Azaleas, lilacs and wisteria are in full bloom at JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh right now. And if you needed even more reasons to visit this gorgeous garden, which is part of N.C. State, there are a handful of wooden egg cutouts dotted across the 10.5 acres, waiting for families to find them.
The third annual spring egg hunt started last Monday and continues until this coming Monday, April 21. The program is free. No pre-registration is required. You can just drop in.
"There's always something in bloom," said Elizabeth Overcash, the arboretum's youth programs coordinator. "Our bees are the hardest working bees in Raleigh."
Visitors should pick up an answer sheet at the arboretum's visitor center and then scatter across the site in search of the seven eggs. Each egg has a letter on it. Once you find all of the eggs, you can unscramble the letters to come up with the secret word. Once you figure it out, return to the visitor center to pick up a small prize.
This is a "no baskets required" egg hunt that teaches kids a bit about what they are seeing in the garden and encourages lots of outdoor running around. A few of the eggs include some information about the plants nearby.
They aren't tricky to find. You won't have to climb any trees. But they aren't all right in front of you either. You'll need to explore a good bit of the garden to find them all.
The hunt is geared for a broad range of ages. Young kids will enjoy running around and spotting the letters on the eggs. Older kids will get a kick out of putting the letters all together to figure out the secret word.
Overcash said it takes families as little as about 30 minutes to complete the hunt, but you could easily make a morning or afternoon of it, bringing snacks or picnic lunches.
The arboretum has been beefing up its offerings for kids and families over the past several years. Overcash tells me she'll be starting up spring storytimes in May for preschoolers. And, for the first time, the arboretum will offer summer camps for preschoolers to rising ninth graders.
Check out the arboretum's children's program page for more information about all of the offerings.
The spring egg hunt is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday and Monday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday.