In his best-selling book, “Last Child in the Woods,” author Richard Louv laments the fact that Americans, for a variety of reasons, no longer feel comfortable letting their children run free to explore their neighborhoods and their natural environments.
Tracy Watson, 36, feels the same way, even though she and her family live in a nice neighborhood in Powhatan, Va.
But when Watson goes to the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Hayes, Va., near Gloucester Point, it’s a different world, according to a news release. There, she’s surrounded by families with young children and she feels she can allow her 13-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son the same level of freedom she had when she was growing up.
“It’s like you can just let them loose,” Watson said. “Once I get there, the kids run and play. They have a great time. They know their boundaries. I feel comfortable and safe.”
And the kids?
“They absolutely love it,” Watson said, adding that they camp there almost every weekend.
Watson and her children are “seasonal campers” at Jellystone Park, which means they rent a campsite for the entire camping season at a reduced rate. This way, they can leave their RV at the park, fully stocked with whatever they need, and use it like a vacation cottage. They also avoid the cost of storing their RV back home.
“All you have to do is throw some clothes in a bag and head to the campground,” she said.
And once they get there, the kids immerse themselves in the park’s activities and the swimming pool, which has new slides. “My son goes up the ladder and down the slides. My daughter likes to walk around with friends and do crafts on Saturday mornings,” Watson said.
The Jellystone Park in Hayes is one of four Jellystone Parks in Virginia. The others are located in Luray, Natural Bridge Station and Emporia. More information about the Jellystone Park in Hayes, including the park’s activity schedule, is available at www.jellystonegp.com.
About Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts
Launched in 1969, the Jellystone Park system is the second largest chain of campgrounds in the United States, boasting 78 campgrounds with more than 15,000 campsites in 30 states and Canada.