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Myriad Botanical Gardens prepares for its fourth Doggy Easter Egg Hunt

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This is the fourth year Myriad Botanical Gardens has hosted an Easter egg hunt for dogs. (Photo Myriad Botanical Gardens / provided)
  • Photo Myriad Botanical Gardens / provided
  • This is the fourth year Myriad Botanical Gardens has hosted an Easter egg hunt for dogs.

Many watch as they dart across Myriad Botanical Gardens’ spring green lawn at the Doggy Easter Egg Hunt’s official start. Caught up in a sense of palpable competition, they occasionally growl at rivals who manage to reach an egg before them.

But that’s enough about the owners. It’s the dogs at the other end of the leashes that make the unique seasonal hunt such a spectacle.

“I’ve found they’re really laid back compared to the parents that are with them,” said Ashley Elkins, Myriad Gardens’ director of public relations.

The fourth annual Doggy Easter Egg Hunt begins 12:30 p.m. March 31 on Myriad Botanical Garden’s Great Lawn, 301 W. Reno Ave. Dog registration is $5-$10 and can be done in advance at myriadgardens.com.

Around 2,000 plastic eggs will be stuffed with dog treats and other prizes donated by A1 Pet Emporium and Barking Dog Bakery Boutique. Participating dogs use their high-powered noses to sniff out the eggs hidden across the Great Lawn area. Only after their sniffers have touched the egg may the owners add them to the dogs’ haul. Thumb-having handlers must also act as the dog’s official basket or bag caddy.

This is the first year the competition will be split into small and large dog categories. The small dog hunt begins at 12:30 p.m. while the bigger hounds’ search kicks off at 1 p.m. Each hunt is expected to last between five and 15 minutes. Dogs are encouraged to arrive early and avoid missing any of the competition.

Elkins said the hunt got its start several years ago when Myriad Botanical Gardens partnered with Midtown Vets to work on incorporating more animals into its programming schedule.

“We just realized that people love their dogs,” she said. “We tried this out and it was a huge success, so we’ve continued it ever since.”

In past years, entry was limited to 150 dogs, meaning they had to turn away a few pouty pooches.

“It’s really sad,” Elkins said. “People send in photos of their dogs in Easter dresses that they brought in and it was sold out. They’re like, ‘Please let Muffin in.’”

This year, Muffin, Fido and other dogs that turn out have a much better chance of getting in the hunt. The total field has been doubled, with 150-dog caps in both the large and small dog categories.

Many people who show up for the Doggy Easter Egg Hunt have no intention of entering a dog. Elkins said many families are mere spectators.

“A lot of people have come in the past just to watch,” she said, “because it’s kind of a funny spectacle to see in person.”

Full day

The Doggy Easter Egg Hunt is just one portion of what will be an action-packed day of spring activity at Myriad Botanical Gardens.

Immediately following the dog hunt’s end at 1 p.m., a family egg-dyeing workshop for children ages 6-10 will take place in the  terrace room in the Crystal Bridge’s lower level. Admission is $12-$15, and advance registration must be completed online by Tuesday.

Though now at full capacity for entrants, the annual children’s Easter egg hunt is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.

New this year is the Easter Eggstravaganza — essentially a spring carnival that functions as both a fun after-party for families participating in the egg hunt and a good alternative for children who would like to collect their own eggs but don’t want to competitively hunt against others.

The Eggstravaganza runs 3-5:30 p.m. around the Great Lawn and Band Shell areas. Children with a $10 wristband can go around to different booths, playing games and making crafts as they gather a guaranteed 20 eggs.

Children are encouraged to come wearing fun and creative Easter hats and bonnets that incorporate garden, Oklahoma and Easter themes. Those with festive headgear will parade around the lawn 4:05-4:15 p.m. A panel of judges will vote on winners in categories like most creative, most colorful, largest (while still be able to be worn on one’s head), most Oklahoma and crowd favorite.

There will also be egg rolling and bunny hop sack races in which children can participate. Family-friendly “kindie rock” duo Sugar Free Allstars will wind down the festivities with a 4:30 p.m. show. Face painting, music, food trucks and tulips for sale will be available to guests throughout the event.

“It’ll be a big day with lots of people, food, family and fun,” Elkins said.

Visit myriadgardens.com.

Print headline: Myriad Botanical Gardens invites furry friends to take part in its annual Easter festivities.

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