Tim Keller — For the Comet
RATON — Imagine 1,500 bright and colorful plastic Easter eggs floating the length and breadth of a huge swimming pool. Some are weighted to float under water; some sit on the bottom. Most are bobbing along the rippling top surface. Now imagine dozens of children joining the colorful array in the water.
That will be the sight Saturday morning (April 4) when Raton Parks & Recreation sponsors its third annual Aqua Easter Egg Hunt at the Raton Regional Aquatic Center. Actually, there will be 3000 plastic eggs in the water Saturday morning, but only half will be used at a time so that different age groups can each get a separate shot at racing for the eggs.
Small children through first grade will enter the water first, at 10 a.m., when each child will scurry to collect as many eggs as he or she can. These smallest kids will stick to the shallow wading pool, but older kids can chase the eggs across the deep water, too.
As soon as the pool staff can set up the next wave—about 10:30 a.m.—kids in grades 2-4 will take to the pool, followed by grades 5-7 at about 10:45. Kids in grades 7 and up will go last, around 11:00 a.m.
Each child will take the collected eggs to trade for prize bags that will contain a variety of toys, pencils, erasers, toy airplanes, friendship bracelets, balls and other goodies—but no candy or food.
The Aquatic Center will open Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Admission will be $5 per child regardless of age, but their accompanying adults will be admitted free. Perhaps best of all, admission is good for the entire day, with the pool open for swimming after the Aqua Easter Egg Hunt until 6 p.m. No memberships or punch passes will be honored Saturday morning.
Raton Elks Club annually donates $500 to the event for the purchase of plastic eggs and prizes. The pool staff of six, including two lifeguards on duty, will be augmented by students from Raton High School’s National Honor Society chapter, who will help with the distribution of prize bags.
The Easter bunny—looking suspiciously like a man in a bunny suit—will be available to pose with children for portraits. Photographer Marty Mayfield will be on hand to take the pictures and make prints on the spot. A pair of 4”x6” prints will cost $5.
The Aqua Easter Egg Hunt ushers in Raton’s spring break at the Aquatic Center. The pool will have open swimming Monday through Friday, April 6-10, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Raton Regional Aquatic Center is located in Round House Memorial Park, just east of the railroad yard downtown at 100 Memorial Lane, (575) 445-4271, ratonrecreation.com.