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Two young park visitors working on a junior ranger book with their mother
A family working together on their Junior Ranger handbooks.

Visiting Zion with Kids

A trip to Zion offers many opportunities for families to explore, learn, and connect with the park. Whether hiking on a trail, having a picnic, or attending a ranger-led program you will find something that is great for your family. To help in your trip planning here are a few things to keep in mind:

Trails – Several of the trails in Zion Canyon are rated as Easy and a good fit for families. The Pa’rus Trail, Lower Emerald Pools Trail, Weeping Rock Trail, and Riverside Walk Trail provide short hikes along a paved surface that will give hikers a good overview of the canyon. Some of these trail have minor drop-offs and may have steep sections.

Shuttles – During much of the year, the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is only accessible by shuttle bus. Eating is not permitted on the buses, but drinking water is allowed. Please remember to stay hydrated on your visit to the park. The buses are able to carry up to three bicycles as well as strollers. Large strollers may need to be folded and placed on the front bike rack. While in Zion Canyon you may get on and off the shuttle as often as you like.

Food and Picnic Areas – Food is available for purchase in the park at Zion Lodge. The town of Springdale offers many opportunities for the purchase of food at restaurants or grocery stores. While in the park picnic areas with tables, benches, or lawns are available at the Nature Center, Zion Lodge and the Grotto. Please dispose of your recycling or trash properly and remember to never feed wildlife.

More information to plan your visit is available in the Map & Guide. Remember, your safety is your responsibility.

 

Become a Junior Ranger

Zion offers a guided and self-guided Junior Ranger experience. Self-guided activity booklets are available for free at park visitor centers, the Zion Human History Museum, and the Nature Center. While the booklet needs to be completed and reviewed in-park to receive a badge, you can download the Junior Ranger booklet [PDF 7.88 MB] online prior to your trip. As park of completing the booklet, all Zion Junior Rangers must choose a Ranger-led Program to attend.

Children aged four and older can complete pages in the booklet and attend a ranger-led program to earn their Junior Ranger badge for Zion National Park. Becoming a Zion Junior Ranger is a fun way to explore and enjoy Zion National Park and the natural world. Please allow for several hours to complete this booklet as activities include traveling throughout Zion Canyon in search of cool things to discover. The Zion National Park Forever Project provides additional funding for this program.

More information on Junior Ranger Programs throughout the national park system is also available online, as well as the online junior ranger program, WebRangers. Web Rangers is an interactive online program where young people can play games and while learning about our nation’s plants, animals, and history.

 
A young child pressing a button to listen to animal sounds
There are many interactive exhibits in the Zion Nature Center.

Visit the Zion Nature Center

Closed for the season. The Nature Center will re-open on May 23, 2020.
The Zion Nature Center, located north of South Campground, has a variety of exhibits, activities, books, and games for children and families to explore. The Nature Center is open from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM Sunday-Friday, and 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Saturdays during the summer. Daily ranger-led youth programs are held in the Nature Center at 3:00 PM and 4:30 PM. The Nature Center is not on the shuttle system, but can be accessed from the Zion Canyon Visitor Center (shuttle stop 1) or Human History Museum (shuttle stop 2) via the Pa'rus Trail. Limited parking is available near the Nature Center. Directions and map to the Zion Nature Center are available.

 

Attend a Ranger-led Youth Program

Summer youth programs have concluded for the 2019 season. Check back in May 2020 for next summers schedule.

Youth programs are designed specifically for families and children. Children must be accompanied by an adult while attending the programs. Youth programs are offered intermittently through March and April, as well as daily from Memorial Day through Labor Day Weekend. Programs take place throughout the park at the Zion Nature Center and at the Zion Lodge.

Other Ranger-led activities including talks, hikes and evening programs happen thorough the year.

The current summer Ranger-led Youth Program schedule is below.

Nature Center Programs (Programs end August 30th)

Everyday inside the Nature Center at 3:00 PM and 4:30 PM

These programs are 30 to 45 minutes long and designed for children ages 4 to 12. One or two of the following programs will be presented each day.

Rockin’ Rocks - Marvel at the forces that shaped Zion’s giant cliffs.

Canyon Connections - Hear the wild stories of living and non-living things.

Amazing Animals - Discover Zion’s incredible animals and their adaptations.

Dino Discovery - Meet the fascinating creatures that roamed Zion long ago.

Saturday Guided Family Walk (Program ends August 17th)

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM, Saturdays only.

Meet at the Zion Human History Museum.

Join a ranger for this hour-long family walk to the Nature Center. Explore a range of topics, from history and geology to the plants and animals that live in Zion. The hike is designed with kids in mind, and involves interactive elements. The trail is easy but does include stairs and uneven surfaces.

Drop-in Programs (Program ends August 30th)

Stop by and chat with a ranger!

10:00 AM to 11:30 AM, location changes each day

Park rangers are available for 1.5 hours from the start of the program. Stop by anytime and stay for a minute or stay for an hour.

Emerald Explorers Emerald Pools Trailhead

Monday, Wednesday and Saturday

Discover the animals, plants, rocks, weather, and people of Zion’s canyons.

Weeping Rock Wonders Weeping Rock Trailhead

Sunday and Thursday

Uncover the forces of water and geology, and enjoy stories of early settlers.

Riverside Rangers Temple of Sinawava Shuttle Stop

Tuesday and Friday

Learn how you can protect the beauty of Zion and become a steward for all natural places.

Zion Lodge Lawn Programs (Program ends August 17th)

1:00 PM daily.

Nature Games, Music, or Storytelling.

The program is 30 to 45 minutes long and designed for children 8 and younger. One of the following programs will be presented each day. Meet on the lawn near the large cottonwood tree.

Storytellers - Listen to stories of the people and plants that call Zion home.

Music Makers - Experience the music and sounds of Zion.

Nature Games - Join the fun while discovering the natural world of Zion.

 
Every Kid Outdoors logo

Every Kid Outdoors

The Every Kid Outdoors initiative is aimed at providing an opportunity for each fourth grade student across the country to experience federal lands and water in person. Students logon onto the Every Kid Outdoors website to complete an on-line activity and earn a voucher that can be exchanged for a plastic pass at park entrance stations. The Every Kid Outdoors Pass gives students free access to public lands during their fourth-grade school year and up through August 31.

 

School Programs

Curriculum based education programs are offered throughout the school year and on request when staffing allows.

Last updated: September 10, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Zion National Park
1 Zion Park Blvd.
State Route 9

Springdale, UT 84767

Phone:

(435) 772-3256
Staffed daily from 9 am - 1 pm. Recorded information is available 24 hours a day. If you are unable to reach someone by phone, please email us at zion_park_information@nps.gov.

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