Zion National Park Junior Ranger Program

Please click on the following link for the official Zion National Park Junior Ranger web page:

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

The Junior Ranger Handbook can be purchased for one dollar (plus tax) at both visitor centers and the human history museum. The Zion National Park Junior Ranger web page states children ages 6 through 12 can earn a Junior Ranger Badge or a Patch by completing an activity booklet during their visit.

The site also states children ages 6-12 can earn a badge or a Junior Ranger Explorer Patch by completing the activity booklet and attending a ranger-led program.

Children under 6 years old can earn a Junior Ranger Pin by completing an activity sheet during their visit. Activity sheets are free and available at both visitor centers and human history museum.

My family visited Zion National Park on March 27, 2010. Approximately one week prior to them offering ranger-led programs. We were told that children could only earn a patch by attending a ranger-led program. Since the spring season had not started yet, Alyssa was not awarded a Junior Ranger Patch. I was a little annoyed with this and Alyssa was slightly upset as the Zion National Park Junior Ranger web page clearly states that children would earn a patch by completing the activity booklet. Please see below for a picture of the Zion National Park Junior Ranger badge.

At the end of our visit, we were also told that Kolob Canyons had their own separate Zion National ParkJunior Ranger Program. We visited Kolob Canyons on April 1, 2010 and were told that they had quit offering a separate program a couple of years ago and now the same activity booklet is offered at both locations.

How to become a Junior Ranger:

If you are 6-8 years old, complete Tara Tarantula’s activities, and if you are 9-12 years old, complete both Tara’s and Lewis Lizard’s activities int he Junior Ranger Handbook.

The activities for 6-8 years old were age appropriate for Alyssa. She even completed some of Lewis Lizard’s activities. The was well designed and colorful and worth the dollar spent.

The activity guide for children under six was quite simple. There was a scavenger hunt and some activities that included looking, listening, touching and smelling, however, it did not seem very engaging for Samantha, as she had no ownership in me reading the activity guide. She likes to have a book in hand, completing activities.

During our visit, we hiked on the Lower, Middle and Upper Emerald Pools trail which was about 2.5 miles long. It is classified as a moderate hike. When we got to the Lower Emerald pool, there was a beautiful rainbow. The trail also goes behind a small waterfall. After that we hiked up to the Upper Emerald Pool. The trail was a little more difficult to maneuver, but definitely worth the hike.

We had planned to do some hiking at Kolob Canyons, but on April 1, 2010, we woke up to about 8 inches of snow on the truck. We had stayed in Cedar City, which is only about 15 minutes away. We did visit the park and it was absolutely amazing. The fresh snow was such a sight. It was however slightly windy and about 30 degrees out.

We definitely plan to return to the park as Alyssa wants to get her Junior Ranger Patch and there is a lot more hiking to do. What a beautiful park.