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.