The hunt is on: Easter eggs and activities abound around town this weekend

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Easter goes prehistoric this weekend with the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher's Dinosaur Egg Hunt. It's one of many Easter activities happening in and around town today through Sunday. Courtesy photo.
Easter goes prehistoric this weekend with the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher’s Dinosaur Egg Hunt. It’s one of many Easter activities happening in and around town today through Sunday. Courtesy photo.

Time to break out the baskets, pop open a pack of Peeps and get that pesky plastic grass everywhere – Easter is almost here.

Equal parts solemn religious observance and secular celebration, the holiday signifies the arrival of ol’ Peter Cottontail himself, and with it a frenzied and fun scramble for colorful eggs filled with goodies.

If the little ones are hopping with excitement about Easter, there are lots of local themed activities to keep them busy ahead of the big day. There are even a couple of events just for the grownups.

The baseball fields at Hugh MacRae Park, 1799 S. College Road, will be peppered with pastel colors today (Friday) for a free Easter egg hunt sponsored by Winter Park Baptist and Wesley Methodist churches. It begins promptly at 10 a.m. and also includes crafts and other activities. In the event of rain, this event will be canceled.

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Road in Kure Beach, puts a prehistoric spin on the tradition with its Dinosaur Egg Hunt at 10 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. today and Saturday. Recommended for ages 3 to 10, the hunt gives kids a chance to create a special dinosaur egg basket and search for candy-filled “dinosaur eggs” in the aquarium garden. And they’ll get to see a live baby alligator up close and learn about reptiles, both prehistoric and alive today. Admission is $10.95-$20.

Children under the age of 14 can go exploring for those coveted eggs at Capt’n Bill’s Backyard Grill, 4240 Market St., on Friday. The restaurant’s fourth annual hunt gets underway at 5 p.m. and features an appearance by the Easter Bunny, as well as refreshments and door prizes. Admission is free.

BYOB (bring your own basket) to the New Hanover County Arboretum, 6206 Oleander Drive, Saturday morning for the Bunny Brunch and Egg Hunt. In addition to those two activities, there will be games, prizes and a visit from the Easter Bunny and some of his smaller long-haired peers. It begins and 10 a.m., and admission is $7 (free for children under 3). Proceeds support the Arboretum’s projects and programs.

Just over the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, Leland Municipal Park’s free egg hunt will group kids – infant up to 10 – by age for searches starting at 10 a.m. The park is located at 102 Town Hall Drive.

Temple Baptist Church’s Easter festival gets underway at 11 a.m. Saturday at its Christian Activity Center, 709 George Anderson Drive, with an egg hunt, craft booths, live music and lots of inflatables and ride-on toys. Hot dogs and pizza will be served up from noon to 1 p.m. There is no charge to attend.

If you’re looking for a change of scenery, Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours offers a chance to dig for eggs in the sand and tucked in the marsh at Masonboro Island. A charter cruise will take passengers from the dock at Blockade Runner Hotel, 275 Waynick Blvd., to the island for some Easter fun. The boat departs from the dock at 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday and once every hour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children, and reservations to (910) 200-4002 are recommended, as seating is limited.

For those sans offspring—or parents who just need a little break from the bunny—TheatreNOW, 19 S. Tenth St., hosts a special Easter version of its jazz brunch series from noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday (doors open at 11:30 a.m.). The three-course menu includes selections like crab and lobster scrambled eggs on an English muffin and Brioche French toast between samplings of fresh fruit and dessert. Local group Nina Repeta Trio will perform. It’s $22 for adults and $12 for children to eat and enjoy live music. Show-only tickets are $10.

And just for the 21 and up crowd, Front Street Brewery, 9 N. Front St., hosts the Easter Jug Hunt, a self-guided bar crawl downtown in search of the alehouse’s beer jugs. It starts at 1 p.m. with a free brew at the brewery while going over the rules and continues until 4 p.m. Admission is $10 and proceeds benefit Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard.

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.