How to Become a Yellowstone Junior Ranger

Home to the majority of the world's geysers, 300 species of birds, 16 species of fish, five species of amphibians, six species of reptiles, and 67 species of mammals—including seven native ungulate species and two bear species, Yellowstone is a vast and varied landscape. In other words, there is a lot to take in. The Junior Ranger Program offers kids the opportunity to learn about this national treasure through self-paced learning activities and guided ranger-led programs.


Kids 4 years and older can earn a wooden NPS badge after learning about Yellowstone wildlife, thermal features, geology, the ecosystem, and the Park's history. (Winter-specific programs are available too.)


Young girl taking the Junior Ranger Pledge


Getting Started


Stop by any of Yellowstone's visitor centers and pick up a free, full-color Junior Ranger booklet, which will take you through the program. Requirements to earn a badge include attending a ranger-led program, hiking on a trail or boardwalk, and completing various activities. Kids learn first-hand about the Park's wonders and their role in preserving it.


Each page of the booklet gives kids an educational activity to focus on. Kids will learn about the supervolcano and the hydrothermal features, journal about their experiences in Yellowstone, create a drawing of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, learn to identify wildlife tracks and scat and understand more about the climate, including tips to help them be more sustainable travelers. Prompts in the booklet encourage kids to take in the outdoors, paying close attention to our natural environment's sights, sounds, and smells.


The program is so popular another program, the Junior Ranger Wildlife Olympics, came to life. Designed for families with limited time in the Park, this "pop-up" event occurs at various locations throughout the summer. Kids and their families can participate in fun outdoor activities that teach key concepts about wildlife.



Young boy with a map to explore Yellowstone


Other Programs


Another bonus program is the Young Scientist Program, available at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. Kids are encouraged to solve mysteries by conducting investigations within the visitor center and in a field setting.


If you're traveling to Yellowstone with kids, stop into a visitor center to get started, or Download a copy of the Junior Ranger booklet before you go!


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