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Lists of Junior Ranger Programs

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There are over 400 National Park Service sites offering Junior Ranger Programs. If you’re on a expedition to complete more Junior Ranger programs to earn more badges and patches then you don’t want to miss opportunities to complete those programs when you’re visiting each area of the country. These lists are organized by region and state so you can easily find Junior Ranger programs near where you are traveling. Make sure to also check the National Trails list to find programs that cross multiple states and regions.

Click on a region below to see each list.

National Trail Junior Ranger Programs

National Trail Junior Ranger Programs

These Junior Ranger Programs can span multiple states and regions of the United States. Watch for opportunities to complete these programs at NPS sites within the associated states.

  • Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail (HI)
  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail (CT, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV)
  • Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZ)
  • California National Historic Trail (CA, CO, ID, KS, MO, NE, NV, OR, UT, WY)
  • Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail (DC, MD, NY, PA, VA, WV)
  • El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail (TX, LA)
  • El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail (NM, TX)
  • Florida National Scenic Trail (FL)
  • Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail (AZ, CA)
  • Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (ID, IL, IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, ND, OR, SD, WA)
  • Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail (IL, IA, NE, UT, WY)
  • Old Spanish National Historic Trail (AZ, CA, CO, NV, NM, UT)
  • Oregon National Historic Trail (ID, KS, MO, NE, OR, WA, WY)
  • Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (NC, SC, TN, VA)
  • Pony Express National Historic Trail (CA, CO, KS, MO, NE, NV, UT, WY)
  • River Raisin Heritage Trail (MI)
  • Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail (AL)
  • Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail (DC, MD, VA)
  • Santa Fe National Historic Trail (CO, KS, MO, NM, OK)
  • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (AL, AR, GA, IL, KY, MO, NC, OK, TN)
  • Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail (MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, DE, MD, VA, DC)

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Junior Ranger Programs in the Midwest

ILLINOIS

  • Lincoln Home National Historic Site
  • Pullman National Monument

INDIANA

  • George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
  • Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

IOWA

  • Effigy Mounds National Monument
  • Herbert Hoover National Historic Site

KANSAS

  • Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site
  • Fort Larned National Historic Site
  • Fort Scott National Historic Site
  • Nicodemus National Historic Site
  • Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

KENTUCKY

  • Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park
  • Big South Fork Nat’l River & Recreational Area (KY, TN)
  • Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
  • Mammoth Cave National Park

MICHIGAN

  • Isle Royale National Park
  • Keweenaw National Historical Park
  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
  • River Raisin Heritage Trail (MI)
  • River Raisin National Battlefield Park
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

MINNESOTA

  • Grand Portage National Monument
  • Mississippi National River & Recreation Area
  • Ojibwe Ethno-botanical Garden in Voyageurs Nat’l Park
  • Pipestone National Monument
  • Voyageurs National Park

MISSOURI

  • George Washington Carver National Monument
  • Harry S. Truman National Historic Site
  • Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
  • Ozark National Scenic Riverways
  • Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
  • Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield

NEBRASKA

  • Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Homestead National Monument of America
  • Missouri National Recreational River (NE, SD)
  • Niobrara National Scenic River
  • Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument

OHIO

  • Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
  • Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  • Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park
  • First Ladies National Historic Site
  • Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
  • James A. Garfield National Historic Site
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar House in Dayton Aviation Heritage Nat’l Historic Park
  • Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial
  • William Howard Taft National Historic Site

WISCONSIN

  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore
  • Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway (MN, WI)

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Junior Ranger Programs near Washington, DC

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

  • Anacostia Watershed Junior Ranger
  • Carter G. Woodson Home National Historic Site
  • Civil War Defenses of Washington
  • Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site
  • Fort Washington Park
  • Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
  • Greenbelt Park
  • Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
  • Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
  • National Mall & Memorial Parks
  • Oxon Cove Park & Oxon Hill Farm
  • President’s Park National Historic Site
  • Rock Creek Park
  • White House

