Lava Beds National Monument Junior Ranger Program

Please click on the following link for the official Lava Beds National Monument Junior Ranger Program:

http://www.nps.gov/labe/forkids/index.htm

The program is for children between the ages of 5 and 13. Participants can earn a badge while learning about the amazing caves, history, and wildlife of Lava Beds. The Junior Ranger Adventure Book is available at the Visitor Center and there is no cost for the program.

In this blog I will discuss the requirements for completing the program for kids between the ages of 5 and 8 years old and what activities my 5 year old daughter completed to become a Junior Ranger.

Requirements for Junior Ranger ages 5 – 8 years old:

1. Experience Lava Beds and color at least two pages in the Adventure Book of places that you visit
2. Complete 2 of the pages that have the coyote symbol in the Adventure Book
3. Learn about Lava Beds by attending at least one Ranger Program
4. Return the completed Adventure Book to the Visitor Center

The three activities with a coyote symbol were:

1. What’s Inside a Lava Tube Cave? – Visit a lava tube cave, draw five things you saw in the caves and write a poem.
2. Lava Bed Bingo
3. Sketched in Stone – Visit Petroglyph Point and sketch the images you like the best.

We visited Lava Beds on June 8, 2008. We picked up the Adventure Book at the Visitor Center and watched a video called “The Land of Burnt Out Fires”, to complete the section of attending one Ranger Program. We then went to three caves. The first was Mushpot Cave. Mushpot Cave is a short distance from the Visitor Center and has low level lighting. There are also interpretive signs explaining the formations. We then went to Skull Cave, which was named for the bones of antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep skulls and two human skeletons discovered inside. The bottom of the tube has a year-round ice floor. Our last cave we visited was Big Painted Cave. To get to the cave, you had to hike an easy .75 miles or 1.5 miles round trip. There were pictographs at the entrance of this cave.

There are 26 pictures to color in the Adventure Book, so after leaving the park, your child will have something to do while driving to your next destination. My daughter completed the What’s Inside a Lava Tube Cave? and Lava Bed Bingo. After completing the activities we returned to the Visitor Center and my daughter got her Lava Beds Junior Ranger Badge. Lava Beds does not have a Junior Ranger Patch.

The program was fairly simple for my 5 year old. The staff were very friendly and helped us decide what caves we wanted to visit. They even loan out flash lights in case you forget to bring one.