Durham County

Museum’s sixth ‘dino’ egg search puts different twist on Easter

Meggie Karkus, dressed as a dinosaur, is pictured at Saturday’s Dino Egg Hunt at the Museum of Life and Science.
Meggie Karkus, dressed as a dinosaur, is pictured at Saturday’s Dino Egg Hunt at the Museum of Life and Science. The Herald-Sun

Jasmine Murley looked left, looked right and then, confident none of the toddlers scrambling around nearby were paying her the slightest bit of attention, soft-tossed another plastic egg a few feet away into the pine straw off the Museum of Life and Science’s dinosaur trail.

Murley and her friend Allison Russell, both 11, were but two of the volunteers whose job it was Saturday to keep the area well-stocked for participants in the museum’s sixth annual “Dino Egg Hunt.”

Each child registered for the hunt was able to take home five eggs, each of which contained a small, sculpted dinosaur.

The search itself wasn’t inherently demanding, as eggs were plentiful and, save for those few more carefully planted by the likes of Murley and Russell, often resting in plain sight. But 4-year-old attention spans being what they are, even many of the least-camouflaged of the orbs went unclaimed for a while.

“Some eggs are a little easier to find, some a little harder, so we can challenge all levels,” said Ro Rode, the museum’s manager for fundraising events. “But this is a little different from a traditional egg hunt that’s a free-for-all run.”

The event was both sold out — participating families paid $7 per hunter — and on its way to raising between $10,000 and $12,000 for the Murray Avenue museum, Rode said.

It’s become one of the museum’s mainstay community events, joining its October weekends “Pumpkin Patch Express” and December’s 15-night “Santa Train,” which will celebrate its 40th running this year.

Though museum staffers like Rode organize the events, it takes plenty of volunteer help to bring them off.

On Saturday, organizers leaned heavily on groups affiliated with such groups that as National Charity League and the Junior League of Raleigh and Durham.

The National Charity League is the group for mothers and daughters that brought Murley, Russell and volunteers like Gabriele Bauman to the museum to lend a hand.

Bauman, who drove over from Cary with her daughter, said the organization’s local chapter has worked with the Museum of Life and Science for a while, ptiching in not just with the egg hunt but also the Pumpkin Patch and Santa Train events.

“This is my fourth year [as a member of the service group] and we’ve definitely been doing it the whole time,” she said.

Ray Gronberg: 919-419-6648, @rcgronberg