Junior Arizona Archeologist – 18 Arizona NPS sites

Navajo National Monument Archaeology
Navajo National Monument – Betatakin Ruin

Junior Arizona Archeologists
18 Arizona NPS sites

Click to access Junior-AZ-Arch-2016-as-published.pdf

Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly

Completed: October 18, 2018

In 2016 the Southern Arizona National Parks Office and Western National Parks Association created a statewide junior ranger program highlighting archeology throughout Arizona. The Oxford dictionary defines archeology as “the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts and other physical remains“. Without a doubt the Arizona sites provide a wealth of experiences to explore the state’s rich archeological history.

Organ Pipe Cactus NM - Archaeology
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument – Victoria Mine

Eighteen of the twenty-two NPS Arizona sites are included in this program. To earn the patch only four sites have to be visited. A site specific ‘rocker’ patch was initially available for all of the sites. By the time I finished it in 2018 several sites had run out of their patch. I was able to get 12 of the 18 ‘rocker’ patches. Every site I visited was friendly to this Senior.

Each site has two pages to complete, one to be done on site and another page that can be done before you arrive. To be honest I found some of these on site activities to be the hardest I have ever done. Matching the picture in the booklet with the items on display in the visitor center was a challenge. The mixture of photo identification with answering questions was a great way to learn about the site’s archeology.

Montezuma Castle NM Archaeology
Montezuma Castle National Monument

I never tire of visiting the many Arizona National Park Services sites. Having this statewide program focused on archeology provided a fun experience.

Arizona Explorer Junior Ranger

Arizona Explorer

22 Arizona NPS sites

Completed: November 20, 2018

Junior Ranger – Senior Friendly


Click to access az-explorer.pdf

Explore Arizona and earn a patch! With twenty-two National Park Service sites scattered across the state this program provides a variety of experiences. Western National Parks Association along with the National Park Service Southern Arizona Office created a state-wide Junior Ranger program. All of the sites were welcoming of this Senior Ranger.

With only four site visits and 7 pages of activities you can earn the attractive patch, with a visit to any of the sites you can earn the small site-specific ‘rocker’ patch. I was determined to visit all of the sites and get all of the rockers! Over seven months I made it to all of the sites, but the final site, Grand Canyon – Parashant National Monument eluded me. We planned to visit the monument and complete the assignment, but the office staff in St. George, UT told us no rocker was made for this site.

Now, for the best part of this program – it is based on photography! At each site there is a specific Photo Challenge. Some of the challenges involved a hike, some were right at the park’s visitor center. Rather than detail the activities in the booklet, you can view them using the link above. Below are some of the Photo Challenges I completed.

Casa Grande National Monument – Hidden Room

Chiricahua National Monument – Volcanic Hoodoos

Grand Canyon National Park – Kaibab Formation

Montezuma Castle National Monument – Historic Diorama

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area – Lee’s Ferry Peach tree

Tonto National Monument – Salado Pottery

Tonto Salado

Coronado National Monument – International Border
This hike will also qualify for their ‘I Hike for Health’ pin


As time goes on some sites may not have the ‘rocker’ patch for their site, however the Photo Challenge and learning about the park will make this program timeless. Get Outside and Explore Arizona!

Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim – Arizona


Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim


Completed: August 27, 2015

Senior Friendly

Having completed the North Rim and Phantom Ranch Junior Ranger programs I was looking forward to completing the one for the South Rim. Two days were planned for our visit this trip so there would be time for me to complete this program. Even at this late date in August the campground was full,both nights, and the shuttle busses were often standing room only. The weather was perfect; overcast and 70* the first day, then clear and 80* the second day. Much better than the 100 plus degrees we left behind in Tucson.

This program is Senior Friendly, the oldest age grouping is listed as Ages 11 and up. The picture on the back of the booklet promotes all ages, highlighting a family, completing the program.

Back of booklet

The three age groups are;
Raven ages 4-7
Coyote ages 8-10
Scorpion ages 11 and up
The patch you cam buy in the bookstore, after completing the program, is specific to your age group. This is nice, especially for the younger children. Over a period of years they could earn 3 patches, the free badge stays the same.

All ages have to attend one ranger program and complete 4 activities that match your age level or 3 age-related activities and do a litter or recycle pick up. The ranger program I attended was titled “Geology Glimpses” and was conducted outside the Yavapai Geology Museum, right on the rim of the canyon!

Ranger Program at Yavapai Point

The activities I completed in the book were titled; Warming Up Your Senses, The Dynamic Canyon, Wildlife Detectives, Cinquain Lane,and Life on the Edge. I also did a few of the other activities. As a Senior I feel like I should do a few more than the minimum required.

All of the activities were enjoyable and as usual, I learned something new about the canyon. Life on the Edge has you complete a story about an ancestral Puebloan family that lived here 800 years ago. The words given to fill in the blanks helped to realize what their life would have been like at that time, very different from mine! A cinquain poem is easy to write and helps me to focus on the environment, I wrote mine about hiking at the canyon. Wildlife Detectives has you record information about wildlife you saw and evidence of wildlife, that you may not have seen. Right in the campground, near our camping site was this group of elk – amazing!

After the ranger at the main visitor center reviewed my booklet she completed the certificate included in the booklet and gave me the badge. Across the plaza, at the bookstore, after showing the certificate I purchased the colorful Scorpion patch.

Booklet, badge & patch