VIRGINIA

  • Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee National Memorial
  • George Washington Memorial Parkway
  • Glen Echo Park
  • Great Falls Park
  • Theodore Roosevelt Island National Memorial

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Junior Ranger Programs in the Northwest & Pacific States & Territories

ALASKA

  • Alaska Public Lands
  • Aleutian World War II National Historic Area
  • Bering Land Bridge National Preserve
  • Denali National Park & Preserve
  • Gates of the Arctic National Park & Preserve
  • Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve
  • Inupiat Heritage Center
  • Katmai National Park & Preserve
  • Kenai Fjords National Park
  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (AK, WA)
  • Lake Clark National Park & Preserve
  • Sitka National Historical Park
  • Western Artic National Parklands
  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve

AMERICAN SAMOA

  • National Park of American Samoa

GUAM

  • War in the Pacific National Historical Park

HAWAII

  • Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail (HI)
  • Haleakala National Park
  • Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park
  • Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
  • Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park
  • Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site
  • World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

IDAHO

  • City of Rocks National Reserve
  • Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve
  • Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Minidoka National Historic Site
  • Nez Perce National Historical Park (ID, MT, OR, WA)

OREGON

  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Fort Vancouver National Historic Site – McLoughlin House
  • John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (OR, WA)
  • Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

WASHINGTON

  • Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
  • Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (OR, WA)
  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (AK, WA)
  • Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area
  • Lewis and Clark National Historical Park (OR, WA)
  • Manhattan Project National Historical Park (NM, TN, WA)
  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • North Cascades National Park
  • Olympic National Park
  • San Juan Island National Historical Park
  • Whitman Mission National Historical Site

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Junior Ranger Programs in the Western States

ARIZONA

  • Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZ)
  • Canyon de Chelly National Monument
  • Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
  • Chiricahua National Monument
  • Coronado National Memorial
  • Fort Bowie National Historic Site
  • Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area (AZ, NV)
  • Montezuma Castle National Monument
  • Montezuma Well National Monument
  • Navajo National Monument
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
  • Parashant – Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Pipe Spring National Monument
  • Saguaro National Park
  • Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
  • Tonto National Monument
  • Tumacacori National Historical Park
  • Tuzigoot National Monument
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument
  • Wupatki National Monument

CALIFORNIA

  • Alcatraz Island
  • Cabrillo National Monument
  • Cesar E. Chavez National Monument
  • Channel Islands National Park
  • Death Valley National Park (CA, NV)
  • Devils Postpile National Monument
  • Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area – Marin Headlands
  • John Muir National Historic Site
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Lassen Volcanic National Park
  • Lava Beds National Monument
  • Manzanar National Historic Site
  • Mojave National Preserve
  • Muir Woods National Monument
  • Pinnacles National Park
  • Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Redwood National Park
  • Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park
  • Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
  • Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks
  • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
  • Yosemite National Park

NEVADA

  • Great Basin National Park
  • Lake Mead National Recreation Area (AZ, NV)

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Junior Ranger Programs in the Northeast

CONNECTICUT

  • Farmington National Wild and Scenic River
  • Weir Farm National Historic Site

MAINE

  • Acadia National Park
  • Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
  • Saint Croix Island International Historic Site

MASSACHUSETTS

  • Adams National Historical Park
  • Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park (MA, RI)
  • Boston African American National Historic Site
  • Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area
  • Boston National Historical Park
  • Cape Cod National Seashore
  • Essex National Heritage Area
  • Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
  • John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site
  • Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters Nat’l Historic Site
  • Lowell National Historical Park
  • Minute Man National Historical Park
  • New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park
  • Salem Maritime National Historic Site
  • Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site
  • Springfield Armory National Historic Site
  • Sudbury, Assabet and Concord National Wild and Scenic Rivers

NEW HAMPSHIRE

  • Lamprey Wild and Scenic River
  • Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

