Did you know every child 5 years and up can become a junior ranger with the National Park Service? Almost all National Parks in the US offer a junior ranger program on-site. There are also a lot of activities available online. Become a junior paleontologist, archeologist, or cave scientist. They even have a program linked with NASA to become a junior space flight explorer. You can also find coloring pages, activity sheets, and booklets online. Guaranteed hours of fun!
We went to Stones River National Battlefield which is basically in our backyard. Here is a list of parks that offer the program on-site: click here.
How to become a Junior Ranger
Go to the visitor center and ask a Ranger about joining the Junior Ranger Program. You will receive a booklet with activities around the park. The activities are divided into age groups. They include answering questions, drawing, and general education about the park. The recommended age is 5 and up but smaller siblings can tag along.
You don’t need to answer all questions at once. They encourage people to visit several times to finish enough tasks to be eligible to become a junior ranger. We finished our program in one visit but Stones River Battleground is on the smaller side.
Once you finish the required amount of activities you return to the visitor center to be sworn in as a junior ranger for the National Park Service. Kids take an oath to protect parks, educate themselves about their history and nature, and share their ranger wisdom with others. Each child receives a batch and certificate.
It was a fun day for everyone and my kids actually loved learning about history. The oath was their favorite part.