The Mammoth Cave Jellystone Park celebrates two major milestones this past Monday with the grand opening of Karst Beach, a 2.3-acre pond and splash beach with a floating water sports park, as well as the opening of its very own Nathan’s Famous hot dog franchise.
“These new attractions are going to provide a big boost in tourism revenue not only for us, but for the Commonweath of Kentucky,” said Bill Pott, who co-owns and operates the Mammoth Cave Jellystone Park with his wife, Kay.
Jay Hall, executive director of the Kentucky Office of Film and Development, will join the Pott family and top Jellystone Park officials for Monday’s 9 a.m. grand opening event, which will usher in a period of increased revenue and tourism for the Mammoth Cave Jellystone Park and the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The public is invited to attend the event, which will include a flag raising and Pledge of Allegiance with Yogi Bear, short speeches, tours of the park, which currently includes 125 campsites and 74 rental cabins, as well as prizes and giveaways of Yogi Bear themed merchandise.
“The Karst Beach water play park and Nathan’s Famous franchise are part of a $10.7 million expansion effort that will draw even more visitors to our Cave City park while generating nearly $3.5 million in sales and income taxes for the Commonwealth of Kentucky during the next 10 years,” Bill Pott said, citing statistics from an economic impact study prepared by Chicago-based Hunden Strategic Partners.
Bill Pott, for his part, said Karst Beach is a major new amenity for the Mammoth Cave Jellystone Park, which first opened in 1974, and which the Pott family has owned and operated since 2004. Karst Beach includes a new 2.3 acre man-made pond and splash beach with a 110-foot by 130-foot long floating sports park with water trampolines and slides. The floating sports park, called a Wibit, is designed to accommodate up to 100 people at a time.
The Mammoth Cave Jellystone Park has also become the second Jellystone Park in North America to have a full Nathan’s Famous restaurant franchise on site after the Jellystone Park in Luray, Va.
The $10.7 million expansion includes construction of five additional playgrounds, five additional bathhouses, a pedal cart track and day use pet kennels. A major new building was also added encompassing registration, offices and a retail area called Huckleberry Knob, which includes souvenirs, gifts, toys and other items. Food options are also housed in the new building, including Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, Hunt Brothers Pizza and Swirlstation ice cream.
The Potts are currently adding 100 campsites and 20 rental cabins as part of their Phase I expansion with a targeting completion date of September of this year. Phase II of the expansion, which has yet to commence, will include additional campsites and cabins.
The Potts say their expansion will have a positive effect on the Cave City economy, not only producing short-term construction jobs, but an eventual permanent increase in Jellystone Park’s workforce from 55 to 100 full- and part-time employees during the peak summer camping seasons.
The Cave City Jellystone Park has received national attention and several awards in recent years. U.S. News & World Report named it one of “The 8 Coolest Campgrounds for Families” in 2016, while the Travel Channel named it one of the 10 best campgrounds for families in 2015.
Last year, the Potts received the Dan O’Connell Service Award from Leisure Systems, Inc. (LSI), the Milford, Ohio-based company that franchises over 85 Jellystone Parks across the U.S. and Canada. The award recognizes Jellystone Park owners who have made exemplary efforts to expand the campground industry.
“We’re putting in the amenities and activities that people want, and they’re willing to travel to get those amenities and attractions,” Bill Pott said, adding that 55 percent of his campers come from out of state. For more information, please visit www.jellystonemammothcave.com.