NEW JERSEY

  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (NJ, PA)
  • Gateway National Recreation Area – Sandy Hook
  • Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River (NJ, PA)
  • Morristown National Historical Park
  • Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park
  • Statue of Liberty National Monument & Ellis Island (NJ, NY)
  • Thomas Edison National Historical Park

NEW YORK

  • African Burial Ground National Monument
  • Castle Clinton National Monument
  • Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site
  • Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor
  • Federal Hall National Memorial
  • Fire Island National Seashore
  • Fort Stanwix National Monument
  • Gateway National Recreation Area – Jamaica Bay
  • Gateway National Recreation Area – Staten Island
  • General Grant National Memorial
  • Governors Island National Monument
  • Hamilton Grange National Memorial
  • Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site
  • Martin Van Buren National Historic Site
  • Niagara Falls National Hertitage Area
  • Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
  • Saint Paul’s Church National Historic Site
  • Saratoga National Historical Park
  • Statue of Liberty National Monument & Ellis Island (NJ, NY)
  • Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site
  • Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site
  • Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NY, PA)
  • Women’s Rights National Historical Park

RHODE ISLAND

  • Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park (MA, RI)
  • Roger Williams National Memorial

VERMONT

  • Marsh – Billings – Rockefeller National Historical Park

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Junior Ranger Programs in the Southeast States, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands

ALABAMA

  • Horseshoe Bend National Military Park
  • Little River Canyon National Preserve
  • Russell Cave National Monument
  • Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail (AL)
  • Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site
  • Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site

FLORIDA

  • Big Cypress National Preserve
  • Biscayne National Park
  • Canaveral National Seashore
  • Castillo de San Marcos National Monument
  • De Soto National Memorial
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Everglades National Park
  • Florida National Scenic Trail (FL)
  • Fort Caroline National Memorial
  • Fort Matanzas National Monument
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore (FL, MS)
  • Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve

GEORGIA

  • Andersonville National Historic Site
  • Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
  • Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area
  • Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nat’l Military Park (GA, TN)
  • Cumberland Island National Seashore
  • Fort Frederica National Monument
  • Fort Pulaski National Monument
  • Jimmy Carter National Historic Site
  • Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site
  • Ocmulgee National Monument

NORTH CAROLINA

  • Blue Ridge Parkway (NC, VA)
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Cape Lookout National Seashore
  • Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
  • Colonial Heritage Center – Guilford Courthouse Nat’l Military Park
  • Fort Raleigh National Historic Site
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC, TN)
  • Guilford Courthouse National Military Park
  • Moores Creek National Battlefield
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial

PUERTO RICO

  • San Juan National Historic Site

SOUTH CAROLINA

  • Charles Pinckney National Historic Site
  • Congaree National Park
  • Cowpens National Battlefield
  • Fort Moultrie part of Fort Sumter National Monument
  • Fort Sumter National Monument
  • Kings Mountain National Military Park
  • Ninety Six National Historic Site

TENNESSEE

  • Andrew Johnson National Historic Site
  • Big South Fork Nat’l River & Recreational Area (KY, TN)
  • Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nat’l Military Park (GA, TN)
  • Fort Donelson National Battlefield
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park (NC, TN)
  • Manhattan Project National Historical Park
  • Natchez Trace Parkway (AL, MS, TN)
  • Obed Wild & Scenic River
  • Shiloh National Military Park
  • Stones River National Battlefield

US VIRGIN ISLANDS

  • Buck Island Reef National Monument
  • Christiansted National Historic Site
  • Salt River Bay Nat’l Historical Park & Ecological Preserve
  • Virgin Islands National Park

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Junior Ranger Programs in the Mountain States

COLORADO

  • Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Colorado National Monument
  • Curecanti National Recreation Area
  • Dinosaur National Monument (CO, UT)
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Rocky Mountain National Park

MONTANA

  • Big Hole National Battlefield
  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (MT, WY)
  • Glacier National Park
  • Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
  • Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument

NORTH DAKOTA

  • Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site
  • Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park

SOUTH DAKOTA

  • Badlands National Park
  • Jewel Cave National Monument
  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
  • Missouri National Recreational River (NE, SD)
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Wind Cave National Park

