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Zion National Park has some of the best ranger programs we have encountered, and even better, they're all free. Evening programs, which last about 45 minutes, take place at the Watchman Campground Amphitheater and at the Zion Lodge Auditorium. They usually include a slide show, take place most evenings from April through September, and include topics such as the animals or plants of the park, geology, the night sky, mankind's role in the park, or some unique aspect of Zion, such as slot canyons. Rangers also give short talks during the day at various locations, including the Zion Lodge Auditorium and the Zion Human History Museum. Ranger-guided hikes and walks, which may require reservations, might take you to little-visited areas of the park, on a trek to see wildflowers, or for a night hike under a full moon. These range from easy to very difficult. When the shuttle is operating, the 2-hour Ride with a Ranger trip offers an opportunity to see the scenic drive, and learn about Zion Canyon, from a park ranger's perspective. Reservations can be made up to one day in advance at the visitor center.

Schedules of the various programs and activities are posted on bulletin boards at the visitor centers and campgrounds.

The Zion Canyon Field Institute, operated by the nonprofit Zion Natural History Association, Zion National Park, Springdale, UT 84767 (tel. 800/635-3959, 435/772-3265, or 435/772-3264 for the Field Institute; www.zionpar.org), offers a variety of single and multiday outdoor workshops and classes, covering subjects in the sciences, arts, and humanities. Programs take place year-round in Zion National Park and nearby Cedar Breaks National Monument. Recent program titles have included Bird Watching, Hanging Gardens of Zion, Wasps & Ants, Bat Biology & Conservation, Zion by Moonlight, Fall Foliage Photo Workshop, Zion Narrows, Watercolor Journaling, and Winter Photography. Although all the Field Institute's programs are very rewarding, we especially recommend the photo workshops, which are led by institute director Michael Plyler, an excellent photographer and teacher. Fees for most of the 1-day programs range from $35 to $300. Most have a minimum age of 15 or 16. Members of the Zion Natural History Association receive a 20% discount on most Zion Canyon Field Institute programs.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.