Dreams come true at Denali National Park for kids who want to become a junior ranger. All they have to do is complete a series of activities.
Everything needed to complete this challenge is in the park or on the park’s website. The program is designed to be completed cooperatively with parents or other adults.
Pick up your free personal Junior Ranger Activity Book at the Denali Visitor Center. Finish all the tasks, then turn it over to a ranger at the visitor center. You will recite the junior ranger pledge, sign the junior ranger certificate and receive your official junior ranger badge.
There are plenty of activities at Denali for the park’s youngest visitors and their families.
The first stop should be the Denali Visitor Center, which has many kid-friendly exhibits. It’s a good first stop to learn about the park and the animals that live there. Sign up for hikes with a ranger or grab a picnic lunch and set out on any of the easy trails that leave from center.
You can also borrow a free Denali Discovery Pack at the Denali Visitor Center. There are lots of fun activities to pursue. Use binoculars in the pack to spot animals and plants. A colorful guide is included. Perform an experiment with a water testing kit. Make a cast of a wolf print to take home. Return the pack at the end of your visit.
Jump on the free bus to Savage River at Mile 15 of the Park Road. Hike the Savage River Loop.
Evening programs are held at various campgrounds. Check at the Denali Visitor Center for times.
If you are considering family camping, think about Riley Creek, Savage River or Teklanika Campground (which requires a three-night minimum). All of these are accessible by personal vehicle or bus.
Ride a free bus to the sled dog demonstration, then either ride the bus back or hike the Roadside Trail. These dogs patrol Denali during winter months, and a 30-minute program at the kennel tells their story.
A free travel guide called “Denali With Kids” is available for download at the Denali National Park website: www.nps.gov/dena/learn/kidsyouth/index.htm.