UTAH

  • Arches National Park
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonlands National Park
  • Capitol Reef National Park
  • Cedar Breaks National Monument
  • Dinosaur National Monument (CO, UT)
  • Golden Spike National Historic Site
  • Hovenweep National Monument
  • Natural Bridges National Monument
  • Rainbow Bridge National Monument
  • Timpanogos Cave National Monument
  • Zion National Park

WYOMING

  • Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area (MT, WY)
  • Devils Tower National Monument
  • Fort Laramie National Historic Site
  • Fossil Butte National Monument
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park

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National Junior Ranger Programs

National Junior Ranger Programs

These Junior Ranger Programs are available at multiple NPS sites across the nation based on the site themes. These represent opportunities to earn multiple Junior Ranger badges and/or patches at the sites that offer these.

  • Climate Change Junior Ranger
  • Junior Archeologist
  • Junior Paleontologist
  • Junior Ranger Cave Scientist
  • Junior Ranger Night Explorer
  • Junior Ranger River Safety
  • Junior Ranger Underwater Explorer
  • Junior Ranger Wilderness Explorer
  • Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Junior Ranger

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Junior Ranger Programs in the Mid-Atlantic

DELAWARE

  • First State National Historical Park

MARYLAND

  • Antietam National Battlefield
  • Assateague Island National Seashore (MD, VA)
  • Catoctin Mountain Park
  • Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park
  • Clara Barton National Historic Site
  • Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine
  • Hampton National Historic Site
  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument
  • Monocacy National Battlefield
  • Thomas Stone National Historic Site

PENNSYLVANIA

  • Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (NJ, PA)
  • Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
  • Eisenhower National Historic Site
  • Flight 93 National Memorial
  • Fort Necessity National Battlefield
  • Friendship Hill National Historic Site
  • Gettysburg National Military Park
  • Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
  • Independence National Historical Park
  • Johnstown Flood National Memorial
  • Lower Delaware National Wild and Scenic River (NJ, PA)
  • Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area
  • Steamtown National Historic Site
  • Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial
  • Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River (NY, PA)
  • Valley Forge National Historical Park

VIRGINIA

  • Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
  • Assateague Island National Seashore (MD, VA)
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (NC, VA)
  • Booker T. Washington National Monument
  • Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park
  • Fort Monroe National Monument
  • Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
  • Chancellorsville Battlefield
  • Fredericksburg Battlefield
  • Spotsylvania Battlefield
  • Wilderness Battlefield
  • George Washington Birthplace National Monument
  • Historic Jamestowne – Colonial Nat’l Historical Park
  • Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site
  • Manassas National Battlefield Park
  • Petersburg National Battlefield
  • Prince William Forest Park
  • Richmond National Battlefield Park
  • Shenandoah National Park
  • Tredegar Iron Works part of Richmond Nat’l Battlefield Park
  • Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts
  • Yorktown Battlefield – Colonial Nat’l Historical Park

WEST VIRGINIA

  • Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
  • New River Gorge, Bluestone & Gauley National Rivers

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Junior Ranger Programs in the Southwest

ARKANSAS

  • Arkansas Post National Memorial
  • Buffalo National River
  • Fort Smith National Historic Site
  • Hot Springs National Park
  • Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
  • Pea Ridge National Military Park
  • President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site

LOUISIANA

  • Cane River Creole National Historical Park
  • Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve
  • New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park
  • Poverty Point National Monument

MISSISSIPPI

  • Corinth Interpretive Center – Shiloh Nat’l Military Park
  • Gulf Islands National Seashore (FL, MS)
  • Natchez National Historical Park
  • Natchez Trace Parkway (AL, MS, TN)
  • Vicksburg National Military Park

