Friday, May 31, 2013

Kid-friendly programs plentiful at GCNP

Grand Canyon National
Park Junior Park Ranger badge
Activities abound at Grand Canyon National Park to teach children about the natural wonder before them as well as the environment in general.

Among the kid-friendly programs are:
Junior Ranger – Children ages 4 and up can be sworn in as a Grand Canyon National Park junior ranger and receive a certificate by participating in several different programs. The most common way is to pick up a Junior Ranger Activity Booklet at a visitor center, complete it, and then attend a ranger-led program. Kids then receive a certificate and are sworn-in as junior park rangers during a ceremony. Presenting the certificate at a park gift store allows the child to purchase a junior ranger patch. During the summer, kids who participate in the Adventure Hike or Discovery Pack (ages 9-14) programs also can become junior rangers.
Ranger-led programs – A variety of programs meant specifically for children are held throughout the year on the South Rim and when open on the North Rim. Programs include short hikes, talks about condors, walks to fossil beds, and other presentations. A schedule for the various programs with their dates, times and locations, is available online.
Expeditions – Teenagers can sign up for multi-day camps in which they explore the canyon on a number of exciting adventures. The Rim to Rapids camp takes teens on a rapids ride and has them performing conservation field work. The Grand Inspiration camp involves teens drawing, painting, photographing and writing about the canyon as exploring it. Kids must apply for the camps through Grand Canyon Youth.

Read more about day hiking the Grand Canyon in my Hittin’ the Trail: Day Hiking Grand Canyon National Park guidebook.