Stones River National Battlefield Junior Ranger Program

Please click on the following link for the official Stones River National Battlefield Junior Ranger Program web page:

http://www.nps.gov/stri/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm

You can pick up the Stones River National Battlefield Junior Ranger Program Activity Book at the visitor center. There are two levels of activities for Junior Rangers: ages 6 – 8 and ages 9 – 12. Once completed you return the activity book to the visitor center. A Ranger will check your work and give you an official badge, certificate and ID Card. Please see the scanned image below of the Stones River National Battlefield badge.

In this blog, I will discuss the requirements for completing the activity book for ages 6 – 8.

Requirements for completing Junior Ranger Activity Book:
Ages 6 – 8
• Complete all 4 activities.
• Activity 1 – Ask a Park Ranger or Volunteer to tell you how a cannon was fired.
• Activity 2 – The Slaughter Pen – Maze Puzzle
• Activity 3 – The Cotton Field – Match the Cotton Plant
• Activity 4 – McFadden’s Ford – Draw what you hear, smell or feel today and what you may have heard, smelled or felt 140 years ago.

My family visited Stones River National Battlefield on November 25, 2008. Stones River has an Auto Tour and as you drive the Auto Tour, the Junior Ranger completes the activity book. I really liked this concept of completing activities as you drove through the park.

The first activity was right outside the visitor center. Volunteer Bill Lynch walked us through each step of firing a cannon. We learned that it takes eight men to efficiently fire one. Bill appeared to really enjoy showing us how the cannon was fired and it was a great experience.

The rest of the activities were fairly simple for my six year old daughter. Stones River has cotton growing on grounds and we were able to walk out into a cotton field and touch the cotton.

There are hiking trails at Stones River, but it was pretty cold and windy and we didn’t come prepared to hike.

After my daughter completed the Activity Book, we returned to the visitor center, where Ranger Jim Lewis presented my daughter with her Stones River National Battlefield Badge.

One of the difficulties my wife and I had was trying to explain the Civil War and war in general. We had to explain why people were killing each other, the concept of slavery and the importance of Stones River. We also visited Fort Donelson National Battlefield and Shiloh National Military Park during our visit to Tennessee. I think my daughter eventually understood what was going on, but I think it was a real hard concept for our six year old to comprehend.