Junior Ranger Program
The "Junior Ranger Programs" are activities prepared especially for 5–12 year old visitors to the properties of the National Park Service. Children and their families participate in the program by completing prepared activity books which are generally free, but in a few cases can cost up to $3. The activity books direct children to areas they might otherwise miss, or to things of special interest to the age group. The booklets contain information that helps children and their families discover the importance of a park on their own terms, and decide what the park means to them personally. After completing the specified amount of pages for the child's age group, the participant is awarded a patch, badge and/or certificate, unique to each park.
Specialty Badges and Patches
Some parks or groups of parks offer specialty badges or patches. For example, select participating parks now offer a Junior Civil War Historian badge for participants who complete three activities -- either junior ranger books at three parks or junior ranger books at two parks and one online activity. Select participating parks offer a Junior Paleontologist program. Select participating parks offer a Sante Fe National Historic Trail Junior Ranger program. Some sites also offer additional patches for older participants. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument offers both a Junior Ranger patch and a Desert Ranger patch for older participants. Guadalupe Mountains National Park offers a Junior Ranger patch, a Senior Ranger patch and a Wilderness Explorer patch. Bandelier offers four different patches based on age groups.
- Junior War Historian Program
- Junior Paleontologist Program
- Santa Fe National Historic Trail Junior Ranger Program
- Organ Pipe Cactus Junior Ranger and Desert Ranger
- Guadalupe Mountains Junior Ranger, Senior Ranger, Junior Paleontologist, Wilderness Explorer
- Junior Ranger Night Explorers
Nearly all United States National Parks participate in the Junior Ranger Program, as well as National Monuments, National Historic Sites, National Recreation Areas, etc. Also many state parks also have a program but may differ from the National Park Service program.
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