A proud Junior Ranger (NPS Photo) Big Bend's habitats range from the Chihuahuan Desert to the Rio Grande to the Chisos Mountains, and all are rich with plants, animals, and stories of human history, giving children plenty of opportunity to explore.
Kids visiting the park enjoy visiting the exhibits and touchable map of the park at the Panther Junction Visitor Center, the Fossil Bone Exhibit area, the Hot Springs, the sand dune in Boquillas Canyon and the mountain lion exhibit at the Chisos Basin Visitor Center.
There are several easy hikes that kids of all ages can go on, including the Window View Trail and the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Trail. For older children, the Lost Mine Trail provides a good challenge and is an excellent day hike.
Get kids involved in ranger-led programs. These include guided hikes, slide programs, bird walks, and guided explorations of various park features. Check the schedule at any visitor center to make sure you take advantage of all the available programs. Stop by any of the park's visitor centers for directions or further suggestions. See below to learn how to become a Big Bend Junior Ranger.
The Big Bend Junior Ranger program is designed for kids 7-15. Through activities, games, and puzzles, children can have fun as they learn about the park. Required activities include attending a ranger-led program, visiting a historic area, hiking on a park trail, and completing activity pages that encourage direct experience and discovery learning in diverse park environments. They can also earn certificates, badges, patches, and bookmarks.
The Junior Ranger activity book costs $2.00 and is available at all park visitor centers. Both children and adults benefit by sharing the fun of becoming a Big Bend Junior Ranger.