- Rose Kennedy For the AJC
Go, go Georgia junior park rangers.
The Georgia State Parks program begins May 15, and kids can earn badges for hands-on nature activities, exploring Georgia history and other fun outdoorsy stuff like hiking, boating and archery.
Who doesn't love badges? Plus, the outdoors experience builds as children work their way through three badge levels.
Here's how the Junior Park Ranger badge program works:
Free Junior Ranger Activity Books are available at all of Georgia's State Parks and Historic Sites. If you are not able to pick up your book in person, download one from this link.
New this summer is the Get Outdoors Georgia Gopher Badge, which offers kids the chance to choose from a list of 16 different badge requirements that will get them outdoors and learning about nature. Kids ages 7–10 must complete five activities and those aged 11–14 must complete 8 activities.
At the same time, several Georgia State Parks offer Junior Park Ranger day camps or workshops throughout the summer. Kids complete the badges at the activity sites, along with learning lots about nature and picking up skills that range from archery to boating at different camps.
Here are six Georgia State Parks holding Junior Park Ranger camps or workshops this summer:
Junior Ranger Three-Day Camp at Chattahoochee Bend State Park
9 a.m.-2 p.m. June 13-15 for ages 7-9
9 a.m.-2 p.m. June 27-29 for ages 10-12
Space is limited. $60 plus $5 parking. 770-254-7271.
Archery, hiking, campfire building and science experiments are only a few of the many adventures offered at this camp.
Junior Ranger Camp at Florence Marina State Park
10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 12-15
$30 plus $5 parking. 229-838-4706
Kids learn to identify different plant and animal species, go on hikes and boat rides and learn wilderness skills.
Junior Ranger Camp at Skidaway Island State Park
9 a.m-5 p.m. Weekdays the weeks of May 29, June 12, 26, and July 10 for ages 6-11 years old
$125 . 912-598-2300
A week of hikes, crafts, games focused on the natural and cultural heritage of Georgia.
Junior Ranger Camp Seminole State Park
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. June 5, July 10, August 7 for ages 7-14
$40 plus $5 parking. 229-861-3137.
Canoeing, hiking, aquatic exploration and crafts.
Junior Ranger Camp: Magnolia Springs State Park
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.June 13-15 and June 27-29
$40 plus $5 parking. 478-982-1660
Activities will include nature hikes, archery, geocaching, alligators, fishing, archaeology, the splash pad and much more.
Junior Ranger Camp: Laura S. Walker
Activities include outdoor skills, trail walks, birding, and more. Space is limited and registration is required.
8 a.m.-noon June 20-22 for ages 6-12 years old
$40 plus $5 parking. 912-287-4900
Junior Ranger Camp: Vogel State Park
At the base of Blood Mountain in the Chattahoochee National Forest kids will learn how to identify different plant and animal species, go on hikes and boat rides and learn how to be safe in the wilderness.