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Wisconsin Explorer Program

Wisconsin State Park System

A young girl looks at a butterfly.
This year, kids all over Wisconsin are discovering secrets! Photo Credit: Wisconsin DNR

Share Nature With Your Children

Today, many children are growing up in structured environments that don't allow much time or freedom to play outdoors. By helping them connect to things they discover in nature, you nurture values of good stewardship and build strong bonds that will last for a lifetime.

Make tracks to the nearest state park property and ask for a free Wisconsin Explorer booklet. Inside you'll find nature activities, scavenger hunts, games, hikes and crafts to help you explore Wisconsin's great outdoors. Kids who complete the requirements will earn collectible state symbol patches. Don't just sit there — get out and start exploring together!

Wisconsin Explorer Program Grows With Kids

There are three age levels in the Wisconsin Explorer program (3-5 years, 6-8 years and 9 years and up). Three themes help kids explore different parts of the great outdoors. With nine booklets, a 3-year-old can begin the program this year and participate until age 11 without repeating a booklet.

Collect All Nine Patches 

Kids who start the program at age three can collect all nine state symbol patches. To receive a patch, turn the form in at any participating State Park System property. Kids are only eligible to earn one patch per calendar year. If a property office is closed during your visit, you can mail the form with your name and address to the following location:

Wisconsin Explorers OC/2, Department of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 7921, Madison, WI, 53707

Wisconsin Explorer patches
  • Ages 3-5
    • American robin – state bird (2024)
    • Honeybee – state insect 
    • Sugar maple – state tree
  • Ages 6-8
    • Muskellunge – state fish (2024)
    • Whitetail deer – state wildlife animal
    • Red granite – state rock
  • Ages 9+
    • Wood violet – state wildflower (2024)
    • American badger – state animal
    • Trilobite – state fossil

Educators And Youth Leaders

The Wisconsin Explorer program is designed for individual children visiting state properties with family members or adult friends.

Educators and youth leaders can download the PDF files of the booklets listed below or request one hard copy of each booklet. Permission is granted to copy individual activities, journal pages or entire booklets as long as copyright information remains on each page. However, children in these groups cannot earn patches.

Booklet for ages 3-5 Booklet for ages 6-8
Booklet for ages 9 and up
Booklet for ages 3-5 [PDF] Booklet for ages 6-8 [PDF] Booklet for ages 9 and up [PDF]