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“Just ok” 3 of 5 stars
Review of O'Connell's Yogi Bear Park

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O'Connell's Yogi Bear Park
970 Green Wing Road, PO Box 200, Amboy, IL 61310   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Amboy
Granville IL
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Just ok”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

We have stayed at this park many times in years past and after several years returned again this year. Let me start by saying when we stay it is in one of the rental units as I am not much into the primitive camping.in previous years there were park models that we rented that were perfectly placed near one of the pools and near one of the lakes and we always loved that location and it worked great for our family of 5 . This year they had new "deluxe" park models so we went with one of those. While they were all nice and new inside, I felt they were smaller than the others and it was very difficult to do anything inside without waking up everyone else who may be sleeping. I also feel there were too many squeezed into the spot where they had them. We were literally deck to deck with the other park model, luckily it was the people we were camping with, but if it were strangers it would be very awkward. I think if we were to return I would go back the older park model, however the view of the lake by those is now blocked by a row of cabins.
All of the kids had fun of course. We were located by a pool and the water slides and several large open areas where the kids could play ball. They enjoyed the movie outside at night. While the kids had fun, it just seems to me there is a slight lack of upkeep on things compared to years past. The mini golf could really use a little work but I will say the pool by us was good. The family that was with us did rent one of the over priced golf carts and everyone enjoyed riding that into the outback area. I did not go, but they said it was pretty cool out there with all the trails. All in all it was fun for the kids but I feel like it could use a little TLC.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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37 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3 of 5 stars
  • Value
    2.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Chicago
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2013

I just got back from a weekend at O'Connell's Jellystone with my family (wife and 4 kids), and it will be the last time we ever head there again. The issues started literally the second we pulled in. We got to the campground at about 8:00 in the evening. As we pulled up to the woman checking people in, the first words out of her mouth after I gave her my name were "I've been waiting for you since 3:00", followed by her rolling her eyes at me (when I made the reservation, I let them know I would be arriving that late).

We were then led to our site. I requested a full hookup pull through site, and it just barely met the bare minimum definition. When I first saw the site, I motioned to the kid who had led us to our site to come speak with me, cause I wasn't sure that it was the right sight. He just shrugged his shoulders at me and drove off. Our site was on a hill, making it very difficult to level the camper, and for some reason, the sewer was at the TOP of the hill. Not sure if the person who put in the sewer understood physics, but liquids don't run uphill. The weekend that we went happened to be a very unusually cold weekend for July, so luckily none of my kids were running around barefoot, because I was finding pieces of broken beer bottles and nails all over the campsite. Our fire pit was 4 feet from the road, making it impossible to sit around the fire. We all had to squeeze into one side, and had golf carts kicking dust and dirt into the fire (and all over us) all the time. Our power connection was constantly coming loose, so I would have to go jiggle the cable at the electric box to get it to work again.

When I looked at the campground website, the only additional fee that I saw mentioned was a $3 resort fee per person for use of the activities. I thought that was a bit odd, since I was paying such a premium rate to stay at this campground (almost an identical price as I paid for a much nicer spot at Fort Wilderness at Disney World), but it wasn't that big of a deal. However, when I arrived, I was offered an $18 per person wristband to go on the water slide and to play mini golf. Without the wristband, it was $1/ride on the slide (it was a good thing that I didn't buy the wristbands, cause the slide wasn't even open that weekend- but they tried to sell me the wristband anyways). Had I wanted to play mini golf, it was $3.50. For the first time I've ever seen at a campgound, there was a charge for WiFi. Paddle boats were rented by the hour. Golf cart rental was $60/day!

Our kids were excited to go to the pancake breakfast with Yogi and Santa (it was the Christmas in July weekend). We walked in to the convention center where the breakfast was being held, and there were about a half dozen empty tables with folding chairs strewn about. A VERY ratty looking Yogi was there, and the kids went up to take a picture with him. The second they were finished with the picture, Yogi took off, never to return (it was the only time that we saw any character the entire weekend). Santa never showed. We went up to pay for breakfast, and it was $5 for two of the worst pancakes I've ever seen (who has a pancake breakfast that isn't all you can eat? They're pancakes!! They cost about four cents a piece!!!), and a slice of burned bacon. While we were there, a few other families walked in, but they did the smart thing and turned right back around. The coffee at breakfast tasted like they had brewed it about 4 days prior and left it on the burner and tried to resurrect it by mixing more water in. I'll drink just about any coffee, but I took one sip and threw it away. I told the person working the counter that they were out of orange juice, but they just looked at me and never got any more.

Additionally, the golf carts at this campground were out of control. They were everywhere, and no one driving them paid any attention to where they were going. It was like I was walking my kids through city traffic. There was garbage everywhere, including the overflowing dumpster that was located about 20 feet from my campsite. They say that there are "quiet hours", but no one told the group of people driving their carts around and shouting at 1 am to keep it down. I went for a walk in the area that they call "The Outback" and came across their dump. Piles and piles of rotting food, half burned logs, rusting metal, and trash were lined up for about 30 feet along the trail. Technically they had fishing, but they might as well have called it "standing next to water with a pole in your hand looking stupid" cause I didn't see a single person catch a fish, and I didn't even get a nibble in the hour and a half I was out there. The website said that no outside fire wood was allowed in because of the emerald ash borer, but I saw dozens of people unloading wood out of their trunks. My kids really wanted to go swimming, but the cold weather made that impossible, so I told them that we could go to the hot tub instead. However, despite signs saying that there was a 15 minute time limit, we could never get in because large groups of people would take up the entire tub and stay there for over an hour, and no one from the park would enforce the time limit.

