By Erin Gifford
December 22, 2021
Our country’s national parks hold a trove of kid-friendly fun. Yes, there’s hiking and biking, but there are other fun adventures that may not yet be on your radar, such as a helicopter ride over the Gateway Arch in Missouri or a kids-only cave tour in Kentucky. And, of course, there’s the ever-popular (and free) Junior Ranger program that rewards children with badges and patches for exploring and engaging with our national parks.
“The Junior Ranger program is a great way to learn about park geology, ecology and native wildlife, and also get a souvenir from the sites we visited,” says Jen Basile of Beaverton, Oregon. Her two sons have collected a combined 168 Junior Ranger badges and patches since 2013, which can be earned at almost all national parks by completing park activities and participating in ranger programs, like guided hikes and wildlife talks.
Here are 10 ways to wow your kids on your next national park adventure, including several free experiences you won't want to miss.