Mount Rainier educational programs are offered at the Park Education Center and in the southwest corner of the park, from the Nisqually Entrance to Paradise (map of the park PDF, 738KB). Standard program topics and program formats are listed below.
Schedule a Program
Programs must be scheduled at least one month in advance. In most cases we can accommodate groups sizes up to 60 (including students and chaperones). Minimum group size is 15 participants. Please inform us if any of your students have special needs. We strive to provide a safe and positive experience for all students and will do what we can to accommodate students with special needs.
Program formats include guided walks and hikes, talks, inquiry-based experiments, and demonstrations. Guided snowshoe walks are also available between January and June, depending on snowpack. Please allow a minimum of 2 hours per class for each program. Program topics include:
- Discovery Detectives (Grades 1-3rd)
Join a ranger to discover the secrets of Mount Rainier National Park using your senses! From investigating animal signs to getting up close and personal with the plant life, students will collect clues about what makes Mount Rainier National Park so special.
- Take a Walk on the Wild Side (Grades 1-3rd)
Wildlife abounds at Mount Rainier National Park! Join a ranger out on the trail to learn about different animals and the important role they play at Mount Rainier National Park.
Geology: Watersheds, Glaciers, and Volcanism
- Locked in Rocks: Clues of the Past (Grades 3rd-5th)
Geologists from around the world study the rocks, glaciers, and streams around Mount Rainier to gain insight into its volcanic past. Unlock the clues of the explosive history of Mount Rainier with a ranger while learning about the anatomy of a volcano, the powerful force behind a volcanic eruption, and the movement and cooling of lava on a stratovolcano. (Longmire only)
- Glistening Glaciers and Raging Rivers: Watersheds of Mount Rainier (Grades 4th and 5th)
Mount Rainier's powerful presence affects everything from the glaciers that crown its peak to the rivers that flow into the Puget Sound and Pacific Ocean. Learn about watersheds from the summit to the sea and what we can do to help protect them!
- Warning: Signs of Hazards Ahead (Grades 6th-8th)
Mount Rainier has been an active volcano for approximately half a million years. Although not currently erupting, Mount Rainier still emits signs of activity beneath the Earth's crust. Join a ranger to discover signs of past geologic hazards that have occurred on the slopes of Mount Rainier. How can these signs help us prepare for the future?
- Why Is That Water Bubbling? (Grades 6th-8th)
Mount Rainier is one volcano in a series of Cascade volcanoes and the larger Pacific Rim of Fire. Why are these volcanoes here? Along a trail, students will observe the geothermal features at Longmire Springs to investigate plate tectonics and the role that gases play in volcanic eruptions. (Longmire only).
- This Dynamic Volcano (Grades 6th-8th)
Whether over 500,000 years or a single day, Mount Rainier is constantly changing, from weather patterns of bright sunny days and blistering snow storms to lava building up the mountain to glaciers grinding down the mountain. Join a ranger on snowshoes to learn about the dynamic changes that take place at Mount Rainier! (Snowshoe program only).
Adaption, Change, and Survival
- Survival Sleuths (Grades 4th-5th)
What do animals need to survive in the forests around Mount Rainier? Join a ranger to find out the pieces to this puzzle. Students will investigate the forest habitat and explore the interdependent relationships between all things within an ecosystem.
- Over Time or in a Blink of the Eye: Changes at Mount Rainier (Grades 5th-7th)
Whether over 500,000 years or a single day, Mount Rainier is constantly changing, making it necessary for plants, animals, and people to adapt to the conditions in order to survive. Join a ranger on snowshoes to learn about the changes that take place at Mount Rainier: from the changes to the landscape of an active volcano to changes in the seasons and animal adaption. (Snowshoe program only).
- Survival of the Fittest (Grades 8th-12th)
Record snowfall. Plummeting temperatures. Gusting winds. Join a ranger on snowshoes to explore one of the most dynamic landscapes on earth and discover the survival strategies that plants and animals (including humans) must undertake to live under such harsh conditions. (Snowshoe programs only).
- Testing the Limits: Life Zones of Mount Rainier (Grades 9th-12th)
From its base to its peak, Mount Rainier has several life zones- some plants and animals can survive in each and others can't. What are the limiting factors that inhibit the survival of some plants and animals? Join a ranger to investigate the life zones and explore the adaptations that assist in survival on Mount Rainier.
- Changing Climate, Changing National Parks (Grades 9th-12th)
From glaciers to old growth forests, explore the impact of climate change in Mount Rainier National Park. What new strategies will plants and animals need to develop to survive? Join a ranger to brainstorm strategies that we can do today to help protect our nation's treasures and our own local ecosystems.
- A Mountain of Challenges (Grades 9th-12th)
Mount Rainier presents a myriad of challenges for those who venture out to explore its snowy splendor. Join a ranger to find out what adventures visitors must consider (such as extreme weather, communication, and navigation) to prepare for a successful journey. (Snowshoe programs only).
To schedule a program, contact an Education Specialist at 360-569-6592.