Alcatraz for Kids: National Park Service Junior Ranger Program Provides Educational Fun for Young Visitors
Alcatraz, San Francisco’s world-famous visitor attraction, invites young people to navigate the Island and interact with nature, history and adventure by becoming an Alcatraz Junior Ranger. This free educational program, developed and operated by the National Park Service (NPS), is offered on Alcatraz and at many other national park sites across the United States.
Alcatraz Junior Rangers are young people between the ages of seven and 15 who participate in a variety of hands-on, self-directed learning activities designed to enhance their Alcatraz experience. Working with their families, Junior Rangers learn the importance of protecting the natural resources on Alcatraz, as well as the value of preserving the Island’s history and culture.
“Families are one of our most important audiences, and through the Junior Ranger program we are able to deliver an age-appropriate experience on Alcatraz,” said Rich Weideman, Chief of the Office of Public Affairs and Special Events for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. “While the Island is perhaps best known for its legacy as one of the toughest penitentiaries in American history, there is much more to learn during an Alcatraz visit. The Junior Ranger program sheds light on the stories that we know will resonate with younger people."
Through the Junior Ranger guidebook, kids and their families explore the many faces of Alcatraz, using interactive activities that highlight the Island’s cultural and natural assets. The guide includes sections on the Island’s military history, its importance as a federal penitentiary, the diverse bird and plant species that live on the Island, the historic Indian Occupation, and the important role of Park Rangers as stewards of national park resources. Young people who complete the Alcatraz Junior Ranger activity guide receive a badge and a signed certificate, granting them Junior Ranger status on Alcatraz and at National Parks across America.
Alcatraz is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Families are encouraged to buy tickets well in advance, especially during peak summer season. To
purchase tickets, please visit the Alcatraz Cruises website at www.alcatrazcruises.com. Additional information on the Island and the Junior Ranger program is available through the National Park Service at www.nps.gov/alcatraz, or the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy at www.parksconservancy.org.