Kids Junior Ranger Program

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

When you vacation at Carr’s Cottages, you join the ranks of generations of families that have been enjoying affordable, family vacations in East Tennessee.  We love families and kids of all ages, and hope that your kids will come to love the great outdoors as much as we do.  One way to inspire them is through the interactive Junior Ranger Program!

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just one of 300 participating parks that offer children between ages 5-12 the chance to become Junior Rangers, complete with a certificate and badge!  While your child can become a Jr Ranger at any time of the year, there are many unique, ranger-led activities to encourage kids to explore and learn about the park are scheduled during the spring, summer and fall.  Activities include such things as short hikes, learning how to pack a daypack, animal Olympics, bats, and more that your kids will absolutely love.  See some of the outdoor activities scheduled for 2014.

Become a Junior Ranger in the Smoky Mountains National Park

Earn a Junior Ranger Badge & Certificate

As a Junior Ranger, I promise to help protect the plants and animals of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and keep the air, water and land clean. I will continue to learn more about the park so I can help protect it for all the years to come.

To become a Junior Ranger, the child must complete eight of eleven different activities in a specially prepared, age-appropriate booklet (one each for ages 5-6, 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12), talk with a ranger or attend a ranger-led program, and pick up a bag of trash.  The booklet includes learning skills such as identifying leaves (and poison ivy!), answering historical questions, drawing pictures and unscrambling puzzles.  Junior Ranger booklets can be purchased for $2.50 at any park visitor center, at the Cades Cove or Elkmont campground, or online at the Smokies Store.

From a parental perspective, the booklet is an outstanding, structured National Park guide created to spark a love of the outdoors through entertaining education.  After beginning with a few necessary rules such as “leave everything as you found it, don’t feed the wildlife, and don’t carve your name on a historic cabin,” the booklet quickly turns into fun and adventure for your children… and you!  Once the requirements are completed, return to a visitor center and let a staff member know that the booklet requirements have been complete.  A park ranger will proudly present your child a Jr. Ranger badge in front of everyone.  Bring your camera!!

Being welcomed into the ranks of Junior Ranger is a great honor, and one that should be celebrated!  Carr’s is just the place to commemorate the achievement with a BBQ picnic at our pavilion and a dip in the heated swimming pool, or a nighttime marshmallow roast by the creek.  Be sure to stop by the office so that we can say our congratulations too!

For additional information about becoming a Junior Ranger in the Smoky Mountain National Park, visit the NPS website.

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