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Earn a Junior Ranger Badge at Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia

Posted on Tuesday, July 24, 2018

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If you want to get your kids excited about visiting Independence Park and learning about the history of America’s Birthplace, there are two great free programs that the National Park Service provides: Independence Trading Cards and the Junior Ranger Activities.
 
A Junior Ranger Takes His Oath
 

“Explore, Learn, and Protect!”

Each day, the Junior Ranger motto is learned by children around the country at various National Parks when kids take an oath to protect National Parks, continue to explore and learn about National Parks, and share their own Junior Ranger story with their friends and family.

 

2 Different Types of Junior Ranger Programs

Independence National Historical Park offers two different Junior Ranger programs for kids visiting Independence Park: 
  • Junior Ranger Activity Booklet (which you can pick up in hard copy free of charge at the Independence Visitor Center or download the Booklet here).
  • Junior Ranger App for the iPhone and iPad that gives kids a way to interact with Independence Park’s stories on your (their) mobile device.
Please note that it is suggested that your kids have a hard copy of the Junior Ranger Activity Booklet so that your kids’ can keep track of their completed activities and then present these to the Park Ranger at the Independence Visitor Center to earn their badges.
 
Independence National Historical Park Junior Ranger Activity BookletJunior Ranger App for iPhone or iPad
 
Additionally, for kids who are not visiting Independence Park, but who would like to learn about America’s Birthplace from home, there is an online Junior Ranger Challenge
 
A Park Ranger Assists a Future Junior Ranger
 

Q&A

Q: What does it cost to become a Junior Ranger?
A: It’s FREE! As Benjamin Franklin said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
 
Q: Is There a Minimum Age Requirement?
A: No.  The Junior Ranger Activity Booklet is recommended for children who are 5-13 years old, but that is just a guideline, and people of all ages can participate. There are age appropriate activities in the Junior Ranger Activity Booklet that are labeled as “easier” and “harder” activities.
 
Q: How Much Time Does it Take to Complete?
A: Depending on the age of your children, the Junior Ranger Activity Booklet can be completed in less than a half day (including one Park Ranger led activity), but the work can also be spaced out over your visit to Historic Philadelphia.
 
Q: How Do Kids Become a Junior Ranger?
A: Print the Junior Ranger Activity Booklet in advance of your visit to Independence Park or go to the Independence Visitor Center at 6th & Market Street and request a free copy on the first day of your visit to Independence Park.  Kids who attend at least one Park Ranger program or activity, and who complete the required number of activities in the Booklet, earn a Junior Ranger certificate and an official badge:
  • For kids 5-7 years old, complete 5 or more activities
  • For kids 8 years and older, complete 8 or more activities

Park Ranger Led Activities and Programs

Check at the Independence Visitor Center at 6th & Market Streets for Park Ranger led activities, including the dates, times and locations of programs (varies depending on the time of year).  Some of the more popular Park Ranger programs include going inside Independence Hall (free timed tickets are required) or Congress Hall.  
 
Depending upon when you visit, there are many other Park Ranger programs from which to choose, and these can also be found by using the online calendar of events for Independence Park.
 
A Junior Ranger Explores Independence Hall
 

What Types of Activities are there in the Junior Ranger Activity Booklet?

The Junior Ranger Activity Booklet is good old fashioned family fun.  In total, there are 15 different activities for kids to choose from in the Booklet including: creating artwork, connecting the dots, interpreting information, solving number games, mastering timelines, solving word scrambles, etc. 
 
The sites and subject matters of the activities include the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Hall, the Great Essentials Exhibit, Loyalists and Patriots, Congress Hall, President’s House Site, Second Bank of the United States, Ben Franklin Printing Office, Ben Franklin’s A“maze”ing  Inventions, Franklin Court, Historic Houses of Worship and the National Park Service site location map.
 

Junior Ranger Induction Ceremony and Pledge

Take your Junior Ranger Activity Booklet with your completed activities to the Independence Visitor Center at 6th & Market Streets and head towards the National Park Service Information Desk.  Then ask a Park Ranger to check your kids’ work, and your children can claim their souvenir badge for all of their hard work by raising their right hand and reciting the Junior Ranger Pledge:
“I promise to explore and protect the wonders of national parks and nature all around me. I promise to learn the importance of every living thing, and to live every day as Earth’s best friend.”
The Induction Ceremony and Pledge can be individually done at any time of day after your kids complete the required activities and present their completed Activity Booklet to a Park Ranger at the National Park Service Desk at the Independence Visitor Center.  Additionally, the Park Service also runs a public Junior Ranger Induction Ceremony for children at the Independence Visitor daily at 4PM during the summer.  Check with the Park Service for dates of the group Induction Ceremony or search the online calendar of events
 
A New Junior Ranger Proudly Wearing His Badge
 

Insider Tip – Collect Free Trading Cards

While your kids are working to complete their Junior Ranger Activity Booklet, your kids can also collect free Independence Trading Cards at the same time by asking Park Rangers who are stationed throughout the Park (inside and outside of the buildings) if they have any Trading Cards.  
 

Additional Information

You can call 215.525.1776 or click here to buy tickets to The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia.  Taking The Constitutional will provide your family with a primary overview of Independence Park to learn a lot of the great history of America’s Birthplace.  Families find that The Constitutional is an ideal way to start their adventure in Independence Park, and that kids often use their knowledge gained on the tour to answer a lot of the activities in the Junior Ranger program. 
 
599 Market Street
One North Independence Mall West
Philadelphia, PA 19106
800.537.7676
 
 
 

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