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Vacation Travel Souvenirs: Patches, pins and National Park badges

Updated on December 19, 2011
Various patches from Grand Canyon, Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Deadwood, South Dakota, Arizona's Meteor Crater, Mackinac Island and Las Vegas.
Various patches from Grand Canyon, Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Deadwood, South Dakota, Arizona's Meteor Crater, Mackinac Island and Las Vegas.

Need a souvenir from your vacation that’s inexpensive, compact, and memorable? Try patches, pins and badges!

Most souvenirs end up discarded in a heap at the bottom of your closet or junk drawer. Here’s a cool, artistic way to capture your adventures without any hassle.

Patches

Patches from Chicago's Field Museum & Adler Planetarium, Virginia's Blue Ridge Parkway, Little Bighorn, Yosemite's Mariposa Grove and Arizona's Walnut Canyon.
Patches from Chicago's Field Museum & Adler Planetarium, Virginia's Blue Ridge Parkway, Little Bighorn, Yosemite's Mariposa Grove and Arizona's Walnut Canyon.


Patches – each one is a small work of art, offering different shapes, colors, and designs. You can iron or sew on patches to a baseball cap, t-shirt, vest, or blanket. I bought a long Isaac Mizrahi bed bolster at Target and attached my daughter’s collection to it. They also add a bold, colorful touch to scrapbooks and photo albums.

Pins

Pins from Rocky Mountain National Park, Niagara Fall's Maid of the Mist, Lewis & Clark Center in Washburn, ND, Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Burr Oak, Iowa, the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, & Milwaukee Zoo.
Pins from Rocky Mountain National Park, Niagara Fall's Maid of the Mist, Lewis & Clark Center in Washburn, ND, Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in Burr Oak, Iowa, the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, & Milwaukee Zoo.

Pins – not every destination will offer a patch; pins are more readily available. Positive: they’re easy to rearrange and portable. Negative: they’re small and not as showy.

National Park Junior Ranger Badges

Various badges from the Mississippi River, Mesa Verde, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Petrified Forest, Devil's Tower, Zion, Theodore Roosevelt and Arches National Park.
Various badges from the Mississippi River, Mesa Verde, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Petrified Forest, Devil's Tower, Zion, Theodore Roosevelt and Arches National Park.

Badges – most National Parks offer Junior Ranger programs for kids under age 12 or 14. After completing a booklet and attending a ranger presentation or hike, kids are awarded their badge by a real park ranger.

Shaped like an actual ranger’s badge, etched with the locale’s name, it’s a bonus when the locale is reflected in the badge’s design. Like scout badges and team participation ribbons, these badges reflect the accomplishments achieved while vacationing.

National Park Junior Ranger Patches

Bryce Canyon, Effigy Mounds, Mount Rushmore, Grand Tetons, Badlands and Yellowstone National Park.
Bryce Canyon, Effigy Mounds, Mount Rushmore, Grand Tetons, Badlands and Yellowstone National Park.


Some National Parks offer Junior Ranger patches instead of the pins; many offer both. The Grand Canyon, for example, has booklets and patch designs based on the child’s age. Return when you’re older for a different award (Raven, Coyote, Scorpion, etc.)

Patches from Hard Rock Cafe, Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, St. Paul's Como Zoo, Hearst Castle, Painted Desert and the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum.
Patches from Hard Rock Cafe, Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, St. Paul's Como Zoo, Hearst Castle, Painted Desert and the Neil Armstrong Air & Space Museum.


Stash them in a tiny pouch or display them proudly and prominently - either way, badges, patches and pins take you on a journey all their own.

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    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

      Great photos! The idea of collecting patches, badges and pins as souvenirs of your travels is really nice, and I can see how patches would make a great wall hanging. A few years ago we went on an RV caravan to Alaska. There wasn't much room in the RV to bring back souvenirs, so I collected pins from each town along the way. I pinned them to a wide brimmed hat and really enjoyed them during the trip. Some people who collect them pin them to a vest, which is also a good idea.

      Enjoyed your hub a lot! Voted up! And welcome to HubPages!

    • Calum Williamson profile image

      Calum Williamson 5 years ago from Glasgow, United Kingdom

      This is a really good idea and it's one i'm considering doing. Was maybe looking to buy a decent sized canvas backpack and sew them on. Not just place ones though, all different patches. Thanks for the article.

    • acc12 profile image
      Author

      acc12 5 years ago

      Thanks for the comments! Alaska would be awesome. Yes, any kind of patch can be fun & a personal statement. We got some James Dean and Lucille Ball patches when we went to their birthplaces.

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A. Johnson 5 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      Our favorite souvenirs are patches, pins and pressed pennies. Thanks for the great ideas!

    • profile image

      acc12 5 years ago

      My son used to collect those pressed pennies too. He has them in a specially made plastic display folder. Fun!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Judging from all of these patches and pins, you have traveled quite a bit. I am old enough to remember when people had decals on their cars as they went from state to state and site to site. Of course when the car would be sold...there went the souvenirs! Patches and pins are a good idea. Voted up and useful.

    • acc12 profile image
      Author

      acc12 5 years ago

      Thanks, Peggy. I bet the decals had some cool graphics on them as well. Yes, I like the way pins, and even patches, can be moved around for different uses. When my kids were little, I sewed the patches on a vest for them. After they grew and didn't want to wear the vests, I removed the patches and sewed them on a bolster for their rooms.

    • profile image

      Denise 5 years ago

      This is beautiful. I collected patches from every national park I went to as a child and my parents accidentally donated them. This made me cry.

    • acc12 profile image
      Author

      acc12 5 years ago

      Denise, Wow- you must have had a great collection. I think many of us lost things from our past. Luckily there are several good sites where you can buy patches online such as eBay, and The Western National Park Association at http://www.wnpa.org/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=C... This site has patches from the Southwestern US and they are only about $3 each. Another good one is http://www.eparks.com/store/category/18/206/Patche... They have many Eastern U.S. and some Midwestern National Parks. Hope you can recreate some of those fun childhood memories.

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