NEW MEXICO

  • Aztec Ruins National Monument
  • Bandelier National Monument
  • Capulin Volcano National Monument
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park
  • El Malpais National Monument
  • El Morro National Monument
  • Fort Union National Monument
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument
  • Manhattan Project
  • Pecos National Historical Park
  • Petroglyph National Monument
  • Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument
  • Valles Caldera National Preserve
  • White Sands National Monument

OKLAHOMA

  • Chickasaw National Recreation Area
  • Oklahoma City National Memorial
  • Washita Battlefield National Historic Site

TEXAS

  • Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
  • Amistad National Recreation Area
  • Big Bend National Park
  • Big Thicket National Preserve
  • Chamizal National Memorial
  • Fort Davis National Historic Site
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park
  • Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
  • Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
  • Padre Island National Seashore
  • Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park
  • San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
  • Waco Mammoth National Monument

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Introducing the Ranger Trek™ Expedition Journal

Introducing The Ranger Trek™ Expedition Journal

Begin Preserving Your Junior Ranger Adventure Memories Now with the Ranger Trek™ Expedition Journal

 

A unique keepsake to store, protect and display your completed National Park Service (NPS) Junior Ranger booklets, certificates and photo and journaling memories of your Junior Ranger adventures.

 

Do you enjoy visiting the U.S. National Parks?  While visiting the parks do your children or grandchildren participate in the Junior Ranger Program?  If you’re like me and you answered yes to both of those questions then you’re going to want to hear about the newest product for preserving your Junior Ranger adventure memories.

I’ve been taking my children on road trips to visit our national parks for over the last 10 years.  We have visited over 150 National Park Service sites in 48 states and each of my children has completed over 140 Junior Ranger Programs.  In our travels, from each park we’ve visited we have accumulated Junior Ranger booklets, Junior Ranger certificates, photo memories, travel diary entries, and memories that we will all cherish and treasure for a lifetime.  The Junior Ranger booklets are filled with a compilation of what my children learned at that park including their thoughts, drawings, questions, answers, opinions etc..  However at the end of each road trip all of the aforementioned treasures and keepsakes ended up filed away in a box in a closet.

Completing all those Junior Ranger Programs is a huge accomplishment and I wanted a way that my children could display all of their work proudly.  I also wanted a solution that would organize the Junior Ranger booklets so that they could be easily referenced for school projects and papers.  I am a scrapbooker and so I looked for a scrapbook that I could use to store, protect and display all my kids Junior Ranger booklets.  However, traditional scrapbooks are designed to only hold photos and other scraps of memorabilia.  They aren’t designed to store and display Junior Ranger booklets which are thicker, multi-page workbooks.  Finally I decided to design a journal that combined traditional scrapbook pages for photo memorabilia and journaling as well as the capacity to store, protect and display the Junior Ranger booklets that my kids complete and the certificates they are awarded.  Hence, the Ranger Trek™ Expedition Journal.

Each journal contains 40 – 12” x 9” scrapbook pages to capture all your favorite memories, highlights of the parks and great photos from 10 NPS sites.  There are 4 Activity pages per site.

The professionally illustrated activity pages can be used to scrapbook photos and other mementos, draw or color on and journal about each site visit.  Additionally, there are 20 clear plastic sleeves to store and protect 10 Junior Ranger booklets and 10 certificates.  Ten of the sleeves have a secure top so that booklets that are smaller than 8 ½” x 11” don’t slide out when you’re turning the pages.

The Ranger Trek™ Expedition Journal can be filled out either by the child or their parent or grandparent or better yet you can fill it out together.  Parents who enjoy taking pictures and scrapbooking will love using their creativity to fill out the pages for the family to look back on for years to come.

Children who are old enough to write will love to journal about their explorations.  A child’s own thoughts and reflections on what they are discovering are so fun to read and can be so enlightening.  On a couple of road trips that my family took I encouraged my children to journal about each park we visited.  Just the other day we were looking back at one of my daughter’s journals from a past trip.  I was laughing so hard I could hardly speak.  The memories of the trips we took together are wonderful and to have my children’s own recorded recollections of our trips to look back on is priceless.

