Well, sort of. You see, when I was a kid we used to camp all over the New England area. I have wonderful memories of pulling into our secluded campsite late at night in the pouring rain, matching up big metal tent poles in the dark to the light of an unsteady flashlight held by a shivering, dripping wet kid (that was actually me), climbing into a sleeping bag in the same dripping wet clothes because it was too cold to change out of them plus, ya know, in front of the whole family? And then slowly warming up to a steamy, clammy mess as our old Coleman dome top propane fueled heater filled the tent with heat and CO2 (CDC now says not to use those things inside, by the way).
But in the morning, the rain was gone, the birds were chirping, and my mom was cooking bacon and pancakes on her little camp stove. By 9AM we were in our bathing suits and ready to run down the dirt road, following the wooden signposts to a sparkling mountain lake where we would swim, dig in the sand, and relax the day away. It was heaven...with mosquitoes.
Now, every once in a while, if we were going for a long weekend or a whole week's worth of camping, we would go to a campground where upon exiting our afore-mentioned secluded, tree enclosed, private campsite, we would have the option to follow the trails and paths to a beach, or a pool, or a playground, and there would be a small covered area where a family-oriented group of musicians would play sprightly dancing music until 9PM. That was called "resort camping". And one of my favorite resort campgrounds as a kid was called Jellystone Park
. It was with this memory in mind that I booked our first family camping vacation at Jellystone. My thought was that introducing the kids to sleeping in a tent and being surrounded by nature, dark dark nights and long cold walks to the bathroom by flashlight, it would be easier for them to handle if there were kid-friendly activities and a huge Yogi Bear statue for them to enjoy. I was right...ish.
The kids did love Jellystone Park. They really loved Jellystone Park. I mean, how could they not? It was never too dark, you could walk to the bathroom without a flashlight because you could see by the ambient lighting coming from the campsites of every other family within a quarter of a mile. It was never eerily quiet because the band pumped music until 10PM and then the music and voices and dog barking from the other campsites took over, free to travel through the clear-cut treeless row upon row of campers, trailers, pop-ups and the occasional tented site that were packed in one on top of another on top of another on top of another as far as the eye could see. There was an arcade full of violent shooting games, a spray park (that was actually cool), a swimming pool, a coin operated hot tub (seemed to be out of order), a mini-golf course (closed for repairs), daily crafts, hayrides with pumping music, pedal car rentals, organized games of kick ball that somehow included vats of mud, a minuscule sandy beach where one could rent kayaks and canoes...ya know, camping. The kids were ecstatic.
So, here are some pictures of our adventures at Jellystone, where the kids ate their weight in S'mores, Paul discovered the joys of meat-on-a-stick, and Allison discovered her absolute and utter joy of playing in the dirt. Hope you all had a similarly exciting Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy!