Kids Enjoy Trains, Trains and More Trains
Take a look at the Junior Ranger program, which goes on at National Parks all year, and National Junior Ranger Day, which celebrates parks, history and trains this Saturday.
"Trains, Trains and More Trains!"
The kid in all of us can enjoy a day exploring trains with musicians, model trains, and dress-up, craft and photo stations at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.
"It's a fun easy way to learn about history and the park," Benita Duling, director of Educational Activities at the park, said of National Junior Ranger Day. "Kids will be looking at the impact of trains on the development of Atlanta, the Battle of Kennesaw and expansion of our country. So we'll be looking locally, regionally and nationally."
Children will be given railroad tickets when they come in and they will "travel" throughout the building, inside and out. The tickets will get punched at the various stations. After kids have visited each station, they will bring their tickets back to the "depot" for treats.
"We keep the train motif alive and keep kids having fun," Duling said.
For kids already involved in the Junior Ranger program, this day has an entirely different badge that is dated.
"It's a family day, a big family-friendly event," Duling explained.
The event is free and open to the public. There is no age restriction; though the target age group is seven through 12. "But we get as old as 22 and as young as two and three year olds coming out to enjoy the day. It's fun for everyone."
National Park Week
Saturday is National Junior Ranger Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. National Junior Ranger Day is part of National Park week, which runs April 21 through April 29 and includes free entrance to every National Park. On Saturday and Sunday, the bus at Kennesaw Mountain will be free.
Junior Ranger Program
The Junior Ranger program is for kids seven to 12. The program is free, and kids get to do various activities that will teach them about national parks, the history of the United States and the events that occurred at Kennesaw Mountain.
"The big goal is to get them excited, for kids to think National Parks are cool places where they can study so many different subjects of history."
About 150 kids become Junior Rangers at Kennesaw Mountain each year. On Junior Ranger Day, between 100 to 125 kids come out.
Kids learn how to explore and protect the park. When the program is complete, they bring their booklets back to the front desk and get some Junior Ranger swag.
"It's fun, but it's a lot of work. We want them to feel like they accomplished something."
The Wee Ranger program is for kids under the age of seven. Kids complete three activities and then receive a prize.
"It's cool because we get kids from all over the country. There are families that travel with the goal to get to every national park and when they are there they do the Junior Ranger program."