This was state 50 for a couple people in our group. Such a big deal! We chose a cruise with the best itinerary for us and our extended family. That means we could not complete every badge in the state. Not surprisingly, people want to go back again for badges or not! Here’s what my research for Alaska Junior Ranger programs yielded.

Click here for a spreadsheet of these links.


The Alaska Public Lands office is run by the National Park Service. It offers a rare metal Junior Ranger Badge and a patch for a scavenger hunt, both of which can only be done at the center and cannot be mailed. Only 5 pages need to be completed for the Junior Ranger. The scavenger hunt is three pages.

The younger Ranger booklet has a maze, 2 animal matching pages, and a multiplication math problem, among other options.

The older Ranger booklet has a word scramble, word search, and coloring page, among other options.

The younger scavenger hunt has a traditional bingo-type search. (One item appeared to no longer exist.) The other two pages require drawing based on the 5 senses.

The medium-age scavenger hunt allowed drawing a story like a totem pole and writing a story to go with a drawing.

The older age scavenger hunt required following the salmon lifecycle, comparing current and past lives, and filling in a graph for an imaginary trip.

We spent 1.75 hours at the site, which included watching the film. Our ranger was very passionate and required formality and picture-taking.


This booklet can only be picked up in the park, but if you don't finish it, it can be mailed in for the badge.

It is a long book. Children over 8 must complete the entire book. Even my focused child needed all 3 days to finish. There are parts for drawing a spruce, drawing a favorite husky, and drawing the animals they have seen. There was also a math question where I gave up and asked Google. In a few cases, children can write or draw their answers, which is wonderful for those with learning challenges.

You can pick up a backpack with supplies at the visitor center to help you explore the park. We didn’t have time or extra shoulders to check it out.

Wrangell-St. Elias

While our ship went to Hubbard Glacier in this national park, no rangers climbed aboard and the ship did not dock. We easily printed and completed this booklet ahead of time and emailed it in. The badges beat us home.

Glacier Bay

Here's another book and badge you can only get in the park. Some cruise ships pass through Glacier Bay (max of 2/day) during which time a ranger climbs aboard. In our case, the booklets and badges/patches were not with the rangers at all, but in the ship's kids' club.

The booklets did not need to be completed. If you attended the Ranger talk, you got a booklet and a wooden badge. If you didn't attend the talk (#1 was too old for the kids' center, and #3 didn't want to stay), you got the booklet and patch. I took the girls to the adult talk because I’m that kind of mother. If your children care which one (patch or badge) they get or always need to get everything the same, discuss with them ahead of time. And maybe even discuss with the cruise staff ahead of time, too. They were very understanding.

Skagway/Klondike Gold Rush

There are quite a number of buildings owned by the National Park here. Not side-by-side, but near each other. The visitor's center is the first building if you are walking into town from a ship. Be prepared to be patient for help.

Down the street, there is a small activity center where you can participate in acting out scenes from the gold rush (think dressing up and canoeing) that would earn the badge. Unfortunately, it was closed without explanation. But we did learn about the closure in time to print the booklet ahead of time. The activities feel long, but are very doable. (Scrambled words, maze, dot-to-dot, choose which animal you would have traveled on and share why…)

The ranger looked to make sure all pages were done and asked the kids what they learned. Pledge and done. Super simple.

Note: If you want to reserve free tickets to get into the Soapy Smith Parlor, don't wait. Tickets "sell out" quickly as only 10 people are allowed in at a time because it is very small. It only took 10 minutes. Only my daughter and I had interest in visiting. We didn’t know about the tickets, and the ranger at the visitor center told us to give the guide her name. Because some people get the tickets and don’t show up, there may be availability. But if the whole family wants in, you gotta get tickets.


This site only gives patches. If you ‘don’t need no stinkin’ patches,’ do something else in the city.

If you like patches, before you do anything else, download this app: Agents of Discovery. It wouldn’t download on my phone due to limited service, and my youngest was so sad not to get the patch with the bear on it at Mendenhall Glacier.

Not attached to the app are two printable booklets (top two links under “Publications”) for Mendenhall, but you have to follow a bit of a trail to find them. Don’t worry, I’ve done that for you. They are simple books. The ranger was not particularly interested in looking at the completed work, but enjoyed talking with the kids.

The app activity at Mendenhall would have only taken about 15 minutes had we known about it at the beginning of our hike to the falls. I think there were only about 5 questions to answer. You must be near a glacier overlook to answer the questions. I believe there were two more sites near Juneau that offered additional patches if you took the app there, but we were limited by multiple factors (cruise schedule, car/taxi schedule, and people having a holdover of motion sickness.) Give the app a good study while looking at your map as part of your trip planning.


As stated above:

“This site only gives patches. If you ‘don’t need no stinkin’ patches,’ do something else in the city."

“If you like patches, before you do anything else, download this app: Agents of Discovery.”

You can get the Tongass National Forest (printable booklet) patch either at the Southeast Discovery Center or at Mendenhall in Juneau. Maybe others. There was also a scavenger hunt you could do with no reward. However, we skipped it because the silly app really was scavenger hunt enough. It easily took an hour and a half although perhaps that could have been less if people weren’t fighting over the phone! One answer we had to ask about, and the first two people didn’t know. They said only 3 people that year had done it. Don’t stress if you get an answer wrong and lose points. No one seemed to care about that.

There were two other sites we could have driven to, but similar constraints as above. Again, look at your map and the app and decide what’s important to you.


This is one of the amazing sites we missed. Printable here. It looks like there is also a patch available if you join a Junior Ranger walk (Ages 8-12). Contact the park for schedule.


Another site we had to give up. You can print and mail or pick up the booklet at the visitor’s center or Bishop’s House.


This one isn’t exclusively Alaska, but it was referenced as appropriate for the area. It’s a mail/email in. The patches are mailed out monthly. There are a high number of required activities, and I had to take dictation a couple times. But it was worth it. My kids said it was one of the coolest patches…of course, that was before we actually left for Alaska.

Fairbanks area-Not on the Spreadsheet

At one point, we thought we’d tack this onto our land package part of the trip. When I contacted them with questions about programs and how to make the trip work, the rangers were very helpful. Here are some of their notes. The Visitor Center in Fairbanks is called Alaska Public Lands and is located inside the Morris Thompson Center in downtown Fairbanks. They have Junior Ranger booklets for Alaska Public Lands like in Anchorage, which focuses on interior Alaska. It doesn’t appear to be mailable just like Anchorage. Junior Ranger booklets for Gates of the Arctic and Yukon-Charley River as well as maps/brochures for all other Alaska parks are available.

This time we didn’t collect every patch or badge as “proof” of our visit to Alaska. We didn't go out of our way to collect. We are just glad we went and had a wonderful time. So if you can’t get every patch in every city, focus on the memories and the togetherness, and eventually, it just won’t matter.

Want a spreadsheet just like I use? Click here.