Thursday, September 10, 2009

National Park Junior Ranger Program

The National Parks have a fantastic program  for those traveling with children.
The Junior Ranger Program is a great way to have your children active, learning about the park they are in and having a good time all at once. Best suited for ages 5-12, but we find we learn something too!  We didn't find out about this right away and are disappointed. Now, once we enter a park, the first thing our children want to know is what that particular parks Jr Ranger program entails, and can they get started right away!
Most parks Jr. Ranger programs are free. Once completed, the children receive a 'badge" from a park ranger after a "swearing in"ceremony. Some parks offer an additional program for a nominal fee ($3-5) and your child receives a embroidered sew-on patch as well.
Most of the programs have the children participate in a Ranger program which could be a scavenger hunt (Crater Lake), a short ranger talk on some aspect of the park ( Yosemite, Glacier) or a campfire presentation,almost all have these!
My children have learned about flora, fauna, and the environment, in addition to how the parks began.
We have found this program available also at National Monuments(ie.National Homestead, NB), National Lakeshore (ie. Apollo Islands, MI) and National Seashore(ie. Cumberland Island, GA).

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