After our peaceful and lovely stay at the Great Smoky Mountain Jellystone in Tennessee we headed back into North Carolina to visit Jellystone Marion. We were greeted at the Ranger Station by two of the funniest and wackiest camp workers that we have ever met. “Barracuda” and “Tinker Bell” run the camp store like it’s a wacky Yogi Bear Improv Comedy show.
All of the staff members at Jellystone Marion have campground handles like these and it gives you a sense of how fun and friendly these folks are. The owners are known as “Chief,” “Mama Bear,” and “Running Bear.” The family has a background in the hotel industry and it shows. The customer service at this campground is off the hook awesome.
The family friendly amenities are also terrific. There is a large pool, kiddie pool, Super Duper Triple Looper Waterslide, Yogi Bear Lake for canoeing and fishing, shuffleboard, mini-golf, gem mining, playground, Ga Ga Ball Pit, and so much more. Your kids just won’t get bored at this campground. It’s not possible. Purchase of a V.I.P. bracelet will give you unlimited access to the slide, mini golf, and canoes.
So what amenity did our boys love best? The Ga Ga Ball pit won the day! When we first arrived I had to beg them to hop in and give it a try during a scheduled game led by a staff member named “Nitro. ” By the second day of our stay the boys could not be ripped away from the pit. They were teaching other kids to play and chanting “GET NITRO!”
The morning game of Ga Ga Ball was just one of the seemingly endless number of activities that Jellystone Marion provides on a daily basis. We enjoyed making spin art frisbees, coloring with Boo Boo, making tie dye shirts, and participating in relay races.
But the single best activity that we participated in at Jellystone Marion was their Tuck in Tales with Yogi Bear. It was possibly the single coolest campground activity that we ever have participated in. At around dusk one evening “Mama Bear” loaded the kids up on a tractor ride that took us high up in the hills above the campground. We stopped near a beautifully crafted tree house where a campfire, and Yogi Bear, were waiting for us.
Yogi also happened to have cookies and milk waiting for all of the kids. Then we gathered around the fire and “Mama Bear” led us through a wild, wacky improvised story about Yogi Bear and the Jellyopolis 500. The kids were encouraged to add parts to the story while they munched away on their cookies. After the story Mama asked each child what they were thankful for and then the kids walked Yogi up into the tree house and put him to bed. What a night! “Chief,’ “Mama Bear,” and “Running Bear” have won awards for their activities and it is easy to understand why.
It was sad to say goodbye to our new friends at Jellystone Marion, but we hope to see them again. We squeezed in one more game of Ga Ga Ball before we hitched up and headed out. Our boys asked if we could build a Ga Ga pit in our backyard at home. I told them no, but promised them we would camp with Yogi Bear again real soon.
Jeremy and Stephanie Puglisi are the founders of the RV Family Travel Atlas podcast and blog. They spend over 40 nights a year in their RV traveling with their three young sons, sharing their experiences as they explore the new golden age of RVing.