herbs, which campground owner Ian Steyn hopes will inspire his guests to take an interest in organic farming, while learning more about how we grow our food.  “We want to start teaching our guests about the principals of good stewardship, of taking care of yourself and the things around you,” Steyn said.

But Steyn’s efforts aren’t limited to the park’s organic garden. Steyn has also hired award-winning chefs Tom and Shari Fritz-Scholten, who will offer classes and prepare gourmet meals and wine pairing events throughout the summer months. The Scholtens, who previously owned and operated Fritz Alpine Bistro in Keystone, won Wine Spectator magazine’s “Award of Excellence” four years in a row, from 2004 to 2007.
 “We want people to come to our events and enjoy wine pairings that match our sustainable food,” Tom Scholten said. “We also want to promote the fact that Colorado is becoming an incredible wine destination.”

The Scholtens’ summer schedule at Jellystone at Larkspur includes:

  • An outdoor food and wine pairing class on Memorial Day weekend
  • A gourmet barbecue class on June 16th in celebration of Father’s Day and to help guests prepare for their own July 4th celebrations
  • A “farm to table” gourmet weekend on July 21st, celebrating Colorado’s history and agricultural heritage
  • A wine pairing class on August 18th, which will help guests prepare for Labor Day weekend activities
  • A fall farm to table celebration on Sept. 21st.

But while the Scholtens’ food will be top notch, don’t expect it to be served on silver platters or bone china. “We plan to serve the food on recycled paper plates, which will then be fed to 10,000 earthworms that will consume the paper and any leftovers. We will then use the casings from the worms as fertilizer for our organic gardens. So everything will go full circle,” Steyn said. Steyn said his park is the first in the Jellystone chain of resorts to feature gourmet food with organic garden. “We want this to be a unique, informative and entertaining experience,” he said.

Colorado Campground Hosts Disc Golf Charity Event

March 6, 2012

From Yahoo News: The Mile High Disc Golf Club in the front range of Colorado is not only making great strides in helping to spread the word about disc golf, over the fall and winter seasons they’ve worked hard to help the hungry in the region.

Their Winter Warrior Series took place starting in early November and ran through the end of January. Disc golf players came together braving especially tough conditions with the Denver area experiencing a lot more snow and extreme cold temperatures than is typical for the region. Disc golfers competed on courses like the beautiful Beaver Ranch Disc Golf Course in Conifer, and the Disc Golf Course at the Jellystone campground in Larkspur , all to help a great cause.

Proceeds from the Winter Warrior Series tournaments went to the Food Bank of the Rockies, a local charity helping to feed the hungry in metro Denver and areas beyond, such as northern Colorado, eastern Colorado and the Western Slope.

 Click here to read the full story.

Boo Boo in the Colorado Snow

March 5, 2012

Here’s a fun picture from the Jellystone Park campground in Estes Park, Colorado. 

Why Camping Evolved to Keep up With Travel Trend

June 24, 2011

Penny-Pinchers Looking to Get Away This Summer Trigger Uptick in Visits to Campsites, Parks With Perks
By: EJ Schultz

Here’s an article excerpt from Advertising Age magazine about the trend for upscale camping. Families looking for a fun but economical vacation are finding campgrounds like Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Parks to be just the ticket!  

When Gaynell Garcia began planning a family reunion for this summer, she had to make a decision: Rent a home, book a hotel or go camping? She decided to rough it. Well, sort of.

Her extended family — more than 50 kids, parents and grandparents — will meet this Fourth of July weekend in the Rocky Mountain foothills at the Jellystone Park in Larkspur, Colo., which in addition to the usual tree-lined campsites touts a heated pool, 24-hour laundry, remodeled bathhouses and free WiFi. “We have a pretty large group going so we wanted to make sure we could accommodate everybody,” said Ms. Garcia, who will make the four-hour drive to the campsite from her southern Colorado home. “With the economy and everything, we just thought [camping] would be the best option.”

