Junior Ranger Program

Program Overview

For over 30 years, visitors of all ages, particularly young visitors, have participated in one of the longest running and most popular Junior Ranger Programs in the National Park Service. Through self-paced learning activities and guided Ranger-led programs, participants learn about Yellowstone’s wildlife, thermal features, geology, ecosystem, and history. They are rewarded with an official Yellowstone Junior Ranger badge and are sworn into the ranks of thousands of Junior Rangers who are lifelong stewards of the world’s first national park.


  • Program created for children ages 4 and above.

  • Full-color Junior Ranger booklets are free-of-charge and available at all visitor centers.

  • Badges are wooden, shaped like the iconic NPS arrowhead and feature a geyser, mountain peak, and a bison.

  • Junior Ranger programs are available during the winter and feature a winter-specific badge.

  • Virtual/downloadable Junior Ranger programs and booklets are available through NPS (not Yellowstone-specific).

Requirements to earn a badge include attending a ranger-led program, hiking on a park trail or boardwalk, and completing a variety of activities in the official Junior Ranger booklet. Both children and adults benefit by learning more about the park and sharing the fun of becoming a Junior Ranger!

This popular program has grown to include the Junior Ranger Wildlife Olympics. This “pop-up” event takes place throughout the summer at a variety of locations and provides families who may have limited time to spend in the park an opportunity to participate in fun, outdoor activities that also teach key concepts about wildlife.

Bonus: Young Scientist Program

Kids 5 and older can become Young Scientists when visiting Yellowstone National Park. Start by requesting a self-guiding booklet at the Canyon Visitor Education Center or Old Faithful Visitor Education Center.

Designed to serve three different age groups, the program coaches the young (and young at heart) to solve science mysteries by combining investigation in both visitor center and field settings. The program for 5–9-year-olds is offered only at the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center.

Once your investigation is complete, you will be awarded an official Young Scientist patch (ages 5–13) or key chain (ages 14+).

How You Can Help

Yellowstone Forever provides the funds to make this popular, longstanding program available to all visitors. This support covers printing Junior Ranger booklets, the purchase of badges and other materials, and salaries of seasonal NPS rangers who provide Junior Ranger activities and programs.

Your support helps keep this first-class, fun, and well-loved program free-of-charge for children, parents, and visitors of all ages.

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