The National Parks Junior Ranger Program is available at the majority of all national parks and some state parks. The motto, “Explore, Learn, and Protect!” is the oath that each child learns stating that they will protect the parks, learn from about them, and share their story of being a Junior Ranger with their friends and family.
The National Parks Junior Ranger Program
Typically, kids are between 5-13 years old, although anybody can participate even if they are just young at heart. The Junior Rangers complete a series of educational activities during their park visit and then share their answered and what they learned with a Park Ranger. The kids then receive an official JR Ranger Program patch and certificate.
The National Park Service (NPS) has a variety of activity booklets that the Junior Ranger can pickup at most parks for each. They are also available for download as well.
- NPS Junior Archeologist Activity Book and Parents Guide
- Southeast Archeological Center’s Junior Archeologist Program Activity Book
- How Fossils Are Formed
- Our Night Skies
- Exploring Wilderness
- What Is Underwater
- Underground Railroad Network to Freedom
- Let’s Move Outside, Junior Rangers!
At some of the larger national parks like Yellowstone National Park they have specific programs for the Junior Rangers. At Yellowstone, they have a full-color activity booklet is $3 with a range of activities for the kids to complete. Yellowstone as well as other larger national parks, have their own special patch that the Junior Rangers receive when they complete the program. What’s cool is that they can get a different patch as they grow-up and complete the program for their age group. For instance, the patch is a geyser for 4-7 year olds, a grizzly bear for 8-12 year olds, and a bison for those over 13 years old.
Just think of all the patches you can collect if your kids visit national parks all over the US! Not only that, but the knowledge of how the animals interact with the environment, plus how important the different floral and fauna is to the many different regions of the world.
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