This campground visit to Jellystone Toronto (really waaaay north of Toronto up Highway 400 near Gwilimbury/West Bradford) was inspired by a visit a couple of years ago to Jellystone New Brunswick (near Woodstock, NB) - that place has a waterslide and many more refinements than this franchise has to offer, but we went in the spirit of family fun...and found some.
EARLY TIP OFFS OF ISSUES
There were a few early tip-offs that perhaps things weren't as cozy and wonderful as our previous experience. (i) RATES: The NB location rates are based upon two adults and three children, while the Toronto location rate is apparently based upon only two people - any kids after the adults will be an extra $9 each (not impressed with that, but went with it anyway while booking by phone).(ii) SLOPED SITE: Upon arrival we were given campsite #82, so we went to the location in the not-so-busy area and found that site was a very sloped hill that led to a brush and stream area (again, not impressed). We returned to the office and asked if there weren't any other sites that were actually flat enough to pitch a tent, and were offered plenty of other choices. Why did they knowingly give us a terrible and mostly unusable site? Do they really not care about our experience? No real answer from them seemed to come. Again, we muddled on if only to get the tent up before sunset and not totally wreck our fun and outdoorsy sense of a family weekend. (note: we opted to "rough it" by getting a non-serviced site)
PLENTY FOR KIDS
There is really a lot to do for children over a couple of days, as long as it doesn't rain, but staying a whole week might be a bit of a bore. From arts & crafts, scavenger hunts, mini putt, dance party games, pool fun, to the twice-daily "Heyrides", there's enough to keep wee ones pumped up and busy the entire day and tire them out by the end of it.... so much so that our kid actually asked to put themselves to bed! In general, as well, I must say that the people who deal directly with the kids for activities are a bundle of energy for the entire day themselves - really quite wonderful to see.
The "Heyrides" (there's no actual hay, so they call it that I suppose) occur at 10am and 7pm daily, and feature Yogi Bear on the wagon that's equipped with benches and pulled by a large pickup. The kids love it, and it's pretty fun for them to just tour the campground as they do things like yell out there name, where they're from and what they plan to do that day....and get a lollipop!
BASE CAMP FOR MANY
Many of the people who stay there use it as a cheap home base to make tourism daytrips from - Wonderland (very close), Toronto Zoo, downtown Toronto attractions, Niagara Falls (far!), etc are all within reason from the campground. See the company website for their list/distance chart.
Overall, the facilities are looked after. The washrooms with showers are clean and looked after. The campground is fairly quiet, even though it partially overlooks the busy Highway 400. Firewood is sold there (don't bring your own for fear of transporting pests that are destroying our trees) at $10 for a large bag that served us easily for two nights. The pool has no lifeguard, and can get quite busy, so keep very close to wee ones lest they get in the way of rambunctious bigger kids.
The campsite has plenty of spots for trailers, RVs, etc. and they also have "habitat" facilities, which are sort of large hard tents with bunkbeds in them ... but we didn't want to risk the mattresses.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- There is always a lot to do at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park™. Take a swim in our heated in-ground swimming pool, play a round of mini-putt golf, watch Yogi Bear™ cartoons, enjoy the traditional "Hey, Hey, Hey, Wagon Ride", and much, much, more. You can also take part in any of our planned special events. There's never a dull moment at Jellystone Park™! ... more less