Besides creating an incredible family keepsake, something else happens as you create your Ranger Trek™ Expedition Journal.  When you and/or your children are memorializing your park visit, the act of writing, journaling and scrapbooking results in you and them solidifying in your minds all the fascinating things you learned at the parks you visited.

The Ranger Trek™ Expedition Journals are proudly manufactured in the U.S..  They are slightly smaller than a typical 12” by 12” traditional scrapbook size.  The cover is a soft, robust, supported leatherette material giving the binder a rich feel and making it something you’ll be proud to display on your bookshelf or coffee table or to take with you while traveling to each NPS site.

One of the most valuable features included in the Ranger Trek™ Expedition journal is a comprehensive checklist of ALL the Junior Ranger Programs that have been identified to be available at NPS sites. The Junior Ranger Program list is sorted by state and region to make trip planning easy so that you don’t miss out on any Junior Ranger Programs available in the area you are visiting.  This used to happen to me at least once per trip before I made the list which was very frustrating as it’s not like I can just easily travel back to any part of the country to do the Junior Ranger program that we missed.

Did you know that there are over 400 National Park Service sites?  The list is also helpful in bringing to your attention the many parks that you may not have known about.  I’m always amazed when I discover a new park that I didn’t know about before.  There are so many hidden gems even in the National Park Service.  This last summer we visited a park that I’d never heard of before called Johnstown Flood National Memorial in Pennsylvania.  The story of the disaster that occurred there is one of the most incredible and sad stories I’d ever heard.  Even more amazing was the fact that I hadn’t learned about the story before that in school or anywhere.

We hope you are encouraged to begin a legacy with your family of visiting the amazing places, learning about our nation’s history, and exploring the world we live in.  Create a tradition that will be cherished by your children and grand-children as they grow up that will be passed down to future generations.  And while you are out there visiting the national parks make sure to capture and preserve these precious memories while they are fresh before they are lost forever.

What is the National Park Service Junior Ranger Program?

The Junior Ranger Program – Creating an Engaging and Fun Experience for Children Visiting the U.S. National Parks

When I was a kid my parents took me on a road trip every summer.  Our destinations included national parks like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Glacier National Park, etc.  As a child I’d say our visits to these parks were geared more toward adults.  When I grew up and started a family of my own I carried on the tradition of visiting our national parks with my kids.  But my children’s experiences visiting the parks were much different than my own and that is because of one big difference; the Junior Ranger Program.

The Junior Ranger Program is a super fun and engaging program that actually gets kids excited about discovering, exploring and learning about the national parks.  I’d have to say too, that it makes visiting the parks a lot more fun for their parents as well.  In fact, the Junior Ranger Programs are so interesting and fun to do that I’ve heard of many adults that participate in them as well.  There are over 400 units of the National Park Service across the 50 states and US Territories.  Almost every one of these parks has at least one of their own unique Junior Ranger Programs specific for their park.  To find out about the Junior Ranger Program at a specific park you can either go to the parks website or ask about it while visiting the park at any ranger station or visitor center.

While each park has their own unique Junior Ranger Program they all pretty much follow a similar format.  The first thing you need to do is get your hands on the park’s Junior Ranger Workbook.  These can be obtained in a couple of different ways.  While visiting a park you can usually pick up a Junior Ranger Workbook at any ranger station or visitor center.  Parks typically don’t have the workbooks out on a counter or in displays so you have to ask a ranger or someone at an information desk for one.  Additionally, some parks have their Junior Ranger workbooks on their webpage so that you can print them at home ahead of time and take them with you.  I like to do the latter because my kids can look them over while we’re driving and it helps them get familiar with the park we are going to and what they will be learning about ahead of time.

The ranger who gives you the workbook can explain the requirements to complete their park’s Junior Ranger Program.  You can also look in the front of the workbook, typically on the first page, and read about the requirements.  Here are the three most common ways the programs are set up for children of different ages.

