The first time I went to Crater Lake it was about 12 years ago when Gary and I took his brother and his family to "see" the lake. Honestly, we weren't prepared for the drive out there so by the time my 7 and 11 year old nephews got there, they were completely bored out of their minds. Their attitude was kind of, "oooh wow, a lake" We took our obligatory pictures and headed to the gift shop and got some loganberry jam and a magnet and headed home. Sounds fun, huh?
Last summer we decided to finally head there to really explore and learn what there is to do at Crater Lake, besides just taking a picture of the pretty, blue lake. We started out at the Visitors Center so that we could get the kids Junior Ranger's workbooks. As you explore the national park it helps the kids to keep an eye out for plants, birds, insects, and various other points of interest. There are games and stories to read and when they complete at least 7 pages in their workbook, they earn their Crater Lake Junior Ranger Badge. It's a really cool badge because it is made out of wood instead of the normal plastic making it an awesome addition to our traveling adventures memorabilia! The Junior Ranger program is all year round for ages 6-12. You can find more information about the Junior Ranger program right here.
Something extra special during the summer that Crater Lake offers is a Junior Ranger patch that can be earned by participating in a ranger-led activity. The ranger offered a presentation about Crater Lake that was really fun and interactive! He illustrated perfectly how Crater Lake came about…even Gary and I learned some new facts! After the presentation all of the kiddos and even us adults received a beautiful Jr. Ranger patch. The activities last about 20 minutes and take place several times during the day behind the Rim Village Visitor Center, which is also where you can find the schedule of events for the day. The patches are only available from late June through September 4th.
After the ranger's presentation we decided to venture out and head over to the Sinnott Memorial Overlook where there where models and interactive display to teach us about the facts surrounding Crater Lake. To be honest, it was a little belly dropping because you are literally over the lake when you take in the view, but it was also amazing! The kids, especially Olivia loved this area because there were lots of buttons to push and knobs to turn. Ilias is a huge reader so he enjoyed reading all of the facts about Crater Lake and even made a friend with whom he got into a discussion about lava flow and whether we were in any danger of being blown up. You know typical 10 year old conversation, lol.
We took break for our lunch and then took a walk along the path that took us past the Crater Lake Lodge and then started the hike up Garfield Peak. We didn't make it too far because Olivia had to go to the bathroom so we decided we will make it back some other time to take on the full hike up and take the ferry out to Wizard Island.
On our way back down from Crater Lake we decided to go take a look at The Phantom Ship and to visit Vidae Falls Waterfall. The smoke that day gave The Phantom Ship a haunting look, that was kind of cool. Vidae Falls was really pretty but man were there a lot of mosquitos! Bring your bug spray!
We look forward to going back this year perhaps to take in Plaikni Falls and to visit The Pinnacles.
There is so much to do there; sometime we will take a weekend to camp at the Mazama Campground so that we don't have to fit everything all in in one day. How lucky are we that we have the luxury of living so close to an amazing wonder that people come from all over the world to see. Southern Oregon is truly a magnificent place to live!
For more information and details about Crater Lake you can go here.