The Junior Ranger program gives kids a chance to explore a state park. By becoming a Junior Ranger, 6-12-year-old visitors will get involved with plants, animals and park protection. Be careful, though. Rumor has it that being a Junior Ranger is so much fun, grown men and women have been masquerading as kids to get in. We may have to start asking for ID.
After young visitors seek out the program, they receive a Junior Ranger Activity Book. When they complete the booklet, the Junior Rangers earn an award. An activity book is available at select state parks.
Aside from the deep personal satisfaction every Junior Ranger feels after filling an activity page with their thoughts and experiences, there's the cool stuff that goes with it. Each time Junior Rangers complete an activity book, the young visitor shows the booklet to a park staff person and receives:
J.R. is the mascot of the Junior Ranger Program. J.R. helps children through their duties and “talks” to them about natural resources. J.R. keeps pretty busy. You can see them at some local events and parades.
The Junior Ranger program is offered at most campgrounds that have staff or hosts on hand. Some day-use parks also offer the program. Wondering when a program will be offered? You can go to the events calendar and search for youth programs by selecting "For Kids" under the event category menu. Contact each park separately for details on its programs.