Great Smoky Mountains National Park will celebrate Junior Ranger Day on Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with special activities at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, Cades Cove Visitor Center, and Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Kids of all ages are invited to come learn how to “explore, learn, and protect” their national park and become an official Junior Ranger!
“Junior Ranger Day is a perfect way to celebrate the National Parks as all generations come together to be actively engaged as a community,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “With such a variety of ranger-led activities, there will be something for everyone in the family to enjoy.”
In celebration of Earth Day and this year’s upcoming total solar eclipse, Great Smoky Mountains National Park has invited special park partners including the University of Tennessee’s Astronomy Department, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, Smoky Mountain Field School, and the National Parks Conservation Association to provide special presentations and activities.
Children and their families can join a variety of free, hands-on activities including ranger-guided walks, historic toy making, speaking with a real wildland firefighter, creating a personal bandanna, and visiting touch tables with animal skins, skulls, and scat. Information about specific programs is available at each visitor center. Children can earn their free Junior Ranger badge by completing three specifically planned activities. For older visitors who still wish to participate, the park also offers a “Not-So-Junior Ranger” program, which rewards a patch.
For your safety, visitors are encouraged to consider personal comfort needs and bring water, sunscreen, and appropriate footwear. For more information and questions about Junior Ranger Day, please contact Ranger Joshua Contois at (865) 436-1252. Visit the park website at https://www.nps.gov/findapark/national-park-week.htm to learn more about how you can join parks, programs, and partners in celebrating National Park Week across the country.