July 5, 2019

Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, and you’ll receive an assortment of answers ranging from astronaut to engineer to artist. Perhaps it’s those idyllic traits that appeal to them: the courage of an astronaut, the inventiveness of an engineer or the creativity of an artist. Park rangers here in Bryce Canyon exhibit the love and curiosity of nature every child needs. With the junior ranger program, you can help them foster respect for the earth around them.

There are many park rangers in Bryce Canyon National Park whose responsibility it is to protect the land and maintain the balance of nature throughout the park and the county. With the Junior Ranger program, your kids can learn from them how to explore the lands around them, how to deepen their learning of nature and how to protect the earth.

Junior Rangers at a glance

The Junior Ranger program is designed not only to teach children about the roles and responsibilities of a park ranger, but to get the whole family involved in exploring and protecting the land around them. There’s a story to be told in every national park, and it’s the park rangers’ duty to protect that. Becoming a junior ranger is a mark of distinction that’s possible through three simple steps:

  • Attend a presentation or a hike organized by a park ranger.
  • Work through an activity booklet completing an age-appropriate set of activities.
  • Pick up litter in an overlook, parking or hiking trail.

If you want your children to be junior rangers, plan on dedicating 3-6 hours in Bryce Canyon to help them complete the program. After completing these activities, junior ranger candidates are to return to the visitor center to be inducted as an official junior ranger and also receive a free badge.

Younger kids

The Junior Ranger program has a simplified activity booklet for kids ages 3-5. Covering all of the same aspects of Bryce Canyon National Park as the older kids’ booklet, this easy-to-follow program allows children to learn at their own pace and experience the thrill of the outdoors.

Becoming a junior ranger is a fantastic way to help young kids get motivated to explore Bryce Canyon and encourages adventure and learning at every turn. As they explore the canyon, they’ll come across wildlife that they can identify using their booklet. Learning about the pronghorn sheep, mule deer and prairie dogs that roam Bryce Canyon will inspire them to learn more about nature near them. Kids will also be encouraged to learn about and explore the several types of plant life in the canyon. From ponderosa pines to evening primroses, Bryce Canyon is home to a bountiful world of nature. Kids wishing to become junior rangers will be able to explore the texture and smell of this plant life to spark their curiosity.

The path to becoming a junior ranger is one of exploration and fun. With outdoor adventure at their fingertips, younger kids will have a blast becoming junior rangers. They’ll be sure to remember and talk about their Bryce Canyon memories for years to come.

Older Kids

The Junior Ranger program takes on new meaning with kids ages 11-17. They’ll find ways to explore, learn and protect their own surroundings even outside of Bryce Canyon. Activities like a wildlife crossword in their booklet encourage kids to explore the park as well as the visitor’s center museum.

Along with exploring the park, older kids will have the opportunity to learn about the many trees, constellations and ancient history that give Bryce Canyon its personality. From studying tree rings to determine the age of the pines to reading about the Southern Paiute people, these junior ranger candidates will be well-versed in the park by the end of their journey.

The last step to earning the junior ranger badge is to learn how to protect the earth. Older kids will learn about what a carbon footprint is and how to make theirs smaller. By the end of the program, they’ll be able to help their family and friends to make better choices for their surroundings and gain a greater respect for Bryce Canyon.

Become a Junior Ranger

Becoming a junior ranger is a journey for the whole family. It’s a journey of activities and curious exploration for the younger kids. It’s a journey of learning and awareness for the older kids. And it’s a thrill of adventure for everyone.

“As a Bryce Canyon Junior Ranger, I will strive to learn something new every day!” This is part of the oath that new junior rangers promise at the end of their experience, gaining their special badge to take home. Here in Bryce Canyon, children can gain the skills they need to learn, explore and protect as only a junior ranger can.

Bryce Canyon Country sparks the love of nature in children with the Junior Ranger Program. It's fun for the whole family.

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