On Saturday, April 18th, National Parks around the country will he holding their annual Junior Ranger Day. The Junior Ranger Day is part of National Park Week, a weeklong celebration of the parks, offering free entrance on the weekend and numerous programs focusing on the splendor of America’s protected lands. Around the nation, National Parks will be holding Junior Ranger days for children ages 5-13.

Junior Ranger Day is part of the Junior Ranger Program which introduces children to the natural wonders of the parks and encourages them to help participate in preserving these wonders for the future. Typically, Junior Ranger programs are through workbooks and a quick quiz by a ranger on duty, who then deputizes them as a Junior Ranger with either a patch or a badge. On Junior Ranger Day, many parks will be offering these, with the majority giving a special Junior Ranger certificate.

Junior Ranger Day will be occurring at National Park’s around the country on Saturday the 18th of April, which is also the first of two consecutive free admission days to the National Park. With temperatures in Washington State expect to be warm and sunny, those looking for a fun, family activity can find one in our states protected lands.

NPS Photo
NPS Photo
NPS Photo
NPS Photo


In Olympic National Park, the Junior Ranger program of 2015 starts at 10am and lasts until 2pm at the main Visitor Center in Port Angeles. During the event, stations and activities will be set up in and around the Visitor Center. Children that come to that event get a stamp and a card to carry with them. Those who go to enough of the activities will earn their very own Junior Ranger Certificate.

For those unable to attend this weekend’s event, Olympic National Park offers two different Junior Ranger Programs throughout the year. The two Junior Ranger Programs offered by Olympic National Park a Standard program and a Coastal Stewards program. The standard program is an activity booklet with numerous activities to help children learn about the mountains, rainforests and animals of the park. Children who complete this will receive an Olympic National Park Junior Ranger Badge. The Ocean Stewards Junior Ranger program has activities help kids and families learn more about coastal issues. Children who complete this will receive a unique Olympic National Park Ocean Stewards Patch.

If you are interested in having your child become a Junior Ranger, booklets are available at any of the visitor centers, for children ages 5-13. In the off-season the Hoh Visitor Center is open on weekends, while the Visitor Center in Port Angeles is open 7 days a week. The Coastal Stewards booklet can be downloaded HERE.

Learn more about Olympic National Park’s Junior Ranger Program.

NPS photo by Deby Dixon
NPS photo by Deby Dixon

North Cascades

Sadly, North Cascades National Park will not be holding any Junior Ranger program for National Junior Ranger Day. However, once the park is open in the warmer, snow-free months, there are numerous chances for children to get deputized as a Junior Ranger through the park’s Junior Ranger program.

To get your child into the Junior Ranger program in North Cascades National Park, all you have to do is head over to the park’s website and download one of their books online. If you are coming to the park, you can pick them up at any visitor areas around the park in the summer, while early and late season visitors can get theirs at the main park building in Sedro Woolley.

After completion of the booklet, children should go to an open visitor center for a short swearing-in ceremony, where they can choose a badge or patch.

According to one park official, most kids choose the badge, while their parents tend to encourage them to get the patch. The patches are individualized to each Junior Ranger Program completed, with different animals or locations on each patch, based on age.

Learn More about North Cascades National Park’s Junior Ranger Program.

Education intern Emily Frost swears in a Jr. Ranger at the Cougar Rock Campground NPS Photo by Kevin Bacher
Education intern Emily Frost swears in a Jr. Ranger at the Cougar Rock Campground NPS Photo by Kevin Bacher

Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier is quite possibly the most iconic mountain in North America, but it sadly will not be doing any special activity for National Junior Ranger Day on April 18th. Entrance to the park, like all parks, will be free, but there are no events planned. While it is a shame that the park, so close to the major population areas of the state doesn’t have a budget that allows a program for kids that day, they do at least have Junior Ranger Programs available in the summer.

Similar to the Junior Ranger Programs at every other National park around the country, Mount Rainier’s Junior Ranger Program takes place with an activity book that kids work on their own. Programs during the summer. Upon successful completion, children become deputized as Junior Rangers with a badge and small ceremony. Mount Rainier has Junior Ranger books available at every visitor center.

Learn more about Mount Rainier National Park’s Ranger Programs.

Take your kids to a National Park and let them become a Junior Ranger! NPS | John F. Mitchell
Take your kids to a National Park and let them become a Junior Ranger!
NPS | John F. Mitchell