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Visiting Jellystone Park at Mammoth Cave

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Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park at Mammoth Cave
Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Mammoth Cave

Jellystone Park at Mammoth Cave is a family-oriented campground located just four miles away from Mammoth Cave National Park in Cave City, Kentucky. It’s a great destination for people who are in town to explore the wonders of the longest cave system in the world. I will do a separate post about Mammoth Cave later, but for now, I just want to tell you about Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park and everything it has to offer. It’s a great campground to visit whether you are planning to go to Mammoth Cave or not.

Day passes are available during peak season, but in most cases you will want to stay on site at this great campground. The park offers a variety of accommodation options to suit your needs, from campsites for tents and RVs to cabins large enough to fit large families.

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Ways to Stay at Jellystone Park

Whether you want to pitch a tent, park your RV, or rent a cabin, there are plenty of options at Jellystone Park. Primitive camping spots are available for $45 per day and include wifi, a picnic table, a fire ring, and a parking spot. Small RVs can get W/E 30 amp spots for about $58 per day. If you need 30/50 amp W/E/S they have standard, premium, and ultimate options ranging from $67 – $95 per day. The Ultimate 30/50 amp W/E/S option has full hookup, concrete parking and patio, lantern hooks, a fire ring with grill, a full charcoal grill, wifi, and cable. If you would rather rent a cabin, there are 10 different cabin types available.

Renting a Cabin at Jellystone Park

Jellystone Park has 10 different cabin options to choose from. Each one has its own pros and cons. I recommend looking at a map of the campground before choosing which cabin you want to rent.

  • Boo Boo’s Bungalow – This bungalow is nearly 1000 sq feet and sleeps up to 15 people. It is located in a good spot at the top of the hill, close to the ranger station and a lot of the action.
  • Ranger Retreat – These cabins can sleep up to 8 people and offer around 600 sq feet of space. There are two bedrooms in the Ranger Retreat cabins making it easier to separate the adults from the kids for a little extra privacy.
  • Huckleberry – These are two bedroom cottages that are a little smaller than the Ranger Retreat cabins. They only have 400 sq feet of room. They can sleep up to six people. The Huckleberry cabins have a screened in porch which is a nice perk compared to other similar cabins.
  • Cumberland – The Cumberland cabins are 400 sq feet and can sleep between 6-8 people. The electric fireplaces are a nice touch in these cabins.
  • Cindy Cottage – These cabins are 400 sq feet and can sleep up to 6 people. They have a nice sized deck but no covered outdoor area like the Cumberland and Huckleberry provide.
  • Bluegrass – These cabins have 400 sq feet and sleep up to six people. Bluegrass cabins have a loft so you can sleep two or three people up in the loft.
  • Independence – These cabins are fully wheelchair accessible except for the loft. They also provide a screened in covered porch and deck.
  • Savannah – These cabins can also sleep up to six people, but they are a little smaller, coming in at only 325 sq feet.
  • Lincoln Log – These cabins are designed to sleep up to 8 people even though they are quite small. The Lincoln Log cabins are only 290 sq feet.
  • Efficiency – These are the smallest and cheapest cabins you can rent. The Efficiency cabins can sleep up to four people even though they are only 175 sq feet of space.

    All cabins have a kitchen, microwave, air conditioning, cable, charcoal grill, fire ring, and a picnic table, The larger cabins have full sized refrigerators whereas the smaller ones have mini refrigerators. The larger cabins also have coffee pots, cookware and utensils.

What To Expect When You Arrive at Jellystone

When you arrive at Jellystone Park you will see a giant Welcome Center. It houses a very large gift shop, restaurant, and restrooms. You will need to go into the Welcome Center and check in before you will be able to drive through the security gate into the park. When you check in you will receive your fob to pass through the security gate, a map of the park, and the key to your cabin if you have rented one.

Outside the Welcome Center you will see Karst Beach. The beach itself is free to play at, but if you want to use the giant inflatable obstacle course (The Wibit), it is a separate charge. You have to reserve time slots to play on the Wibit, so you should go ahead and get those reservations when you check in. It sells out often during the Summer months so be sure to book your spots as soon as you can.

Down the hill to your right, you will see a golf cart rental office. You need to reserve your golf cart through the Welcome Center. You can then retrieve it at the golf cart office. Golf cart rentals get sold out during the peak season, so I highly recommend renting a golf cart at the time you do your booking. There are lots of hills at Jellystone Park and not having a golf cart would be a big drag, so definitely rent one if you can. They do not allow you to bring your own golf cart to the park.

When you get to your cabin you will quickly find out that there are no sheets or pillow cases. So BE SURE to bring your own pillow cases, sheets, and blankets. One time we forgot to bring ours and we had to drive several miles to K-Mart to buy all the bedding we needed.

Fun Things to Do at Jellystone Park

Boo Boo at Jellystone Park
Boo Boo at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park

There are enough fun things to do at Jellystone Park that you can keep your entire family entertained from dusk til dawn for an entire weekend. If your family loves the water you can spend time in the swimming pools, at the splash pad, fishing in the lake, lounging at the beach, or playing on the floating obstacle course. If you get water logged you can do gem mining, play on the playgrounds, do some laps on the pedal carts, bounce on the jumping pillows, visit the arcade, play some mini golf, or take a wagon ride. You can also play basketball, volleyball, gaga ball, and horseshoes. At night you can hear some great karaoke or take in a movie at the outdoor theater.