Camping is emerging as the top choice for many families this year, as the industry touts new amenities to draw penny-pinching vacationers who still want to get away, but can’t afford shelling out big bucks for airline fare, posh resorts or pricey home rentals. The road to recovery started last year, when revenue for the nation’s more than 13,000 privately run campgrounds and RV parks grew 3% after falling 4.8% in the wake of the recession in 2009, according to a new report by IBISWorld, which provides market intelligence on a variety of industries. Although hurt somewhat by the recession, camping didn’t fall as fast as other travel segments, such as hotels and motels, whose revenue plummeted more than 9% in 2009, according to IBISWorld.

But campsites are not taking future growth for granted. Many sites are upgrading facilities to lure picky campers who are often looking for more than just a patch of dirt to pitch a tent. Consider the Jellystone Park franchise, where several sites are adding “splashgrounds” and water slides. Sites are also adding more rental cabins to attract visitors who don’t own an RV, or don’t like to sleep outside. “People who don’t normally consider themselves campers can still have the outdoor experience,” said Michele Wisher, director of marketing for Leisure Systems, parent of the Jellystone franchise, which covers 78 camping locations nationwide.

Read the full article here. 

Montrose, Colorado Welcomes New Jellystone Park™ Campground

April 28, 2011

The new Jellystone Park™ Campground in Montrose, CO , is a perfect home base for exploring the “Real Colorado,” including Black Canyon National Park and Ouray Hot Springs. The slopes and upscale attractions of famous Telluride are less than an hour’s drive. Onsite, you’ll find 140 spacious campsites as well as camping cabins, all with spectacular views of the breathtaking San Juan Mountains, and a walking path leading to the state wildlife preserve, perfect for hiking. A unique indoor/outdoor pool lets you enjoy the Colorado summer to its fullest, and the hot tub is the perfect place to melt your cares away. In-season activities include billiards, a fitness center, shuffleboard and bocce ball, planned daily activities, a playground, campfire nights, a dog run and even a horse pasture. The new Jellystone Park is found at 22045 South Highway 550 with convenient access for big rigs. Call 970-249-6382 to reserve a space, or visit

Spring Into The 2001 Camping Season

March 30, 2011

Heard the birds singing again at last? Gotten a peek of a daffodil trying to poke its way through the soil? Enjoyed a brief tease of things soon to come on a warm March day? Spring is just about here, and with it, the 2011 camping season for all our Jellystone Park™ Campgrounds. While many of you have continued to camp with our year-round parks, we are so excited to welcome everyone back to our seasonal parks as well – and we have more Yogi Bear-style fun than ever in store for this season. Let’s take a look at how one park in each region is celebrating spring and its biggest holiday, Easter.
For a friendly dose of Southern hospitality, visit Yogi on the Lake in Pelahatchie, Mississippi , where you’ll find excellent fishing on the 95-acre Pelahatchie Lake plus miniature golf, Yogi Bear Water Town- a splash playground, a sandy beach with volleyball, and tennis courts – as well as fully-equipped campsites and lakefront cabins. Celebrate Everything Spring Weekend April 15-17, when kids can plant their own flower pot in the park’s activity center, and the whole family will enjoy nature hikes, dodge ball and crafts. And Easter Weekend (April 22-24) just might bring a visit from the Easter Bunny himself – he’ll want to check out the Easter egg coloring and hunt that will be going on.  

In the wild, wild West, you’ll love the spectacular views of Jellystone Park in Larkspur, Colorado , located on a bluff in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Celebrate Earth Weekend (April 22-24) offers a wonderful opportunity to get back into the outdoors with plenty of hiking, biking, Frisbee golf, and pedal carts. Stay outside for geocaching, the fossil dig sandbox, playground, archery range and fishing pond. And since Larkspur Jellystone Park welcomes furry friends with their Bark Park, Rover doesn’t have to miss all the fun.  

