Casa Grande Ruins National Monument – Arizona

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly

Completed: March 16, 2015

The title of the booklet is ‘Exploration Notebook’ and inside it is stated that “This is NOT a test and is supposed to be FUN.” It qualifies as Senior friendly as no age limit is given. In the beginning it does ask you age, then states that is the number of pages you need to complete. With 18 different activities I completed all of the pages.

The site preserves “the big house” which they believe was abandoned in 1450 CE, and an area which may have been inhabited along the Gila River for a thousand years before. The structure is striking, when approaching from a distance you can see it easily.

The booklet helps you understand the science of archaeology, the culture of the inhabitants and the plants and animals of the area. Activities include; Who studies these things?, What tools do you use?, Plants you might observe today, Animals of the Sonoran Desert, Ancestral Sonoran Desert crops, Ancestral Sonoran Desert homes, How do you Know? (Family stories), Listen and learn, Does the name matter? ( O’odham words), Where is the Sonoran Desert?, Examining pottery clues, Exploring trade clues, The Casa Grande and its secrets, Ballcourts and public meeting areas, What might have happened?, Where did the people go?, How things are preserved and Why things are preserved. Several activities involved drawing, answering questions based on exhibits in the visitor center and out near the ruins, as well as a crossword puzzle and word search.

My favorite activity was drawing a design on a pot, I included Native American designs for hummingbirds, lizards and the water symbol. Completing questions from the park video gave me a better understanding of how the site has been preserved and interpreted over time. Other Junior Ranger programs have had you re-draw the park service’s arrowhead design, however this time you were to include items unique to Casa Grande Ruins. I included the desert mountains, a saguaro, the ruins and a desert tortoise.

Once I completed the booklet I turned it in at the back desk where the certificate was competed by a park volunteer and I was given the Junior Ranger badge. This badge is considered an enhanced badge as it is wooden and depicts ancient symbols.


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