Manzanar National Historic Site Junior Ranger Program

Please click on the following link for the official Manzanar National Historic Site Junior Ranger page: http://www.nps.gov/manz/forkids/beajuniorranger.htm Before I start this posting, I want to thank Mark Hachtmann, Park Ranger at Manzanar National Historic Site. Mark has a tremendous passion for his work at Manzanar. That was seen through the time he spent with our family informing us about the history of Manzanar during our visit. Mark spent at least an hour, maybe two, with us and it made our visit very enjoyable. After our visit, I was discussing Mark’s kindness towards us with my wife. We both agreed that this was by far, to date, our favorite and most memorable Junior Ranger Program and that experience was created by Mark and his enthusiasm about Manzanar.To become a Junior Ranger at Manzanar, you need to complete an activity booklet which you can pick up at the visitor center at no cost. You need to complete the activities for your age group. These activities highlight Manzanar and Owens Valley history and introduce the peoples who lived at Manzanar. When you have completed your activities, take the booklet to the front desk. A Ranger will review what you have learned, sign your certificate, and award you with a Junior Ranger Badge. Please see below for a scanned image of the badge. Mark informed us that Manzanar currently does not have a Junior Ranger patch, but they are planning to design one for future Junior Rangers. There are three levels of activities for Junior Rangers: ages 7 & under, ages 8-9 and ages 10 & up.In this blog, I will discuss the requirements for completing the booklet for ages seven & under.

Requirements for Junior Ranger ages seven & under:

* Watch the film “Remembering Manzanar”
* Complete all activities marked with an apple

The activities are as follows:

  • Destination Unknown – Where the child must choose 10 items they would need for an unknown place. You can’t bring pets and you only have 2 suitcases for all your items.
  • Connect the Dots – A picture of what you see when you first enter Manzanar.
  • Toy Loan Library – Locate the toy loan center and draw a toy or game you would have played with in Manzanar.
  • Apple Orchard Maze – maze puzzle
  • Manzanar Tic-Tac-Toe – Explore Manzanar and cross out items as you locate them.
  • Reflect -Draw a picture or write about something interesting you saw or did at Manzanar.

Our family visited Manzanar on August 6, 2008. The program was fairly easy for my 5 year old daughter. She asked a lot of questions. The video “Remembering Manzanar” helped answer some of those questions, but some of it was still difficult for her little mind to comprehend. As an adult I learned something very important about our history that I did not remember learning in school.

Manzanar is fairly new to the National Park system and is undergoing a lot of changes. When Manzanar was closed after World War II, all the building were removed. While we were there, there was ongoing archaeological digs. The National Park Service is also rebuilding a section of Manzanar to replicate the buildings that once stood at the site.

On a side note, we traveled to Las Vegas after our visit to Manzanar. While there, I was discussing our visit with a friend. He informed me that his wife’s father was the last person born at Manzanar. What a small world.