On the East Coast, check out Jellystone Park Campground at Tall Pines in Elmer, NJ , situated on 113 beautiful woodland acres in rural southwestern New Jersey. From a full size pool and outdoor movie theater, to basketball and volleyball courts, a playground, and a private lake fully stocked with fish, Yogi Bear provides plenty of fun things to keep his guests busy. The grounds also contain miles of walking and biking trails, a picnic pavilion, wifi access, and a lending library. Kids will love pretending to be pirates for Treasure Hunt Weekend (April 15-17), as they search for hidden booty to fill their treasure chests (we’re talking hundreds of dollars here- AARGH, me mateys!) Easter weekend is sure to be egg-cellent with the annual Egg Extravaganza. 

In the friendly Midwest, Jellystone Park in Millbrook, IL (near Chicago) is ready to welcome guests in April with reduced rates all month. It’s Wake Up the Bears Weekend April 16-18 (buy one night, get the second free) so come ready to make lots of noise to rouse Yogi Bear, Boo Boo™ and Cindy Bear™ from hibernation. You’ll also love the family movie, Glitz & Glow Hayride, and camper talent show.

Jellystone Park Hosts Denver Youth for Outdoor Experience

August 18, 2009

Safe City Kid’s Go “Wild” with Rotary Club of Conifer

By Bruce Ward with Choose Outdoors

The questions, spoken by the tall, thoughtful supervisor were simple enough; “What did you enjoy most about the day and how has this experience effected you?” They were questions I later realized we should ask ourselves every day.

As I listened to the 15 inner city kids, many who had never traveled west of Federal street from their homes in Denver, I was amazed at how this one day had effected all of us.

The young adults, from 15 to 18 years old, had demonstrated leadership ability and had been interviewed by their peers for the Safe City leadership program, started by the Mayor of Denver’s office after the particularly violent summer of 1993. They are paid to work on inner city initiatives, in libraries, recreation centers and the like. They have rigid criteria relating to community service, attendance, grades and behavior that they must abide by or face loss of their position on the team.

“This day has made me feel closer to all of you, my real family in many ways,” said one.

“It’s been an amazing day and has helped me realize I can do things I never before thought possible,” said another.

“It helped me escape from the stress and I feel in the city and really appreciate the natural beauty,” was another’s perspective.

Each member, in turn, reflected on our day rafting the Arkansas River and camping at Jellystone Park in Castle Rock. In doing so they revealed a bit of their soul and emotions that had until now not been explored. The blazing campfire added a touch of drama to the thoughtful comments and the group began to bond as never before.

For most of these diverse youth; black, Hispanic, native American, even Iraqi the day had begun at 5 am as they scrambled to catch buses, cajoled rides from friends and family, somehow making their way to the downtown office building where they would be met by volunteers with SUVs stuffed with tents, sleeping bags (donated by Coleman), marshmallows, chocolate bars and graham crackers (for s’mores of course).

The three hour drive to Salida gave them all time to think (and sleep) as the day they had dreamed of began to unfold.

This first adventure for the Safe City program, into the wild, was organized by Choose Outdoors, a Pine, Colorado based national nonprofit working with the US Forest Service, numerous outdoor companies and trade associations, nonprofits and elected officials to increase support for all forms of outdoor recreation in America.

The trip was done with the help of Rotary Club of Conifer, SOS Outreach, CityWild, Big City Mountaineers and Wonderful Outdoor World in a unique collaboration focused on making the most of their unique resources. A full day of rafting was followed by a night under the stars at Jellystone Park/The Outdoor Experience in Castle Rock that included a native American drumming ceremony and mountain man story telling by the campfire for the ultimate “social networking” day.

This was one aspect of Choose Outdoors effort to bring the recreation community together and create a national initiative involving a spectrum of partners focused on the importance of outdoor recreation.

Why is this type of engagement of our youth so important? Young people are spending on average six hours a day looking at a screen of some sort-tv, internet, video games etc and as a result there are ever increasing health issues like obesity, diabetes, and attention deficit disorder that we are seeing across the country.

So this model program, designed to be replicated across the country, has begun the task of getting more kids to experience the great outdoors and more importantly to love it-because if they won’t who will?