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Jellystone locations offer fall activities

Summer may be almost over, but some of the busiest camping weekends of the year take place in the fall at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts.

The reason?

Many Jellystone Parks have developed fall festival and Halloween-themed weekends that are packed with activities, including special weekends for young children and scary weekends that are designed to appeal to families with teenagers.

Swansea, S.C.

“October is our busiest month,” said Dana Gabriel, co-owner of the Jellystone Park in Swansea, S.C.

“The first weekend in October we have our fall festival,” Gabriel said. “We’ll have two gospel groups singing. We’ll have games for the kids, including scavenger hunts, a community campfire, a family fun movie and fall-related crafts. I bought scarecrow kits. So the kids will be able to make their own scarecrows.”

The second weekend in October is a “no scare Halloween” for families with young children. “We’ll do crafts again,” Gabriel said. “We’ll have hayrides and pumpkin painting. We’ll also do trick or treating, have costume and campsite decorating contests and a flashlight bone hunt, where the kids look for hidden bones.”

The last three weekends in October, however, are when the park gets really scary, with a “Darkwood Plantation.” Guests start their adventure visiting a haunted plantation house, then proceed into the gardens, a cemetery and a swamp where there is a voodoo witch.

“We have a mix of static props, animatronics and 10 or 15 actors who make it a pretty scary place,” Gabriel said.”

Sioux Falls, S.D.

For families who prefer a calmer fall camping experience, the Jellystone Park in Sioux Falls, S.D. offers a seven-acre corn maze, with an easy section for families with young children and a more challenging section for teenagers and adults.

Christina Lien, a co-owner of the 157-site park, said she hires a company from Utah that uses a GPS navigation system to cut the path of the maze through an actual cornfield that is located next door to the campground. The maze also features an image of Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, which can be seen from the air.

“This is our second year offering the maze, and it seems to be growing in popularity,” Lien said, adding, “This is some you can do with your whole family.”

For more information on fall activities and themed weekends offered by Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts across the country, visit www.CampJellystone.com. The Web site lists every Jellystone location and includes links to individual park Web sites, which include detailed event and activity listings.

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