National Park Week & Junior Ranger Day

April 13, 2010
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has proclaimed April 17-25, 2010, as National Park Week. To highlight this annual observance, Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks will waive entrance fees during the week—along with all 392 national park units across America. April can be an outstanding time to visit Grand Teton and enjoy unique seasonal activities. Visitors may choose to bike, hike, or inline skate the Teton Park Road without vehicle traffic, observe sage grouse as they perform their spring-time courtship displays, drive park roads to sightsee or search for bears, wolves and other wildlife, or simply photograph the dramatic Teton Range draped in its winter mantle of snow.

During National Park Week, park ranger naturalists will lead weekend trips to observe sage grouse as they perform their annual mating dance (called strutting) at a lek in the Mormon Row area. Strutting grouse tours are scheduled for April 17-18 and April 24-25, and begin at 5:30 a.m. from the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming. Reservations are required.

In addition to National Park Week, the National Park Service has declared Saturday, April 24, as National Junior Ranger Day. To mark this occasion, Grand Teton will offer educational activities for children of all ages from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Children who participate in three or more of the scheduled activities on Saturday will earn their Junior Ranger title and receive a Junior Ranger badge or patch. In celebration of Junior Ranger Day, the Grand Teton Association will be offering a 15% discount in the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center bookstore to children who earn their Junior Ranger title during the Saturday event.

A variety of activities and learning experiences will be offered to inspire children and encourage them to become partners in helping to preserve not only Grand Teton, but also national parks throughout the United States. Indoor activities will include an Animal Olympics competition where children test their skills against the abilities of certain wildlife species. Other activities will involve a Ranger Club photo exhibition, an art project that will be displayed in the Discovery Center, and a chance to don an actual ranger uniform. Outside the visitor center, children will explore a park ambulance, fire engine, patrol car, and plow truck. Children will also be able to meet the park’s horses and try out scientific equipment, such as radio telemetry, used in tracking and monitoring park wildlife.

Please call the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at 307.739.3399 for further information about Grand Teton’s Junior Ranger Day event, and/or to make reservations for the weekend tours to watch strutting sage grouse.