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Becoming a Junior Ranger Online

by Rebecca Watson
Family inside a tent, set up indoors.
iStock / monkeybusinessimages

Junior Ranger programs across the country inspire young park visitors to explore, learn, and protect – connecting young park enthusiasts with our shared history, our heritage, and our national parks. The National Park Service Junior Ranger program invites participants to join the National Park Service “family” by taking an oath to protect the land, resources, and history, continue to learn about our national parks, and share their own stories with friends and family.

While many Junior Rangers earn their badges while visiting a national park, there are many ways to become a Junior Ranger from the comfort of your own home. Join us in exploring just some of the Junior Ranger programs offered by the National Park Service that young visitors can experience whenever and wherever they may be.

All Parks

A member of park staff stamps a travel book at William Howard Taft National Historic Site
A member of park staff stamps a travel book at William Howard Taft National Historic Site (NPS Photo)

Not all Junior Ranger programs are tied to a specific national park site. Themed special interest booklets help young park enthusiasts explore new ways to engage with our national parks and their natural landscapes. Follow Lucy the Listening Owl to explore the science and sounds of parks as a Junior Ranger Sounds Explorer, unearth the basics of archeology as a Junior Archeologist, gaze up at the stars as a Junior Ranger Night Explorer, dig for fossils as a Junior Paleontologist, or blast off out of this world as a Spaceflight Explorer Junior Ranger. Young train and railroad lovers can become Junior Ranger Railroad Explorers thanks to a new activity booklet supported by Union Pacific Railroad and the National Park Foundation.

Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument

Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument (NPS Photo)

Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument was home to the National Woman’s Party for nearly 90 years, acting as the hub for the women’s rights movement just blocks from the Capitol building. Young history buffs can complete their Junior Suffragist booklet by doing a word search, analyzing a political cartoon, and learning about Helen Keller and the Braille alphabet. Online users can print off their own Certificate of Achievement upon completion.

Canyonlands National Park

A trail with Needles formations at Chesler Park in Canyonlands National Park (NPS Photo / Emily Ogden)

Canyonlands National Park features a wilderness of countless canyons and fantastically formed buttes carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. Junior Rangers can explore the park’s landscape – it’s plant ecosystems, it’s animals, it’s night sky and more in an activity-filled booklet. After learning all about Canyonlands and the responsibilities of a good Junior Ranger, young park enthusiasts can take a pledge and print out their own Junior Ranger certificate.

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site (NPS Photo / Victoria Stauffenberg)

Carl Sandburg provided a popular voice for the American people during the twentieth century, and he continues to speak to us through his words, activism, music, and the beauty and serenity of his home, now preserved at the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. The park’s Junior Ranger program introduces young park enthusiasts to Sandburg’s poetry and his life at his North Carolina Home and Farm. Online rangers can use the park’s website to complete the activities and become a Junior Ranger.

Castillo de San Marcos National Monument

San Pedro bastion at Castillo de San Marcos National Monument (NPS Photo)

The Castillo de San Marcos symbolizes the clash of cultures which ultimately resulted in our uniquely unified nation. Castillo de San Marcos National Monument preserves this site of cultural intersection for present and future generations. Follow along with Junior Ranger guide Agustín to learn the history of Castillo de San Marcos, as well as what daily life was like for colonial settlers who may have called the Castillo home. Learn some Spanish vocabulary words related the park, and enjoy coloring activities, short writing prompts, and more.

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument (NPS Photo / Tom Engberg)

Throughout his life, Charles Young overcame countless obstacles in his ascent to prominence, in spite of overt racism and stifling inequality. His story and legacy, as well as those of the Buffalo Soldiers he led, are preserved at Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument. To become a Junior Ranger, do a bit of studying on the park’s website and take a WebQuest quiz about Charles Young and the Buffalo Soldiers.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve

Kayaking in Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve (NPS Photo)

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve covers millions of acres in southeast Alaska – from rugged mountains and dynamic glaciers to wild coastlines and deep fjords. The park is a great place to learn about the natural world and a remote part of our National Park System. Junior Web Rangers can use an online adventure story map to learn about the park, fill out an answer sheet and become a Glacier Bay Web Ranger.

Glen Echo Park

Glen Echo Park Merry-Go-Round (Geoff Livingston)

Part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, Glen Echo Park was Washington D.C.’s premier amusement park during the turn of the century. This unique park offers two Junior Ranger programs – the Lil’ Junior Ranger booklet is for park enthusiasts ages 3 to 6 years old and explores the park’s amusement park features as well as its natural resources. The Civil Rights Junior Rangers booklet focuses on the park’s history and importance during the civil rights movement.

The Great Lakes

Honeymoon Rock, a "sea stack" in Lake Superior at Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (NPS Photo)

With over a dozen national parks located on or near the Great Lakes, there is plenty to explore! Great Lakes Junior Ranger online program participants can learn about what it takes to protect our Great Lakes, the animals that live in and around the lakes, and the history of the lakes and those who settled on their shores. After completing the booklet, participants can print out their own Certificate of Completion.

National Park of American Samoa

Looking out along the edge of the water, seeing both the coral reef beneath and the green mountains in the distance
National Park of American Samoa (NPS Photo)

The National Park of American Samoa is a park like no other in the United States. Located in the heart of the South Pacific, the park is a wonderland for exploration and understanding. Junior Rangers at this park learn not only about the natural resources of this tropical paradise, but also the rich culture it preserves and protects. Junior Ranger program participants can learn how to identify fish, design their own tapa, and enjoy word searches, letter scrambles, park bingo and more.

Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial

NPS Photo

Established to honor those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial celebrates the long-lasting peace among Great Britain, Canada, and the United States. Their Junior Ranger program, broken into two separate books for age groups 6 to 9 and 10 to 12, helps program participants can learn about the War of 1812 and the Battle of Lake Erie through a series of educational activities.

These Junior Ranger programs are only the beginning! Learn more about Junior Ranger programs, including additional online programs, by visiting the National Park Service’s website. Need a soundtrack to your Junior Ranger programming? Check out the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger Radio – a collection of park-themed family-friendly earworms that are as groovy as they are educational.