Join the rangers and staff at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site on Saturday, April 15, as they celebrate both National Junior Ranger Day and Yuri’s Night World Space Party. Both events will be based at the Historic Hangar at Pearson Air Museum (1115 E. Fifth St. in Vancouver) and both are free to the public.
National Junior Ranger Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. celebrates the next generation of National Park stewards. Fort Vancouver National Historic Site invites hundreds of children each year to become Junior Rangers at this family-friendly event where kids can earn their Junior Ranger badges by completing fun, interactive activities with national park rangers. Junior Rangers pledge to explore national parks, learn about our nation’s land and heritage, and protect the valuable resources of the National Park Service—hence the Junior Ranger motto, “Explore, Learn, and Protect.” The event will be offered both in English and Spanish. Activities and Junior Ranger Activity booklets will be offered in both languages, and bilingual storytelling sessions will be offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Junior Ranger program is designed for children ages six to 12, but younger children can complete it with help. Older kids and adults are welcome to participate as well.
From 5 to 9 p.m., Yuri’s Night World Space Party will celebrate the 56th anniversary of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight into space. Gagarin was the first human to travel into outer space, and Yuri’s Night events across the globe have been commemorating this event for decades. Gagarin received his pilot’s training at the Soviet Union’s “First Chkalov Air Force Pilot’s School” in the 1950s. The school was named after famed Russian aviator Valery Chkalov, who piloted the first trans-polar flight between Moscow and Pearson Field in 1937. Space exploration and aviation-themed family-friendly activities will be offered in the Pearson hangar and, weather permitting, children can design and launch their own water-powered rockets until dusk. Tom Billings, the president of the Oregon L5 Society (a chapter of the National Space Society) will present a lecture titled “NASA and New Space: Going Outward Together,” at the Tex Rankin Theater at 6 p.m. If the weather is clear, the event will conclude with a star-gazing tour from 8 to 9 p.m., led by a park ranger and certified star guide.