El Dorado, Kansas, is home to the Deer Grove RV Park. The current owners of the park, Tim and Natalie, purchased the property in 2003 and have owned it since. Renovations to the property have been made during their time there, and they have hopes to make more changes in the future. Currently, the park has 53 RV sites with 20 of them being pull-through sites. There are picnic tables available at each site for patron usage as well. Other amenities included on the property are laundry facilities, showers, bathrooms, and a clubhouse. According to Natalie, the park is a quiet and friendly park. Dogs are permitted on the property but must be kept on a leash except when in the dog park. The property is open year-round, with the busiest season of the year falling in April.
The Deer Grove RV Park is located in the town of El Dorado, Kansas. On the property, there are 53 pull-through sites, with future plans of adding more sites within the next six months. Each of the sites contains full hookups; however, there are about ten sites that have 30 amp hookups. The rest have both 30 and 50 amps. Picnic tables are available at all of the sites. Other amenities specific to the sites are Wi-Fi and cable that has 48 channels. There is a main office building. Located inside the office building are the laundry facilities and the tornado shelter. Showers and bathrooms are available for the use of those staying at the property. Another facility on the property is the Clubhouse. It serves as an RV rally meeting room and also a banquet hall. It is only available upon reservation. The building is 1,500 square feet that includes a full kitchen. A dog park is also offered on the land and is open to all patrons. Additionally, another area is open for patrons to walk around with their dogs. The manager says that there is a relatively high amount of access to the land.
The grounds of the RV park are located in the Flint Hills, which according to the owner is one of the last tallgrass prairies in the world. Located near the prairies is a Federal Byway that takes visitors through the heart of the Flint Hills. The park is located outside of El Dorado but there is a relatively small community surrounding the area. Natalie says it’s a mix of country and urban life. Near the premises of the property is a longhorn cattle range, as well as a live auction area where guests often go and watch cattle be sold. Natalie says that there are multiple things happening throughout the year in the area and that the Deer Grove RV Park tries to support and promote it among its patrons.
The land adjacent to the park has a pond where visitors are allowed to walk around. There is a small orchard on the property. Guests are allowed to pick from the two pears that are in the orchard if the fruit is ready. There are chives and rhubarb that visitors can pick as well if the plants are in season. Other activities that patrons can participate in consist of a variety of outdoor games that they are able to check out free of charge. Cornhole, bocce ball, ladder ball, croquet, and a few other outdoor activities are available. The park is located on five acres of land, with the adjacent property adding extra space for activities.
The Deer Grove RV Park will host thank you parties a few times during the summer, where they cook for their guests and try to give patrons the opportunity to get to know each other. The staff likes to give a drink, candy, and/or produce to the visitors, complimentary to their stay.
Natalie states that the business’s goal is to treat their guests like family because that is also how they want to be treated. Natalie says that this atmosphere makes it hard for her to say goodbye to her visitors when the time comes for them to leave. Her end goal is to help visitors feel like they are part of the community. She tries to do this by introducing them to each other, taking them into town, and going out to eat. Overall, Natalie says that there is steady interaction between patrons and staff. One guest remarked that the “owner was very nice and took us to our site. Quiet during the night, all gravel park, smaller sites, and a very nice dog park.”
Policies that the business sets for the establishment include keeping it quiet on the premises by prohibiting parties and activities that they deem as loud. Pets are allowed on the property, with the restriction of aggressive breeds. Exceptions can be made if staff is able to meet the animal first and deem it not aggressive.
The property is open year-round to visitors, with spring being the busiest time for the establishment. One of the biggest attractions that draw visitors to the area is the Flint Hills Federal Byway. Other draws include the small college that brings parents who come to support their children going to school. The Prairie Trails 18-hole Golf Course is 3.5 miles from the park. If guests are looking for places to eat in town, there are multiple Mexican restaurants, several sports bars, a deli, fast food, smoothies, breakfast places, and more.
The Deer Grove RV Park was purchased by Tim and Natalie in 2003. They are not the original owners. It is presumed that the business was established in the late 1980s after a body of water was built in the area a few miles away from the park. Tim and Natalie decided to enter the lodging industry when the property was put up for sale and they decided to invest in it. The first thing they did was clean it up to improve the reputation of the park and get the park ready for visitors. Specific things they have done are adding sites, services, better utilities, trimming up the trees, and keeping up on the general maintenance. They purchased the land adjacent to the RV park, adding the availability for those who visit the property to have access to the small orchard and pond.
The owners say that future plans for the Deer Grove RV Park include adding an “adult playground,” meaning a big fire pit and outdoor game area. Other plans include adding more sites and a few walking trails on the premises. Overall, she says the main goal is to add sites to the park so they can give travelers a place to stay.
Natalie and the staff's favorite part of the job has been the people, getting to know them, and hearing their stories. Natalie says that “there are just so many happy people” who come to her park and that it’s rare for her to ever meet an "off" customer. Her guests “make her day, every day.” Visitors to the property have been reported to return to the park each year, especially snowbirds. Natalie says that she sees couples come back at the same time every year to come to see her and that she treats them like family.