Great Smoky Mountains National Park will celebrate the fourth annual National Junior Ranger Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 24, with special activities in two of the Park’s visitor centers, and in the town of Gatlinburg in conjunction with the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage’s Greener Living Expo. Children and their families can join in a variety of free, hands-on activities at Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg; W. L. Mills Conference Center in Gatlinburg; and Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, N.C.
Activities planned at the visitor centers will range from a Junior Naturalist Walk to making dinner bells at a blacksmith shop. Making historic toys, beeswax candles, cornhusk dolls, and visiting touch tables with animal skins, skulls, and scat are a few of the other natural and cultural opportunities that will be available. Children can earn their Junior Ranger badge by completing three of the specially planned activities. A Junior Ranger booklet is also available, for those who would like to explore the Park in more depth. Information on the specific programs is available at the visitor centers.
As part of the Greener Living Expo at the Mills Conference Center, Park Rangers will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to help children learn about green living of the earlier settlers. Children participating in this program can earn Junior Ranger day awards. National Junior Ranger Day is a special event for National Park Week, celebrated this year between April 17 and 25. This year’s theme is “Share a park, shape a life.”