Few places have the ability to touch a child’s heart like Yellowstone. The memories that are made while watching Old Faithful erupt with their family will stay with them for life. To highlight the affect that Yellowstone has on kids, park rangers have developed a series of programs especially for children.
The Junior Ranger program is a fun and rewarding way for children between the ages 5 and 12 to learn about Yellowstone while working toward a Junior Ranger Patch. Activities range from wildlife identification to geologic discovery. Official Junior Ranger newspapers cost $3 and are sold at park visitor centers. Those newspapers help guide youngsters through the process of becoming Junior Rangers.
One of the requirements needed to complete the Junior Ranger program is to attend a ranger-led program. Free programs geared for Junior Rangers and their families are offered at most park visitor centers. During June, July and August, rangers at the Junior Ranger Station near Madison Junction present a variety of programs designed for specifically children. After attending a program, Junior Ranger participants have the ranger sign their official paper.
Children 5 and up can also participate in the Young Scientist Program. Self-guiding booklets are available for $5 and allow children to receive a patch or key-chain for unraveling scientific mysteries. Booklets are available at the Old Faithful Visitor Center and the Canyon Visitor Education Center.
Students and teachers have opportunities to explore Yellowstone from home or school. Windows Into Wonderland is a web based electronic fieldtrip. It was designed to share the resources and treasures of Yellowstone through a series of 17 adventures.
Groups with students of 4th through 8th graders can spend 4 or 5 days in the park participating in Expedition: Yellowstone! This curriculum based program covers a wide variety of subjects and activities. Watch our Expedition: Yellowstone! video for more information.
As a ranger, there is nothing better than realizing you have touched a child’s heart. For many of us, that is why we do what we do. There is no place better to be a kid than in Yellowstone National Park and no better way to understand this spectacular place than by participating in our programs for kids.