Yellowstone National Park has an official Junior Ranger Program open to children ages 5 – 12. The goal of the program is to introduce children to the natural wonders of Yellowstone and their role in preserving them for the future.
To become a Junior Ranger, families pay a $3 fee for the 12-page activity paper, Yellowstone's Nature, available at any visitor center. After completing the age appropriate requirements described in the paper 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, Junior Ranger patches feature a stylized bear track for 8-12 year olds, a wolf track for 5-7 year olds, and a snowflake for all winter junior rangers.
Requirements include attending a Ranger-led program, hiking on a park trail, and completing activities on various park resources, issues, and concepts such as geothermal geology, park wildlife, and fire ecology.
Some winter activities require the use of a thermometer and hand lens, so make sure you ask to check out a Junior Ranger Snowpack. Snowpacks are available at both the Mammoth and Old Faithful visitor centers and snowshoes may be checked out in Mammoth.
Both children and adults benefit by sharing the fun of becoming a Junior Ranger.