Alcatraz Island National Historic Site Junior Ranger Program

Please click on the following link for the official Alcatraz Island National Historic Site Junior Ranger page:

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

You can download a copy of the Alcatraz Island Junior Ranger Activity booklet, by clicking on the following link:

http://www.juniorranger.us/Alcatraz_Island_Junior_Ranger.pdf

Before I start this blog, I want to thank Ranger Lori Brosnan and Ranger J.P. Vance. My normal routine prior to visiting a park where there is a Junior Ranger Program is to go to the park’s website, look at age requirements and download the activity book to see what types of activities are involved and plan the amount of time that may be needed to be spend at the park to complete the program. I put together some sort of itinerary, which usually includes a copy of the activity book. Upon arriving at the visitor center, I have my daughter ask a Ranger for the activity book so that she can complete the Junior Ranger Program.

For those of you who don’t know, you need to travel by boat to visit Alcatraz Island. When we arrived, we went to the information booth and asked one of the volunteers for the Activity Book. After several minutes of searching, we were told that they were out of Activity Books. We were also advised that this happens two or three times a year. I wasn’t going to give up, we had spent $94.00 to ride the boat over to Alcatraz. So I asked the volunteer if they had internet service on the Island so that they could download a copy of the Activity Book and print it. I was told they didn’t. At this point, it appeared that we would not be able to do the Junior Ranger Program.

Alcatraz shows a movie, I believe every half hour about the history of the Island, so we started to watch that. As my family was watching the movie, I contacted Ranger Brosnan and explained to her that we were really looking forward to completing the Junior Ranger Program. She was unaware that the Activity Book could be downloaded from the NPS website. Once I explained that to her, she informed me that they did have internet access on the island and would talk to her partner to see if he could download it and print it out for us. It took a little while, because they were printing on an ink jet printer, but Ranger Vance was able to locate the file and download the book for us. I just wanted to acknowledge them for taking the time to do this and say Thank You. You made a little girl very happy.

As I stated above, you need to ride on a boat to get to Alcatraz Island. We visited Alcatraz on January 3, 2009 and at that time, Alcatraz Cruises was the vendor. Please click on the following link to visit Alcatraz Cruises website:

http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/

One of the items included in your ticket to Alcatraz is the Audio Tour. During the tour you get to listen to interviews and comments from inmates and Correctional Officers that were on Alcatraz Island.

I have looked in the Activity Booklet and Alcatraz Islands website and have not been able to determine a recommend age group for their Junior Ranger Program.

In this blog, I will discuss the activity book and requirements to complete the Junior Ranger Program.

The Activity Book is designed around stops and at each stop there is an activity to complete. The activities are as follows:
1. Alcatraz Inspector – During this activity, you look for different shapes and learn about Alcatraz when it was a fortress.
2. Secret Code – Decode the secret words to see what life was like for the children living on the island.
3. SENSEsational Alcatraz – Use your senses to answer questions.
4. Hungry Hunters – Learn about the birds on Alcatraz.
5. Cell Search – Word Puzzle – find hidden words of items found in cell # 390.
6. Escape Attempt! – Maze Puzzle
7. Indian Land – Answer questions about the Indians that occupied the island in 1969.
8. Alca-Trees – Match the leaves to trees in this activity.
9. What do you see in this picture? – Circle positive behaviors and put an X through things visitors should not do.
10. What Park Rangers Do – Draw a picture of yourself as a Park Ranger.

My six year old daughter really enjoyed visiting Alcatraz Island. She completed the booklet with little help. She enjoyed the audio tour. During the tour, you are able to go into some of the cells, see where the prisoners had recreation time, where they ate and some of the activities they did while incarcerated. 

Once she completed the book, we went back to the information booth, where her book was reviewed by a park volunteer. She was required to take the Junior Ranger Oath and was given an Alcatraz Island Junior Ranger Badge. Please see the scanned image below of the badge.