Saturday, July 23, 2011

Jr. Ranger Program- National Parks

If you didn't already know your National Park system offers a great free program for kids ages 4 and up. For us our 5yo and 10 yo did the program  at all three places we went this summer.

 The St. Louis Arch, Mammoth Cave National Park, and both the Lincoln Birthplace and Boyhood home at Knob creek( they share a book). Our 13 and 14 yo boys did the program at St. Louis but not the others, I wish they had but they were a bit done with mom's need to see historical sites.

All you need to do is when you arrive at a park is head to the information desk and ask them do they take part in the the Jr. Ranger program if so they will ask you how many books you need.

In the book are many activities and each age level has to complete a different number of activities, during your visit to the site.

Kat and Nolan working on book at St. Louis

 I find that this makes the site more interesting to the kids, they are looking for and understanding things that they might have first passed over.They also learn to ask the rangers for information that they can not find.

After they are done they head back to a ranger who will look at their book, ask them questions about things they wrote in the book and then swear them in as Jr. Rangers, in which they promise to explore, learn, and protect.

Then they receive a small plastic park ranger badge with the park name on it. My 5yo was so very proud to receive these badges at the different parks that he would run up to ranger to tell them he was a Jr.Ranger.

It is a great program to help make your visits to National Parks more meaningful, and it also has the goal of teaching today's children about the importance of exploring, learning, and protecting their past.

So the next time you are at a national park with your children, ask about the Jr. Ranger program.

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