We were so disgusted with this campground that, had the kids not been so excited about breakfast with Santa, we would have left early. Had we know that Santa was going to be a no-show, we would have left. My kids cried when we left, but not because they were sad to be leaving. They cried because leading up to the trip, we had told them about all the fun that we were going to have, and they thought that we were leaving before any of the fun stuff happened.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

Let's Start at the beginning.
1. Check in. (4/5) Well organized for a busy Holiday weekend. Lots of people, but they had the escorts driving you around and keeping campsite boundaries sound.
2. Cleanliness (1/5) - Although you see the trashcans and camper trash bags being picked up, there is so much trash around the lakes and trails it is almost disgusting. On the back trails which are open to anyone, they have started a trash dumping area. Bathrooms/Shower Rooms all very dirty and uncleaned.
3. The 'Fishing Lake' (0/5) - The Lake dried out in 2012 (drought) and nothing survived except catfish. They are small, and there are not very many of them. Kids were very sad. The lake has a lot of muck and moss that hampers any good cleanup effort.
4. Safety (1/5) - Although it may have been a little busy, I personally witnessed a small boy get hit by a SUV, and an under aged drunk driver smashing into a golf cart. Several party goers (especially in the somewhat uncontrolled 'wilderness' were a bit out of control.
5. Accommodations (2/5) - We rented Cindy's cottage and a camp site. Campsite was level and had water and electric (they had to come and fix the broken breaker, but they did) Cottage had beds right in the front door room, and they consisted of an unsafe bunk bed that I would only let kids sleep on the bottom of, and a very saggy 'queen'. It did have another bedroom and 2 bathrooms which was nice. Cleanliness was average.
6. Pools (1/5) Pools were so packed with people, the kids could not even enjoy themselves. Water slides are not in pool area so they have to move between pool and slides. Opening/Closing times were not adhered to so if you wanted to 'adult swim' from 9 to 10a - you were lucky if anyone was there to open it at that time (or anytime after for that matter)
7. Mini Golf (0/5) - So much debris and no upkeep, along with no-body enforcing any rules allows the mini golf area to be a complete disaster area.
8. Paddle boats/Kayaks: (1/5) - Paddle boats operated pretty good, but there were not a lot of them. Kayaks had leaks and you were often given half a broken paddle if there were no doubles available.
9. Overall- (1/5) Not fun. Kids were bored, except for biking due to the large area this campground covers. No fishing, no golf, too hard to swim.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

Our family has stayed in Amboy over Columbus Day weekend for several years now and have found it a decent place to stay. The Halloween participation is what makes this location great! With the kids activities, trick or treating between campsites, and the haunted hay rides, our children always look forward to the next year.

Having said that, from an adult's perspective, we use our RV bathroom ONLY! I don't know if it is due to the volume of people that weekend of if it is typical, but the bath houses are dated and usually pretty dirty.

Overall, the people are pretty respectful of others and quiet hours, but one year there were a few annoying and loud college aged kids who had a little too much to drink. But, I suppose that type of venue could be the issue here as well. Management has always been responsive and the boating area is nice for our kids.

Room Tip: Book the cabins a year in advance if you need them!
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
illinois
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

We decided to stay here after hearing such "great" things about this place. Next time we wont listen. The roads are dusty. Dirt on everyone and everything. The bathrooms were dirty and smelly. We brought our own toliet paper and soap--thank goodness! They never restocked either. We left after 2 days. The kids were bored. The rec center had garbage crafts and most of the arcade games were not working. Then when they wanted to redeem their tickets there was nothing for them to get because they were empty. Thank goodness it didnt rain otherwise our site would have been a mud pit--no grass only dirt. We would rather not come here again and same with the kids. They said they would rather camp in the yard.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2012

The roads here are all dust. Everything in your campsite will be covered before you go to sleep tonight. The tent campsites are 75% on a hill. Ever sleep on a hill?? Not fun. The bathrooms need to be cleaned more often and people need to seriously watch their kids. They are supposed to be supervised while in the pools, yet you see them by themselves. Don't you care about your childrens welfare? I don't understand some of these rednecks.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grayslake, Illinois
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2012

The park had alot to offer for my family, 3 kids ranging from 7-12 the first summer we went. I know I put up reviews for this campground but not sure where so I am putting them here as well. We had a great experience the first visit in 2010 we stayed for a full week, although during the weekend it was very busy but we assumed it was because it was 4th of july and it seemed they were not staffed well enough to keep up with cleaning the pools and bath houses as well as they should have been. Other than that we had a good time, could have done with out all he noise at night from fellow campers but we did ok.
The second year we went back in 2011 for forth of July weekend and we were having a good time until we had an underage (un licenced) driver in a suburban or large type suv slam into the rear of our vehicle. Which was parked more than a foot off the road! We were sorely disapointed that they did not evict this family from the park!! Those people put other campers at risk by allowing their child to drive a vehicle, and they got to stay? NOT OK in my book. We loved what the campsite had to offer but not eviciting this family will prevent us from coming back, I and my kids are very sad that we will not get to enjoy the fireworks at Amboy this year.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about O'Connell's Yogi Bear Park

Address: 970 Green Wing Road, PO Box 200, Amboy, IL 61310
Location: United States > Illinois > Amboy
Amenities:
Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Amboy
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 668
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Also Known As:
o`Connell`s Jellystone Park Hotel Amboy

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