  • Some parks have different workbooks for children in different age groups.
  • Other parks have one workbook for all children but the number of activities that the child has to complete depends on the age of the child.
  • Still other parks will have one workbook for all children but the activities in the book are marked with symbols showing the difficulty level of the activities so younger children only have to complete the easier (age appropriate) activities and older children have to complete the more challenging activities.

Once your kids have their Junior Ranger workbooks that’s when the fun begins. The workbooks are full of all kinds of activities for the kids to do. The activities vary from park to park but here’s a list of the types of activities you might see:

  • Attend a ranger led program, talk, walk or tour.  Afterwards, have the ranger sign off in your book that you attended.  Sometimes your child will have to write down a couple things they learned or they might have to ask the ranger a question and write down the ranger’s answer.
  • Word find where the words the kids are looking for pertain to what they are learning about at that specific park.
  • Watch the orientation film in the visitor center and write down a couple things they learned from the film.
  • Matching activity.  For instance, they might have to draw a line to match up pictures of animals to each animal’s footprints.  The animals would of course be the variety that they might see in that park.  Or another example would be if you were at a home of a former U.S. President maybe you’d have to match up pictures of Presidents to pictures of First Ladies.
  • Draw a picture.  For instance, if you’re at a Civil War battlefield they might have to draw a picture of the monument that they liked the best.  Or if you’re at a park that features ancient cultures they might have to draw a picture of a clay jar and decorate it with their own drawing and design.
  • Crossword puzzles and/or fill in the blank questions.  The answers for the questions might be found in the park brochure or on interpretive signs throughout the park or in the park museum.
  • Often times there is an activity that instructs you to find an item in the park museum or a location of significance in the park and then answer questions about it.
  • Almost all Junior Ranger Programs have one activity that teaches kids how they can be a good steward of our national parks and the importance of helping to protect and preserve these special places.

Once your children have completed their Junior Ranger workbooks the last thing to do is to take it back the ranger station or visitor center.  Your children will present their completed workbook to a ranger who will look it over and check the answers.  The rangers can help your children with any questions they didn’t understand.  Once it’s all good your children will then be sworn in as an official Junior Ranger of the specific park you are visiting.  They will hold up their right hand and take an oath to continue learning about more national parks and to be a good steward of our national parks.  Finally they will be presented with a certificate, signed by the ranger, as well as an official Junior Ranger badge or patch.  Each park has their own unique badge or patch with the name of their park on it and typically a picture or design depicting something from or about their park.

Do not underestimate the power of this badge.  I have been taking my children on road trip adventures to national parks across the country for the last ten years and they each have now completed over 140 Junior Ranger Programs.  I think a fair amount of the motivation for kids to complete the Junior Ranger Programs lies in the Junior Ranger badges.  In fact, one of my three kids once said to me, “Mom, I feel like I’m being tricked into doing school during my vacation, but I love getting the badges!”  The Junior Ranger Program seemed sort of like school because he was learning but he loved it since it was done in a way that made learning fun and rewarding.  He’s much older now and thanks to the Junior Ranger Program, history and science are his two favorite subjects.

All three of my children are very proud of their collection of Junior Ranger badges and patches but more importantly they have learned so much which has made them more confident.  They each have at different times come home from school and excitedly shared with me something that their teacher asked in school where they were the only student in the class that knew the answer because it related to a national park that we had visited.  I credit the Junior Ranger Program with teaching my children to become better learners.  Half of learning is learning how to learn.  It’s knowing how to find answers.  I think my children have become better learners because the Junior Ranger Programs incorporate so many ways to learn; listening to a speaker, watching a film, reading through a brochure, discovering artifacts in a museum, asking questions of experts, exploring exhibits and interpretive signs and most importantly by experiencing what you’re learning about where it happened and/or where it exists and bringing it to life.  For learning about the history and natural wonders of our nation you just can’t beat the U.S. National Park Service’s Junior Ranger Program.

Copyright Been There Publications © 2015 All rights reserved!

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