Aqua Egg Hunt makes a big splash

by Dan Holland

Easter festivities came in with a splash at the Broadview Heights Recreation Center Natatorium as the city hosted its annual Aqua Egg Hunt for children ages six months to 10 years on April 2.

During the event, children, assisted by their parents, collected floating or sunken plastic easter eggs from the pools. The event featured an appearance by the Easter Bunny along with snacks and crafts in a separate meeting room.

The idea for the unique event was initiated in 2012 by Amanda Hutcheson, current director of parks and recreation, who at the time was the aquatics manager.

“It’s the only event like this around; there’s nothing else like it in the area,” said Hutcheson. “It gives an opportunity to people who don’t normally come to the pool to get some time to do that, and they get to utilize the facility for a short time as they get to swim and enjoy the pool as well.”

Broadview Heights residents Brett and Breanne Balis, who brought sons Jameson and Killian to the event, saw it as an extension of swim classes the boys are enrolled in.

“Since the boys are in swim classes here, we kind of piggybacked off that, and we’re doing the aquatic egg hunt here as well,” said Breanne. “They’re having a blast meeting the Easter Bunny. There’s nothing else quite like this – it’s really fun and exciting.”

Schoolfriends Amelia Grindall and Pilar Siegferth were brought by their moms, Lauren and Jessie, respectively, to enjoy the event together.

“There are a lot of great activities for the girls to do together, and they’re getting to enjoy some fun pool time during the cold weather months,” said Lauren Grindall of Brecksville. “I’m glad that Broadview Heights put this great event on.”

Four age groups were spaced apart on a staggered schedule throughout the afternoon. The recreation center pre-sells 90 children’s tickets for the event with more than 200 participants taking part throughout the day including parents, said Hutcheson. A “golden egg,” designated as such inside, affords one participant from each group a special aquatics-themed prize. All children receive a goodie bag.

Mike and Mallory Danks, of Richfield, brought their sons Archer and Finnegan to the event.

“We’re members of the Broadview rec center, and we really enjoy it here,” said Mallory. “We come here often, and the boys love it here. It’s very chilly outside, so it’s nice that they can have this going on indoors.”

Aquatics Manager Ursula Drinko said the event is a great way to bring the community together.

“We want to have an Easter egg hunt, and this is a great way to have a nice little egg hunt using the pool for the community members and something fun for the kids,” she said.

“Just being able to be in the water; it’s a really different way of having an Easter egg hunt,” said Broadview Heights resident Julie Michael, who attended with husband Andrew and their three daughters; Emma, Nora and Vivian. “They’re really excited about it, along with snacks and the Easter Bunny.”

Jordan and Lauren Lelonis, of Broadview Heights, enjoyed the event with their children Isaiah, Lennox and Zeke.

“We’re members of the rec center,” explained Jordan. “It’s nice to be able to get them out to do something with the weather being as iffy as it is. It’s just wonderful to have something inside to do. It’s also a good opportunity to meet some other people in the area, since we don’t always have a chance to do that.” ∞