NPS Program Gets Kids Engaged in Parks

If your summer vacation plans include a National Park Service facility, be sure to check out the Junior Ranger program. The free activity-based offering gives young visitors the chance to join the honorary NPS ranks.

Participants must complete a series of activities during their visit and discuss their adventures with a park ranger. Once they’ve completed the tasks, they receive an official Junior Ranger badge or patch and a certificate.

The program—available at most NPS sites—is geared for ages 5-13, though anyone can participate. Some parks have activities available for younger children. Participating can help get kids more engaged in the place they’re visiting—especially if the location is of a historic vs. scenic nature. 

Kids who don’t have plans to visit a park can work with their parents to earn some Junior Ranger badges at home through nps.gov/kids/jrrangers.cfm. These lessons cover a mix of topics ranging from wildlife to paleontology to astronomy.