Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree Has a Virtual Junior Ranger Program

The nifty, nature-fun project has a number of cool, complete-from-afar activities. Oh yes: There's a badge, too.

NPS/Kurt Moses

WHAT'S THE MOST AMAZING THING... about Joshua Tree National Park for a nature-loving youngster? Is it the spectacular stands of the national park's glorious namesake tree? How about the massive boulders that pile on top of each other like stunning scoops of ice cream in an oversized sundae dish? Or are the sunsets, which seem to include every color in the crayon box, your tot's favorite? Asking a kid who has visited the iconic national park, a jewel of the California desert, the best thing about it may summon a flurry of perfectly perfect answers. But the question "would you like to become a Joshua Tree Junior Ranger" is likely to only get one enthusiastic response: "yes, please, most definitely." There's a way that your young desert devotee can work on that plan, during the pandemic, all while keeping close to your abode. For a...

VIRTUAL JUNIOR RANGER... program, up on the park's site, boasts a line-up of fun to-dos that can be completed "on a sheet of paper at home." Those include drawing a joshua tree, and fashioning a star-filled constellation, and answering some important questions about the desert tortoise. There are a few more activities, and, of course, the final checkmark on the list: Taking the Junior Ranger pledge. Your child can earn their badge (by mail, you bet), all while keeping them connected to one of the Golden State's most epic expanses. Peruse everything your kid will need to joyfully fulfill now on this page, and then find the paper, and the pencils, and set them to daydreaming about the desert and why they love it so. Missing family trips to Joshua Tree? This is one wonderful road back.

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