I feel like I should get a bumper sticker that says, “My kids are United States Junior Rangers, are yours?” While that may be a bit silly, finishing the “program” was a big deal to them that day. Of course, who knows where their special ranger pins are now. 🙂 Finishing all of the questions to be certified rangers takes only an hour or two of your time. I do appreciate the fact that the National Park Service has found a way to motivate kids to learn about the historical and nature sites they are visiting.
Basically to become a junior ranger, each child will complete a scavenger hunt that asks questions about the displays. Intended for ages 5-12, if your youngest is close to turning five, you may be able to have him/her participate as well. I helped my youngest two, but for the most part, my oldest two independently completed the questions.
One BIG hint is necessary for this location. While they have one main visitor’s center, Homestead National Monument actually has a few additional nearby buildings. Due to limited time (we were meeting longtime friends for lunch) and due to the cold weather that day, we did not make it past the visitor’s center and small nearby former homestead. Several of the answers are found at those other nearby locations. Thankfully, the park rangers do WANT the kids to finish, so they were giving hints and helping us complete the hunt, so we could get the prizes. The tokens given include a ranger badge and vary by location but are still gratifying to achieve!
Across Nebraska, three other locations have Junior Ranger programs. You can click on the links to learn more about each location.
To become a Lewis & Clark Trail Junior Ranger, the requirements are slightly different. Questions are provided online, and students are supposed to answer them along with their class. Once complete, the whole class will be honored with a certificate and patch.
P.S. Congratulations to Cynthia C. for winning the 5th and final “bloGIVErsary” prize. I have e-mailed you already, so that I can get your information to send you the vouchers!