Three to 5-year-olds waited impatiently for their chance to dive into the slush and mud in search of the perfect golden egg on Saturday during the annual Roosevelt Park Zoo Easter Egg Hunt.
Young Chloe Carrizosa, from California, edged across the line separating the crowd of waiting parents and children, hoping to grab one of the tempting, brightly colored crushed plastic eggs left on the ground after a previous group of Easter egg hunters. Her mother, Stephanie, called her back.
"It's not time yet, mama," Stephanie Carrizosa said. "You have to wait your turn."
Children scramble to collect plastic Easter eggs amid the snow, mud and slush on Saturday during the Easter egg hunt at the Roosevelt Park Zoo.
"How many more minutes?" asked one of the excited children in the crowd. Parents in the crowd commented how hard it was for preschoolers to wait for so long and wished the egg hunt could start earlier than the scheduled time.
The announcer, holding a basket filled with the Easter eggs, told the eager youngsters to step back. Another announcer started counting down the minutes - five minutes, then four minutes, then three minutes, then two and then the announcer scattered the plastic eggs on the muddy ground. It was time to GO!
The children raced forward, baskets at the ready, and scrambled to pick up the eggs, some with the help of their parents.
Chloe, who was wearing a set of bunny ears, managed to collect several eggs. The children were each limited to six of the plastic eggs. A beaming Hayden Cain, 3, had collected six plastic eggs in her basket, said her grandparents, Lyle and Judy Hudson.
Four-year-old twins Ashton and Brooklynn Roedocker and their friends, 4-year-old twins Kylee and Aliyah Guilbert, had all gathered the allotted eggs, although they were a little disappointed not to get the golden egg. Their mothers, Tara Roedocker and Shana Guilbert, said the children had a lot of fun at the Easter egg hunt.
All the kids who collected eggs won prizes, but the kids who got the golden eggs were able to turn them in for baskets filled with bigger prizes of candy and toys, said event coordinator Staci Skeldum, who said there were at least 1,200 participants halfway into the event.
"I couldn't have asked for a nicer day," she said, although she regretted that there is still snow on the ground. Saturday afternoon boasted such mild temperatures that some of the children were not wearing coats.
Skeldum said this is the first year the Easter egg hunt has been back at the zoo after the 2011 flood. Last year it was held in the Maysa Arena. The Easter Egg hunt is an annual fundraiser for the zoo. Kids from infancy to age 12 were eligible to participate in the egg hunts.