Military park programs aim to keep kids busy in summer

Published 11:16 pm Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Vicksburg National Military Park is hoping to keep area children busy this summer.

Special Junior Ranger programs in the works at the park begin with the second Shape Up, Junior Ranger event June 30 at 9 a.m. With the theme, “start your summer fitness with a bang,” the free event will highlight the role of the artillery during the 1863 Vicksburg Campaign.

The kids will get to participate in an artillery drill, watch cannon fire and take a 1/2-mile hike to Tour Stop 13, the Railroad Redoubt, before they hear a park ranger talk about what’s been called the most impressive cannon crew during the battle, the Chicago Mercantile Battery.

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Junior Rangers will receive stamps for participating and are encouraged to bring their logbooks.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the living history site in front of the Visitor Center.

The VNMP also will host a weeklong Junior Ranger Summer Camp July 16-20, daily from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Campers will explore life during the Civil War, from the soldier to the civilian to those who fought the war on horseback. Kids will sample hard tack and Johnny cakes, march in a rifle drill, learn how the cannons were fired and have at least one field trip.

Junior Ranger Camp is open to kids from 8 to 12 and is free but space is limited. Applications can be picked up at the park’s Visitor Center, 3201 Clay St., requested via email to, or call the VNMP at 601-636-0583.