Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument Junior Ranger Program

Please click on the following link for the official Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument Junior Ranger web page:http://www.nps.gov/sucr/forkids/beajuniorranger.htmYou can pick up a copy of the Junior Ranger booklet at the Visitor Center. Once completed, return to the Visitor Center to get your Junior Ranger Badge. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument does not have a Junior Ranger Patch.Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument offers a Junior Ranger Program for children of all ages. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument offers a program for children six years and younger and a program for children in grade school. You can download a copy of the Junior Ranger booklets from the links below.

Grade School – http://www.juniorranger.us/sunsetcratergradeschool.pdf
Six Years and under –http://www.juniorranger.us/sunsetcraterpreschool.pdf

In this posting I will discuss the program for children six years and younger. My family visited Wupatki, Sunset Crater Volcano and Walnut Canyon National Monument on April 12, 2009. You might think, “Wow, three parks in one day”. Well the parks are fairly close to each other and are rather small. We were able to visit each park and had plenty of time to explore and complete all three Junior Ranger programs.

The Junior Ranger booklet for ages six and under was age appropriate for my children. The booklet does state that parents will need to read the instructions for the Junior Ranger. I was disappointed that all of the activities except one were based on exhibits at the Visitor Center. The Junior Ranger booklet for grade school required you to take a walk on the Lava Flow Trail through the Bonito Lava Flow.

The activities are as follows:
1. Find “A Place of Cultural Importance” and listen to one of the American Indian stories about Sunset Crater.
2. Find the rock display and answer questions.
3. Find “An Unusual Home” and find animals in the exhibit.
4. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – draw something you see at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.
5. Create your own earthquakes at the jump station.
6. Watch the movie “When Day Turned to Night” and answer questions.

The girls really liked the earthquake jump station. You jumped on a pad and you could see your small earthquake on a monitor. After we completed the activities required in the Visitor Center, we drove out to the Lave Flow Trail. The trail is an easy to moderate 1 mile hike and will take about 30 minutes. Make sure you get a trail guide, as it is very informative. During this hike, you walk through the Bonito Lava Flow. During the walk, you have the opportunity to see several different types of formations. The hike was very educational.

When the girls were done with their booklets, we returned to the Visitor Center, where they took the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument Junior Ranger Pledge and received their new Junior Ranger badges. Please see photo below for a picture of the Sunset Crater Volcano badge.