If you’re interested in a family getaway in the heart of the Bluegrass music capital of the world – look no further than the Renfro Valley KOA. We spoke with Gene Roland from the campgrounds, and he filled us in on things to do in the area, what exactly a “jumping pillow” is, and where he’d choose to spend a single night in the campground. Listen to our full interview here:
Renfro Valley KOA, Kentucky
Camp Kentucky: I’m talking with Gene Roland this morning. He is from Kentucky, and we’re going to talk about the Renfro Valley KOA that he runs there. How’s it going, Jean?
Gene Roland: Oh, doing well, how about yourself?
CK: Having a good morning so far. So let’s talk about when did you start working about the KOA there and how long ago was that.
Gene Roland: We purchased this property in 2010.
CK: Okay. And what are the most popular activities for the guests there?
Gene Roland: Family recreation activities from swimming, playground, mini golf, and basketball. We have the famous jumping pillow. We have activities and organized events – special events – through the year. Our KOA County Fair. Family Olympics. Wild West Shootouts. Right now we’re in October, so we’re in our Spooktacular Season, so we’re sold out on the weekends right now with the activities and events that we host for our guests.
Gene Roland: Just a lot of good, clean fun.
CK: Well, I think you better tell me about the famous jumping pillow. How can I pass that up?
Gene Roland: Well, the jumping pillow is 1500 sq feet of bounce. It’s like an outdoor bounce house. It rises up out about four feet tall. And guests, children mostly, but we encourage the adults as well to get on that. It’s a lot of fun. You can get on it and bounce like you’re walking on the clouds. It’s hours and hours of fun.
CK: It sounds like it’s huge.
Gene Roland: It is. It is. It’s a product from a company called Jumping Pillows, Inc. out of Tennessee, and there’s several KOAs. There are quite a few KOA Campgrounds that have installed this. You’ll also find them at some theme parks. Family event parks, like your pumpkin ride parks and those types of activities. So, a lot of outdoor fun.
CK: Okay. And what are some other attractions in the area that you’d recommend checking out if I were staying there?
Gene Roland: Well, here, at Renfro Valley, there’s the Entertainment Center. The Entertainment Center is about a half a mile from our campground, and this is the birthplace of bluegrass music. A lot of people aren’t familiar with that part of Renfro Valley, but it is the birthplace, as we call ourselves, bluegrass music. And throughout the year, there are entertainers down there, anywhere from Loretta Lynn. She entertained this year here. Sawyer Brown. Moe Bandy. Michael Twitty. Don Williams. Charlie Daniels Band. So, there’s a lot of good local entertainment. A lot of people are familiar with the famous Pigeon Forge. We’re sort of the mini Pigeon Forge, here in Kentucky.
CK: Okay, sounds like a lot of fun.
Gene Roland: Yeah, there’s other sites and things to do in the area. Hiking trails. There’s fishing. There’s the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame; is half a mile from our entrance as well. It’s a great museum to visit.
CK: That sounds like a great spot. I’m a big fan of music and a musician myself, so I think I’d have a blast there.
Gene Roland: Oh, it is. For the music enthusiast, there’s plenty to do.
CK: Two more questions for you, Jean. If you were going to spend just an hour at the Renfro Valley KOA there, how would you spend your time?
Gene Roland: I would spend my time with my family. Just a little get together. Just a time to sort of recharge our batteries from the world’s drainage.
Gene Roland: A great thing. A great feature of camping that it’s a great family activity, even if the family is just one person. It’s getting away from everything that’s plugged in, if you know what I mean.
CK: I know exactly what you mean. That’s exactly why we do it. And if you were going to spend just one night in the Renfro Valley KOA there, which specific campsite would you choose and why?
Gene Roland: Well, all of our campsites are great campsites. I guess, if I had a favorite, I would pick number 68. It’s on top of the hill and it’s away from a lot of the parts of the Park, so you feel more secluded, more alone. It’s a great place to have a campfire and roast the marshmallows under the moon.
CK: Perfect. Well, hey, thanks for taking some time out of your day, Jean, to talk to us at Camp-Kentucky.com and give us good information about Renfro Valley KOA in Kentucky.
Gene Roland: Well, thank you for all that you guys do too. We appreciate you.
CK: All right, thanks.