Zion Nature Center Youth Programs
Sounds of laughter fill the building. A ranger sits in front of a large group of excited children. The children squirm with anticipation, their eager face’s lighting up when told they are going on a dinosaur scavenger hunt. Parents, tired from the heat of the day smile at the inexhaustible excitement of the children. A child jumps up and shouts “Look! There is a dinosaur track!” And with that, the children are off. Eyes on the ground, yelling to each other, ranger and parents following closely behind, the children travel back in time to an age when dinosaurs roamed.
It’s a typical Friday afternoon at the Zion Nature Center.
The Zion Nature Center, located next to the South Campground, offers youth specific programs from Memorial Day to Labor Day which encourages a highly interactive family learning experience. Nature Center staff offers a mixture of programs which enable youth and their families to discover amazing animal adaptions, explore complexities of nature, learn about powerful geological forces, and much more. Program participants create skits, sing and dance, play games, dress-up, and build a variety of crafts. All programs are carefully developed by staff to create a fun and enjoyable learning experience for visiting youth and their families.
Youth programs are not only found at the Nature Center but all over the park, at various locations. Youth and families may stop at the Emerald Pools trailhead to touch a beaver pelt, join a group playing nature games on the Zion Lodge lawn, or even look closely through a magnifying glass at macro-invertebrates at the Riverside Walk. For full listings of program times and locations refer to the park’s Map and Guide or website.
As the summer draws to an end the Youth Program will switch over to school programming, bringing students from local communities and underserved populations to Zion National Park. Students participate in nationally recognized programs exploring the beauty and wonder of the park.
All of these programs, youth and school focused, would not be possible without the generous support from ZNHA members and donors, for which we thank you. We would love to encourage all of you to come visit us at the Nature Center this summer, check out one of our many programs, or explore our new exhibits.
Article by Joy Kacoroski, Lead Education Technician Youth Program Zion National Park
Photos courtesty NPS