My 4-Year-Old Junior Ranger On The Adventure Of A Lifetime In National Parks
Austin is my 4-year-old son. Just like most kids, he loves to run, throw rocks, draw, laugh, be loud, but he does all of these things while traveling full time on the road in an Airstream! The National Parks system turns 100 on August 25, 2017 and I know a lot of people are going to be posting beautiful pictures of the parks on it’s Anniversary, but I thought I would shed some light on the most amazing aspects of the parks… it’s Junior Ranger program!
Austin became a Junior ranger for the first time in Big Bend National Park. The park is amazing and Austin got to learn about all the different plants that grow there, the animals that live there and the huge rocks that somehow balance there! Every park is very different, but the Junior Ranger program is treated very much the same. They get a booklet that has questions, pictures and fun things about the park you’re in and each junior ranger has to answer them appropriately.
There are books for all ages and answering the questions is fun! We have now been to 13 National Parks in 6 months and the most amazing thing that I have noticed is that every single Ranger at the park, takes their time with Junior Rangers. There will be lines of people wanting to ask questions, but the kids come first! Every ranger has gone through the booklet with Austin, answered all of his questions, made sure he knew what he was talking about and then gave him “the oath”. The oath is different at every park, but the basic premise is that all Junior rangers should protect the National Parks. I have included a video of one of his oaths in this post.
I want to give a big THANK YOU to the National Parks for everything they do to educate everyone, but their Junior Ranger programs is what will keep the National Parks going for another 100 years! Here are some of my favorite pictures of Austin learning and having fun at all the different National Parks and National Monuments he has been to.
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Junior rangers run to all the amazing things at the park!
There is so much to explore!
Big bend National Park, throwing rocks into the river
This the Airstream we travel in full time!
We have been on the road for 6 months now. We travel where ever the wind blows us and I make a living for our family as a Professional Photographer.
The hot spring at Big Bend National Park in Texas
Going into Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico in some National Parks have wide open spaces, but others are deep dark holes that you walk in to!
With Mommy at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon
Swimming at Glacier National Park in Montana
At Saguaro National Park in Arizona seeing how big vultures really are!
Mountain lion encounter
Mt Hood (not a National Park)
Walking on the beach
Exploring Joshua Tree National Park in California
I can do this!
In the middle of nowhere enjoying father son time at sunset
Off to explore some more
Joshua tree gets me excited!
Moving branches out of the way
Redwood National Park
The friends we have met along the way have been amazing!
The full time RV community is pretty amazing and here are a handful of people we have met a long the way!
Always laughing and enjoying the moment
Walking with mom on the beach
Second beach at Olympic National Park
Time alone with Mommy, enjoying the view
Joshua tree, Junior Ranger
White sand national Monument, sleding
Off to explore again in white sands New Mexico
Sleding at white sands
Sleding with mommy
The rocks at Joshua tree
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Austin giving the Junior Ranger oath at Olympic National Park
It’s always cute to hear a 4 year old give an oath to protect the National Parks