Inside a large balloon-like dome, dozens of children between the ages of five and seven line the periphery of a shallow pool, swim goggles fixed tightly to their cherubic faces, their tiny feet inching closer to the concrete edge as they grip cinch-top mesh bags. Tiny plastic eggs litter the pool.
“GO!” shouts the man in charge of the event, who wears a red T-Shirt bearing the logo of Santa Clara Swim Club with “manager” printed on the back.
The kids leap into the water and begin scurrying toward the eggs like tadpoles, batting large inflatable carrots out of their way or playfully send them careening into other children. Within minutes, the eggs are all secured in the kids’ mesh sacks.
The display is part of Santa Clara’s Easter Pool-Ooza, which is basically an Easter egg hunt in the water held Saturday at the Santa Clara Swim Club, 2625 Patricia Drive.
Jon Kawaba, acting recreational supervisor with the parks and recreation department, which organizes the event, said this year is the second year the city has tried out the aquatic egg hunt. The $20-per-child ($25 for non-residents) event requires parents to register their children in one of four age groups ranging from ages 3 to 14.
The children collect up to 15 eggs and receive a goody bag and can receive up to three raffle tickets — one for every five eggs they collect. The raffle prize was two weeks of swim lessons in the summer.
Because of the positive response to the event last year, Kawaba said the city opted to do it again this year.
John and Jacqueline Quinn, of San Jose, brought their children Aidan, 6, and Owen, 4, because they love the water.
“We want them to have a love of the water,” Jacqueline said. “Plus, how could you not want them to get floating eggs in a pool?”
After the children collected the eggs, the registration fee bought families swim time until 3 p.m.
The Easter Pool-Ooza gives families another holiday activity in addition to, or instead of, the city-wide egg hunt held in Central Park, Kawaba said.
This year, the event featured submerged eggs for the older age groups to provide more of a challenge, Kawaba said.
Brandon and Karen Chun, of Santa Clara, brought their children Quincy, 7, and Makenna, 4, to the event for the second year. Brandon said Makenna was asking him all year about Easter Pool-Ooza.
“It was awesome,” Quincy said. “I like the addition of diving down for eggs.”
Brandon said the family will definitely return next year