When the COVID-19 pandemic swept across North America last year, Corey and Erin Malone purchased a trailer and planned to take RV trips with their two children.
“Our plan was to camp all over eastern Canada,” Corey recalled. “We thought, ‘We’ll travel all over Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.’”
But the Malones’ plans changed when Corey suffered an injury, which temporarily left him unable to travel. So, Erin started taking their 8- and 13-year-old kids to the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort location in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland. They love the park so much they have no plans to travel anywhere else, according to a press release.
Roughly half of the families who glamped or camped at Jellystone Park locations in 2020 had never stayed there before. But once families discover the magic of Jellystone Park, it quickly becomes their favorite place to stay, states the release.
“We had planned to go to other parks. But after a month, my kids and my wife wanted to stay there,” Corey explained, adding that they plan to camp there as much as they can this year as well.
“It’s really family-oriented and has a lot of family activities for the children,” Erin explained, adding that her children have developed friendships with other children who also regularly stay at the location.
Erin said the park produces a weekly schedule of activities, so her kids can plan their days and figure out what they want to do. “They will carry around the schedule for the weekend. It gives them some independence, so I don’t have to manage their day,” Erin said, although her kids will often invite her to join them in the fun. “They will say, ‘Hey, Mom, we’re going on the hayride at 7. Do you want to come?’”
Mark French also stayed for the first time at the Jellystone Park location in Pouch Cove last year after purchasing his first camper in late 2019. “2020 was my first time really camping (as an adult),” French said, although he had camped as a child with his parents.
Now 39 with two kids of his own, ages 8 and 5, French can’t wait to get back into his weekend camping at Jellystone Park. He likes the safety and security of the park, which makes him feel comfortable letting his children walk around to activities on their own.
“The kids love Yogi and they love the trolley ride around the park. There’s a pond there, a sandy beach area. You can have a beach day. I do a lot of fishing. So, if I want to go fishing in the evening, I can. There’s a few trout to catch,” he said.
The park also has its own store with everything from groceries to souvenirs to RV parts and propane. “You don’t really need to go anywhere else,” he said.
Last year’s first-time guests of the Jellystone Park location in Niagara Falls, Ontario, are also eager to return to the park this year.
“We went for the first time in September. My family and I had such an amazing time,” said Kelly Ray Trudeau, of Ohsweken, who has children ranging in age from 3 to 12. “There were so many fun activities that were enjoyable for all ages.”
Harol Cifuentes, of Toronto, had a similar experience with his family. “Even though it was with (COVID-19) restrictions, we loved it,” he said, adding that he plans to return to the Niagara Falls park this summer with 14 family members.
“Hopefully, it becomes a tradition for our big family,” he said.