Karst Beach and The Wibit Obstacle Course

Karst Beach is located just behind the Welcome Center. It is the premier attraction at Jellystone Park. The beach surrounds a 2.3 acre lake and has lots of fun things to do. It has a very shallow area for small kids to play. There are lots of spinning boats with ores, floating islands, and more fun things to play with. Beach lounge chais and shaded areas are available on a first come first serve basis, but you can also bring your own chairs.

The best thing about Karst Beach is the Wibit, a giant floating inflatable obstacle course. It has a challenging obstacle course with monkey bars, trampolines, climbing walls, and a huge slide. You have to reserve your time slots for the Wibit by the hour or you can get a full day’s pass. Life jackets are required and you have to sit through a brief safety video before entering the Wibit.

The Wibit at Jellystone Park
Karst Beach at Jellystone
The Wibit inflatable floating obstacle course at Jellystone Park
The Wibit Inflatable Obstacle Course

Water Fun at Yogi Bear’s Water Zone

the activity pool at Yogi Bear's Water Zone at Jellystone Park
The Activity Pool at Yogi’s Water Zone

In the Summer months Yogi Bear’s Water Zone is open. It has an activity pool where you’ll often find people playing swimming pool volleyball. It also has a splash pad area with water cannons the kids can squirt at each other. Sometimes they also have water balloon launchers. There are also geyes and bucket fountains. It’s a great area for small kids to play and it is right beside the swimming pool area, so the kids can easily go back and forth from the pool to the splash pad.

Yogi Bear's Water Zone
The Splash Pad at Yogi Bear’s Water Zone at Jellystone Park

Gem Mining

One of my kids’ favorite activities is gem mining. You basically buy a bag of sand that contains hidden gemstones inside. You pour the contents of the bag into sifters and “mine for gems”. The water washes away the sand and you are left with some nice looking rocks and gems. The kids get super excited about the gems, often trading them and playing games with them. There are some better “gem mining” opportunities close to Jellystone that are of better quality, but I still recommend doing it just for the convenience of having gem mining on site.

Peddle Car Racing

peddle car racing at Jellystone Park
The Peddle Cart Track at Jellystone Park

The peddle car track is a paved track with peddle cars of all sizes. You can get the whole family on these things and race around the track. Be warned though, it is a little bit exhausting for adults and you are likely to get smoked by your kids.

Boo Boo’s Playground

playing gaga ball at Boo Boo's playground at Jellystone Park
Playing Gaga Ball at Boo Boo’s Playground

There are lots of fun things to do at Boo Boo’s playground. You’ll find all the traditional playground equipment such as swings and slides, but is also a Gaga Ball court and two large jumping pillows. The jumping pillows are one of my kids’ favorite things at the park. Kids not only jump and bounce on the bouncy inflatables but they also have races, play tag, etc. It’s a lot of fun for kids of all ages.

jumping pillows at Jellystone Park
Playing on the Jumping Pillows at Boo Boo’s Playground

Fun Activities at Jellystone Park

doing free crafts at the activity center at Jellystone Park
Making Free Crafts at the Activity Center

Each day of your stay at Jellystone Park you will receive a schedule of activities available throughout the park. A typical day’s activities include making free crafts at the Recreation Center, water balloon fights, volleyball, chocolate syrup arm wrestling, and karaoke at night. Most nights also have showings of kid friendly movies at the outdoor theater.

My kids love the Recreation Center, especially painting ceramics. It has become a tradition for each kid to paint a ceramic figurine each time we go. It’s also a good way to cool off in the air conditioning after being out in the sun.

painting ceramics at the activity center at Jellystone Park
Painting at the Activity Center

Tips and Advice for Visiting Jellystone Park

  • Book your reservations for Jellystone Park online. You don’t want to show up in person only to find out they are sold out. I recommend booking several months in advance, especially if you are planning on going during the Summer months. Here’s a link to make reservations at Jellystone Park.
  • If you have rented a cabin, make sure you bring your own pillow cases, sheets, and blankets with you. If you don’t, you will have to leave the park and go on a hunt to buy them somewhere and there aren’t any good options close by.
  • Reserve a golf cart at the time you book your visit. If you wait until you get there to rent a golf cart you are taking the chance that they may all be sold out. That happened to me once and it was not fun doing all that walking. Jellystone has lots of big hills, so renting a golf cart is very important.
  • Reserve your Wibit times early. If you wait too long to reserve your Wibit times they may sell out. During the Summer months they sell out fast sometimes. You don’t want to get stuck with undesirable times, or even worse, not getting to do it at all.
  • Look at the daily activities and plan out your day. There are lots of free things that are fun for the kids. Look them over and talk about them with your kids. Pick out the things that sound the most fun for them, and then plan the rest of your day around those things.
  • If you have young children schedule a surprise visit from Yogi Bear, Cindy Bear, or Boo Boo. They will show up at a scheduled time to surprise your kids with a picnic basket of goodies or the ingredients to make some smores. It’s a neat experience that my youngest daughter really liked.
a visit from Cindy Bear at Jellystone Park
Cindy Bear Bringing Us the Stuff to Make Smores

Other Fun Things to Do Near Jellystone Park

Mammoth Cave National Park is only four miles away from Jellystone Park. You could spend a whole week exploring and going on different cave tours at Mammoth Cave. That’s definitely something you should do, but there are also several other good places to visit very close to Jellystone Park. There is an Escape Room right across the road. It’s fairly complicated so I wouldn’t recommend it for small kids, but it is fun for families with teenagers or groups of adults. I also highly recommend spending a few hours at the Kentucky Down Under Adventure Zoo. You can get up close and personal to some really friendly kangaroos and emus as well as viewing a lot of other really cool animals.

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