Grand Canyon National Park Archives - Eva Varga

May 6, 2013

When visiting our nation’s National Parks, we always try to take advantage of one or more ranger led program, depending upon the amount of time we have available. At the Grand Canyon, we were able to take part in a guided hike in search of fossils, an evening program and book signing, and a condor talk.  I share with you the highlights of the programs in which we took part.

Grand Canyon

Fossil Walk

We enjoyed a delightful presentation by a young ranger who began by describing to us the geological processes that formed the Grand Canyon. She was an excellent presenter and captivated even the youngest of listeners.  Sweetie was very engaged in the talk and was eager to take notes to write a blog post of her own.  I’ll allow her to summarize what we learned, Dude! Can You Identify the Layers of the Grand Canyon? fossils at grand canyon

Condor Talk

The condor talk took place along the rim trail just outside the Kolb Studio.  The ranger spoke about the plight of the California Condor, North America’s largest bird, that inhabits northern Arizona and southern Utah, coastal mountains of central and southern California, and northern Baja California.  He touched upon the variety of causes that have contributed to the condor’s decline and to the successful efforts that have brought this majestic species back from near extinction.   To our delight, just as the talk was wrapping up, three condors made their appearance, rising up from the valley, as if upon queue. Sadly, I wasn’t able to capture this moment with my camera but Sweetie was ecstatic.

Junior Ranger Program

In addition to the ranger programs, when traveling with children, we always seek out junior ranger opportunities. The Junior Ranger Programs are activities prepared especially for 5–12 year old visitors to the parks, providing activity books (which are generally free) that direct children to areas they might otherwise miss, or to things of special interest to the age group.  To earn the ranger badge, participants are encouraged to take part in a ranger program. After completing the specified amount of pages for the child’s age group, the participant is awarded a patch, badge and/or certificate unique for each park.

fossil walk

Have your children explored the Junior Ranger Programs? What park has been their favorite?  Did you know there are Web-Ranger opportunities as well?