Be A Junior Ranger

Junior Rangers taking an oath with Park Ranger Greg Hanson at the Jewel Cave visitor center front desk.
A Junior Ranger and Pee Wee Ranger take their oath with a park ranger.

NPS Photo / Bradley Block

Explore. Learn. Protect.

Each year, numerous Junior Rangers recite the motto – Explore, Learn, and Protect – after learning about Jewel Cave National Monument. After successfully completing an activity booklet and taking part in at least one ranger-guided activity, youth will take an oath of their own to protect parks, continue to learn about parks, and share their own ranger story with friends and family. Although typically geared for kids ages 5-12, anyone can participate in the Junior Ranger Program and earn a badge for their accomplishments.

To become a Junior Ranger, interested participants need to request an activity booklet at the visitor center or print a copy. During the spring, summer, and fall seasons, ranger-guided activities may include cave tours, interpretive patio talks, nature hikes, and special events. During the winter months, a self-guided hike on the Roof Trail, completing a visitor center scavenger hunt, watching the park film, or taking part in a volunteer activity will also count toward the requirements. Park rangers stand ready to help all participants successfully complete the program and join the “family” of Junior Rangers.

And for those that want to learn more, Jewel Cave offers an embroidered patch for completing more pages in the activity booklet and taking part in two ranger-guided activities. Junior Rangers are encouraged to stay a little longer: take part in more programs, explore the monument, and depart with an appreciation for the third longest cave in the world. Ask a park ranger for more information at the visitor center.

 
Children posing with Junior Ranger Booklets in front of the cave map inside the Jewel Cave Visitor Center.
Children posing with their Junior Ranger Booklets in front of map in the Visitor Center.

NPS Photo / Bradley Block

What about little park enthusiasts?

The monument also offers a Pee Wee Ranger Program for kids ages 3 and 4. Using a different activity booklet, this program is meant for kids to work with their parents/chaperones and learn even more about Jewel Cave. Ranger-guided activities vary from season to season (see above); however, if you are looking for a way to engage your little ones with the National Park Service, this program is just for you.

To become a Pee Wee Ranger, interested participants and their parents/chaperones need to request an activity booklet at the visitor center or print a copy. Our park rangers are always eager to work with youth, so we request that the parents/chaperones encourage this interaction throughout the entire program. Upon completion of the booklet and ranger-guided activity, Pee Wee Rangers earn a badge and a specially designed embroidered patch.

 

Become a Virtual Junior Ranger

Are you able to visit Jewel Cave? If not, there is still a way for you to interact with the monument! Even from a distance, you can have fun, learn about Jewel Cave, and earn a special virtual Junior Ranger badge! Your parents, grandparents, scout leaders, or other adult partners may help you with this program. When completed, email or mail the finished requirements to the monument in order to earn the official badge. If you need additional help, contact a park ranger.

Last updated: August 28, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

11149 U.S. Hwy. 16
Building B12

Custer, SD 57730

Phone:

(605) 673-8300
The main phone line connects visitors with staff at the visitor center. Throughout the year, the phone line is monitored by staff on a daily basis, excluding holidays and days with limited visitor services. Please be advised that after-hours messages are not taken on the system; visitors are encouraged to call the visitor center during normal operations and speak with a park ranger for assistance.

Contact Us