But after having its own identity for 45 years, the 220-site park reopened April 25 as the third Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Ohio, according to an announcement from Leisure Systems Inc., franchisor of Jellystone.
“It’s time to take the next step,”said Curt Murray Jr., grandson of Wayne and Ruth Murray. “By being part of the Jellystone Park network, we will be able to significantly increase consumer awareness of our park in Ohio and across the country.”
Murray and his brother-in-law, Matt Smith, have already made significant improvements in anticipation of converting Whispering Hills to the Jellystone Park system.
The improvements include replacing the existing swimming pool with a newly designed heated swimming pool with hot tub and spray grounds; doubling the size of the campground office and store; remodeling the cafe into a new arcade and lounge, and transforming an existing building into a climate-controlled lounge area with fireplaces, a kitchen, TVs and restrooms.
Future amenities will include a significantly improved free Wi-Fi network, a jumping pillow; a two-mile scenic walking path; mountain bike trails; as well as golf cart and mountain bike rentals.
The park has long been a popular camping destination because of its natural amenities, which include a 100-acre forest with hiking and mountain bike trails and an eight-acre fishing lake with pedal boat and kayak rentals. The campground has nine cabins and five luxury cabins under construction.
The park has a long tradition of having a natural attraction with its setting and the woods and the property itself. The previous manager, Roger Murray, son of Wayne and Ruth Murray, did an excellent job of keeping well-maintained grounds and running a clean park with an excellent reputation.
However, as part of the Jellystone Park network, Whispering Hills will significantly expand its offering of organized family activities.
Jellystone Parks tout themselves for providing fun family activities and themed weekends that include everything from crafts and games to wagon rides, birthday parties with the bears and daily appearances by Yogi Bear.
In addition to activities with Yogi Bear, Boo Boo, Cindy Bear and Ranger Smith, Jellystone Parks offer themed weekend activities, such as a Chocolate Lovers Weekends with candy bar bingo, a chocolate craft and chocolate Slip N Slide; Mardi Gras-themed weekends with parades, cookouts and dances; and the increasingly popular Halloween-themed weekends, which include costume and campsite-decorating contests and trick-or-treating activities.
Curt Murray said the changes will help Whispering Hills expand its existing seasonal camper base by attracting young families with children, many of whom will simply camp on weekends or for short periods of time.
“Our goal is to diversify the makeup of the camper and focus on the weekend and the weekly camper, including young couples with families, and provide amenities for the kids,” he said.