Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Just For Kids

For Kids

In the Park!

When you earn your Junior Ranger badge or certificate, you'll learn what park rangers do to help protect nature—plants, animals, birds, land—and how we work with different communities and cultures to understand and remember our history. As a Junior Ranger, you'll care for our national parks, teach others what you learn, and discover new ways to experience your environment.

Nature's Classroom

To Participate in Nature's Classroom

Please phone for a reservation. We need a 2 to 3 weeks notice. We would also be happy to talk to you about this educational opportunity. Reservations necessary: please call (415) 388-2596.

Your students travel on an inquiry-based journey through Muir Woods and other natural communities along the Redwood Creek Watershed. They consider the interrelationships of the forest communities and record their observations in journals.

Getting Ready for the Park Visit

You can receive a CD-ROM with pre-visit learning activities, including a slide show and script that may be used to familiarize your class with the Muir Woods’ ecosystem. A limited amount of 30-minute videos also are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. The video follows a ranger and group of students as they assume the role of "nature detectives" in the redwood forest. The video must be returned on the day of your visit.

In Muir Woods National Monument

National Park Service staff will greet you and your class when you arrive at Muir Woods. Staff will conduct a 15-minute talk on the ecosystem in a special outdoor classroom. Also, you will be provided with self-guides to aid you while hiking in the woods.

For Teachers

The Golden Gate National Parks—with their fragile indigenous habitats and historic landmarks, ancient redwood groves and dramatic coastal preserve are also settings for one of the largest and most inspiring urban outdoor classrooms. Deeply committed to young people, the National Park Service, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and Presidio Trust partner with educators, students, and the community to design programs that encourage inquiry-based learning linked to school curriculum. The goals and principles of the K-12 program confirm Golden Gate's commitment to authentic, inclusive, and relevant education.

  • Parks As Classrooms programs are free.
  • Limited transportation is available.

Crissy Field Center, located on the Presidio of San Francisco, is a partnership project of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the National Park Service. The Center offers multicultural programs that actively engage us with our environments and promote collaborations in building a more sustainable and environmentally just society.

  • Crissy Field Center programs require a $75 lab fee.
  • Scholarships for programs and transportation are available.

Artillery, Bricks & Co.

To Participate in Artillery, Bricks & Co.
Reservations necessary: please call (415) 561-4315

San Francisco has the only massive brick and granite seacoast fortification on the West Coast. At the height of the Gold Rush, Fort Point was built and garrisoned with soldiers ordered to protect the city, its harbor, and the maritime resources that sailed through it. Activities and observations help students uncover the daily lives of soldiers and the intricate work of stonemasons. Artillery, Bricks & Co. will help your students understand how and why forts were built.

National Park Service staff will greet you and your class when you arrive at Fort Point. Staff will present a brief introduction on the fort's place in San Francisco history. You also will be provided with self-guides. Please have your students prepared to work in small groups.



Plan A Field Trip

Parks As Classrooms programs can be timed to introduce concepts, reinforce understanding, or stimulate culminating projects within a teaching unit. Programs are divided into school-based introductory lessons, a national park field session, and final projects in which students can illustrate what they learned during the program. Teachers are provided with booklets outlining suggested activities and teaching strategies. Lessons are designed to allow students to work cooperatively.

The first step is to choose the program best suited for your class. Applications and contact numbers are available for each program. Program location and date will be confirmed with NPS staff.

So that all students may participate and enjoy their program at Golden Gate National Parks, please take careful note of the following:

  • Teachers are requested to facilitate the pre-visit classroom lessons to prepare students for their national park experience.
  • Students should be organized into small work groups prior to the field session.
  • Clothing appropriate to the nature of the activities and weather conditions at the park is required.
  • Teachers and adult chaperons are responsible for the conduct of the students. If a student’s conduct compromises safety at any time, the entire class will be asked to depart immediately.
  • Arrangements can be made to accommodate most students with special needs. Please discuss specific circumstances with National Park Service staff prior to your visit.

Service Learning

To Participate in Service Learning
Reservations necessary: please call (415) 561-3077.

Engage your students in project-based learning. Sharpen their study, social and critical thinking skills. Challenge them to understand and address major environmental issues.

Your students can play a pivotal role in preserving and protecting National Park lands and have great fun doing it.

Students join park staff and community volunteers in restoration work in the native plant nurseries or in the field. Park staff offers special instruction for young people, linking their school curriculum to the ecological and horticultural concepts used by National Parks.

Golden Gate Nurseries

Students work side-by-side with NPS, Parks Conservancy, and Presidio Trust staff, growing and caring for native plants that will eventually be used to restore habitat throughout the Golden Gate National Parks. By taking part in a variety of activities, students learn about plant adaptation, plant diversity, and seed dispersal. Activities include transplanting, pruning, seed cleaning, weeding, planting, pot washing, and composting. National Park Service native plant nurseries are located at Fort Funston, Marin Headlands, Muir Woods, and the Presidio of San Francisco.

Habitat Heroes

Students gain a greater understanding of academic science by applying their skills to a National Park restoration site. Students learn about the restoration cycle, what's required to manage a site, plant biology and plant adaptations. Activities may include removal of exotic species or planting of indigenous species.