As we arrived at the Jellystone Park in Burleson, TX, a massive LED sign first caught my attention, along with the tower of water slides flowing down into a child's pirate paradise. It seemed to stretch on and on. "What is this place?!?"

Our Jellystone experience

Jeremy and I were recently hired to capture some video of the North Texas Jellystone's "Camping Season Kick-Off." But, in the most ironic of ways, the weather did not cooperate. It was wet, windy, and teetering on freezing -- the kind of weather that says, very loudly to most: Don't go camping.

Despite the weather and the lack of visitors, the fun atmosphere made me still want to be a pirate. I still wanted to play in this multi-world adventure land. And we did!

We captured our video shots as we could. Played in the arcade and counted our tickets for bouncy balls. Watched the kids dance with Yogi Bear and his crew. Laughed with families as they played organized Bingo games, solved riddles, and grew excitedly anxious in Giant Jenga. Although fewer than usual visitors due to the weather, campers came and went with thick coats, scarves and smiles on faces.

DJ at activity for families at Jellystone

Top reasons we love Jellystone:

Multiple great overnight options. This project was shorter notice, so we didn't have our rig with us. But, staying in one of the cabins made for a pleasant surprise. I didn't know these park cabins could be so lux. Comfy and cozy resort style, out of the weather, and with a laughable amount of space for two people. I think we counted ten spaces for sleeping comfortably, along with a place to eat, watch TV, get some work done, and hang out on the porch (for those good weather days). Just like a home.

Plus, you also have the option of bringing an RV or a tent; making your little camping trip suit your family. We have found that Jellystone has made a point to figure out how to cater to each and every type of camper out there, which is unlike most large campgrounds we've visited in the past. And they also tend to have much more room to spread out!

Jeremy drinking coffee in one of the cabins at Jellystone

It's all-inclusive. Vacations are meant for relaxation and getting away from the everyday sights and sounds to which we have become so familiar. No matter the destination, a vacation is supposed to allow our minds to slow down and not worry so much about what we are doing from moment to moment. That's why we really loved that we didn't have to go anywhere besides the park to get what we needed, or to entertain ourselves.

It was like a little (or not really so little) all-inclusive resort. Whether you want to swim during the day and roast marshmallows over a fire at night, or watch your kids play a game of paintball, then head back to your RV to watch a movie, Jellystone offers many options for recreation -- inside or outside.

It's great that parents don't have to load the family up in the car to find a place to eat or play. Most Jellystone Parks are fully prepared to offer an all-encompassing experience. Thinking about bringing more family, especially our two-year-old nephew, to the park was on our brains a lot. He'll be the best little pirate! ARGH!!! Can't wait.

Great staff. If we needed any other reason to choose Jellystone, it would have to be the staff. Not only do they intimately know the inner workings of the park where they work, they went out of their way to accommodate me and my husband as well as the other families visiting the park with us.

As we mentioned, we had some pretty poor weather during our visit. It just happened to be one of the coldest days of the year for the Dallas area. It was rainy, windy, and close to 30 degrees. None of those elements makes for a very fun-filled weekend adventure, but somehow the staff utilized their indoor facilities and planned activities for the kids, parents, and staff. The staff had no way of controlling the weather, but they took control of the situation and made it a good time for everyone.

People gathered in the indoor recreation space at the campground

Our takeaways

Not all Jellystones are created equally, but they are all cared for in the same manner and under the same theme. The North Texas Jellystone is uniquely massive, I think, but they all have family fun in store to be sure.

Even though this isn't the type of camping we usually go for (we like to rough it a bit), it's a great way for families to get away together and experience something different, yet simple. And honestly, I think that's pretty special. Plus, it makes for a gentle introduction into the world of camping. And if Jellystone Parks can create a passion for playing outside and facilitate building family bonds and traditions full of happy memories, then we're all for it.

In the future when we're planning a fun, easy weekend away from home, Jellystone will be at the top of our list. From the various accommodations, staff, and community feel, we'll be excited to pack up and head to a Jellystone Parks.

(Note: Featured photo of Yogi used with permission from Joe Hendricks Photography).


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