Completed: January 29, 2014
Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly
My first visit to Death Valley National Park was in 1979, I was enchanted with this unique desert environment. Over the years I have had many people wonder why anyone would want to visit a place named Death Valley. It is hard to explain, but once there it captures you. I have included more photos than usual to attempt to capture its beauty.
Death Valley National Park is open year-round, however late Fall through early Spring is the best time to visit. While I was there the temperature stayed in the upper 70s. In January of this year a majority of the country was suffering through a bitter cold, snow-covered winter, that alone makes a visit to Death Valley worthwhile.
The Junior Ranger booklet lists three age groups; 6 and under, 7-10 and ages 11 and above. As it does not have an upper age limit it is consider Senior Friendly. At the upper limit 9 activities were to be completed, with a total of 12 activities from which to chose.
There is the traditional pictograph bingo which feature 16 different plants, animals and unique features seen in Death Valley.
A unique place in Death Valley is Scotty’s Castle, at the northeast corner of the park. It was built in the 1920s as a vacation home by a Chicago businessman and used by a local character to entertain visitors with tales of finding gold. Tours are available of the house and grounds which I have taken in the past. Using the activity in the Junior Ranger booklet I completed “Scotty’s Treasure Hunt” by walking around the grounds and finding 15 different ‘treasures’. It was fun to explore the grounds and finding things I had not seen on previous visits.
One of the pages I found challenging was titled, “When Do You Wake Up?” It features five different animals in this hot environment and when they are active, day or night. Using the terms nocturnal, active at night, and diurnal, active during the day, the animal’s normal period of activity is described.
Another activity, “A Wilderness Park”, has you evaluate what would happen if each visitor picked a flower, fed a wild animal, collected a few rocks or scratched a name into canyon walls. With over a million visitors per year the impact is obvious.
The variety of activities kept my interest while visiting over several days. I believe the booklet could be completed during a one day visit. There is so much to see and do within this park it is difficult to limit your time. Death Valley National Park is a place I will be back to continue to enjoy and explore.