Yellowstone National Park has a self-guided, Junior Ranger program for visiting children 4 years and older. This program is a way to introduce children—and those young at heart—to the natural wonders of the park and their own role in preserving these wonders for the future. Full-color booklets are available at park visitor centers for $3 and a patch is awarded to those who complete the requirements.
After completing the age-appropriate requirements described inside the booklet and reviewing their work with a ranger at any visitor center, participants are awarded an official Yellowstone Junior Ranger patch. Modeled after the National Park Service patch, these patches are shaped like an arrowhead and feature a geyser for 4–7 year olds, a grizzly bear for 8–12 year olds, and a bison for those 13–113 years.
Requirements include attending a ranger-led program, hiking on a park trail or boardwalk, and completing activities in the booklet to learn more about park resources, issues, and concepts such as hydrothermal geology, wildlife, and fire ecology. Both children and adults benefit by learning more about the park and sharing the fun of becoming a Junior Ranger.
Winter Junior Rangers
If you visit Yellowstone in winter and participate in the Junior Ranger program, Winter Junior Rangers are awarded a snowflake patch. Some winter activities require the use of a thermometer and hand lens, so ask to check out a Junior Ranger snowpack. Snowpacks are available at both the Albright and Old Faithful visitor centers, and snowshoes may be checked out at the Albright Visitor Center.
Last updated: April 9, 2020