On April 26th, 2014, the Olympic National Park will hold a Junior Ranger Day at the Port Angeles Visitor Center. Children of all ages are being encouraged to bring their “favorite adult” with them for a day’s worth of activities. With the theme for this year’s Junior Ranger Day being “Go Wild”, expect an energetic day at the nation’s 5th most visited national park.
The Junior Ranger program is available at nearly all of our nation’s national parks. Some programs are better than others, but all of them offer a chance for children to learn about nature from experts in a fun, kid-friendly environment. While Yellowstone National Park offers their Junior Rangers amazing patches, Olympic National Park does give those who complete the Junior Ranger program receive a certificate and a plastic Ranger Badge, officially making them a Junior Ranger.
During Junior Ranger Day, there are a myriad of activities. You and your child can choose between exploring emergency vehicles and search and rescue equipment, or take a hike with a ranger and check out an example of a wilderness campsite. If being inside is more your child’s thing, there are craft projects, microscopes to look at insects and the Children’s Discovery Room to explore.
Make sure you show up early, bring a lunch and get ready for an exciting, and at times, wet day in Olympic National Park!
Where: Olympic National Park Visitor Center 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles
When: 10am to 2:00pm
Who: Children of All Ages with an Adult
Why: Because every kid needs to experience more nature in their lives. Shut off the electronics and take your child to learn about the greatness of our National Parks. They will thank you later in life.
CAN’T ATTEND THIS WEEKEND?
If you can’t make it to this weekend’s festivities and would like to have your child become a Junior Ranger at Olympic National Park, we can help you out. In order to get started on having your child become a Junior Ranger, there are a few important steps you need to take.
You need to locate a visitor center that is open and has a Ranger on Duty. During the summer, this is much easier, as nearly all the Ranger Stations throughout the park will be open. Be aware that even though it might be summer, the hours and availability of Rangers are not as consistent as they could be. Don’t blame the rangers though; their budgets have been slashed far greater than most know.
If you are trying to complete the Junior Ranger Program from October to June, the only place you can do it is up in Port Angeles. While not exactly convenient, Port Angeles is the location of the park headquarters and is easiest to staff. The Hoh Ranger Station is also open, but only during weekends, so plan ahead!
Once you have found an open Ranger Station that is staffed with a Ranger, ask them for the Junior Ranger Booklet, which they should have copies of. From there, follow the instructions and experience the greatness of Olympic National Park. Becoming a Junior Ranger can make all the difference in the world to a child. Years ago, when I became a Junior Ranger at Yellowstone National Park, I immediately felt connected to the park and to nature all over the world. The Junior Ranger Program is a great opportunity for kids of all ages to explore, play and learn about our National Parks.
OTHER EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES IN OLYMPIC
If you need more direction with your child in nature, we suggest finding a ranger station with a Discovery Pack. Discovery Packs are backpacks filled with all sorts of awesome activities for you and your child. With worksheets to fill out on hikes, outdoor games and photo field guides, your youngster will become an expert at nature right before your eyes.
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK FAMILY FRIENDLY HIKES GUIDEBOOK