News Release

All Aboard! New Junior Ranger Railroad Program Available Online

A red, blue, and black steam locomotive decorated with small American flags waving in the wind, moving forward on a railroad in a sparse landscape with hills in the distance. "Jupiter" on the side of the locomotive.
Golden Spike National Historical Park in Utah is home to two replica steam locomotives and re-enactments of the driving of the last spike.

NPS Photo

News Release Date: May 8, 2020


WASHINGTON – The National Park Service (NPS), Union Pacific Railroad and the National Park Foundation (NPF) today announced the release of the Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer activity booklet that can be obtained for free from Issued just ahead of National Train Day and the Golden Spike anniversary on May 9 and May 10, respectively, the new educational booklet traces the journey of the first transcontinental railroad and brings the rich history of railroads to life in a fun and engaging way.

The Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer is one of many Junior Ranger programs available online. Each program is an intergenerational learning experience that focuses on a site or theme tied to public lands. 

“Get ready to ride the rails from coast to coast and learn how the transcontinental railroad impacted the country,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela, exercising the authority of the Director. “The program’s creative activities provide insight to the technology, challenges, people, and transformation associated with the iron horse.” 

“Railroad Explorer is a great way to track the history of trains, and you can do the fun activities at home with friends and family,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth. “Thanks to the support of Union Pacific, this new Junior Ranger program engages kids of all ages with the multi-faceted and multi-cultural story of the meeting of the rails.”

NPF also supports the Junior Ranger “Let’s Go Fishing!” activity booklet. Both of these Junior Ranger programs are part of NPF’s broader mission to connect people to and protect national parks.

“Children of all ages are naturally intrigued by trains, but the Railroad Explorer book helps them understand how the railroad connected the nation 150 years ago, changing the way Americans live, eat and travel,” said Union Pacific Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations and Chief Administrative Officer Scott Moore. “While gaining an appreciation for rail history and our national parks, Railroad Junior Rangers will also learn to always keep safety in mind – never walk on or near the tracks, and only cross at designated locations.”

Among the people who contributed to the development of the transcontinental railroad were Chinese immigrants. As we honor Asian and Pacific Islander American Heritage Month throughout May, this new booklet serves as another educational resource that pays tribute to the generations of Asian Americans who impacted our country’s history.  

Junior Ranger activity booklets encourage young explorers to discover the breadth and depth of the National Park System, learn about the outdoors and our collective history, understand the importance of preserving national parks and share their experiences with friends and family.

For more information about the Junior Ranger Railroad Explorer program and to download a copy of the booklet, visit this link.

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 419 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help protect more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts and connect all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at

Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation. One of America's most recognized companies, Union Pacific Railroad connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, providing a critical link in the global supply chain. The railroad's diversified business mix is classified into its Bulk, Industrial and Premium business groups. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers, operates from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways, connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways. Union Pacific provides value to its roughly 10,000 customers by delivering products in a safe, reliable, fuel-efficient and environmentally responsible manner.

Last updated: May 8, 2020