When we were traveling in South Dakota, the kids (especially the Dude) participated in the National Parks’ Junior Ranger Program. I’d never heard of the Jr. Ranger program, the Hobbled Wife learned of the program during her extensive trip planning. It turned out to be a cool way to get the kids involved in what might seem a boring, sight-seeing day.
Junior Ranger Program,
The Junior Ranger Program is an exciting opportunity for children and their families to learn about the park. Becoming a Junior Ranger helps youngsters understand the park's ecosystems, the cave, and the animals. It also helps them learn how they can help protect all parts of our environment. Junior Ranger booklets are available for $1.75 at the bookstore. There are activities for children up to age 12.
M and the Dude both became Junior Rangers at the Badlands, but M declined to participate at other parks, so the Dude went on to score Jr. Ranger badges at Mount Rushmore and Wind Cave National Park as well. At the last place, Wind Cave, they actually snapped his picture for their web site. You can visit their site to see all the August Junior Rangers , as well as ones from other months.
As you can see by the photo, the Dude proudly wore all his badges. M, already the “Tween”, declined to wear her badge.