The murals inside the Holy City Chapel — Photo courtesy of JamesfleetingMaybe one of the best kept secrets, Easter's longest running Passion Play is not held in a huge and well known city, but rather in the Wichita Mountains of southwestern Oklahoma. Started in 1926 and reaching an all-time high of attendance in 1936 of 225,000 visitors, this unique 66-acre replica of Israel during Biblical times (including several buildings, walls and a gateway to Jerusalem) is a fascinating must-see. In this year a chapel (with commissioned murals) was built to resemble George Washington's place of worship in Virginia, and during the live radio broadcast, a telegram from Franklin D. Roosevelt was read. Volunteers, inlcuding children of all ages, fill the cast of over 1,000 (Roman soldiers included). Nearby hotels in Lawton offer discounts to those attending.
The beautiful Bellingrath Gardens — Photo courtesy of MadMarlin20 miles southwest of Mobile, Alabama, on a gorgeous 65 acre estate is the famous Bellingrath Gardens. The Bellingraths first opened their Gardens to the public in 1932, and they've been open year round ever since. Providing spectacular flora and fauna for all seasons, including Magic Christmas in Lights during the holiday season, there is always something happening. A special Easter Sunrise Service is offered, including an Easter Egg Hunt for the kids. Top off the day with breakfast at the Magnolia Cafe and a tour of the Bellingrath Home and Museum.
Easter bonnet — Photo courtesy of Katy GartsideSan Francisco's 21st annual Spring Celebration and Easter Parade is a sight to behold. Lasting from 10AM to 5PM, with the Parade starting at 2PM, this is not your average street fair. With many childrens activities and even an Easter bonnet contest, there are street vendors, musicians, wacky floats and even a garden area and classic cars - definitely something for everyone. Go to Union Street and enjoy the blocks and blocks of Easter fun.
Beautiful view from the Sanibel causeway — Photo courtesy of Alan PhillpotOn a small piece of land, one of several along the causeway linking the mainland of Florida to Sanibel Island, is a special Easter sunrise service at 6:30 AM, right on the water. Teens will present special songs and a drama, including moving resurrection choreography and a contemporary praise team leads all in Easter songs. Pastor Donovan, upon completing his sermon offers immersion baptism right there in the waters of the Gulf.
St. Peter's Square — Photo courtesy of malfet_The ultimate site for most to celebrate Easter is St. Peter's Square at the Vatican in Rome, Italy. Tens of thousands of visitors (non-Catholics alike) make their pilgrimage to this most famous site to hear the Pope deliver several masses between Palm Sunday and Easter. The experience is said to be unforgettable. Most events are free and you will want to tour the Vatican museum on other days besides Easter and the following Monday.
Seaquarium friends — Photo courtesy of Miami SeaquariumThe kids will love celebrating Easter at Miami, Florida's Seaquarium Easter weekend. The event, called Bunny Palooza, promises to be the "Ultimate Easter Egg Hunt" celebration, with bounce houses, a parade and continuous egg hunts throughout the weekend. The Seaquarium is offering half off children's admission with the purchase of each adult ticket. In between seeing the whales and dolphins, don't miss the Easter bunny each day at 1 PM.
The Seattle skyline from the water — Photo courtesy of bradleyolinArgusy Cruises, of Seattle, Washington, offers an Easter celebration out on the water for you and your family. Two options are available. Enjoy the Seattle skyline while feasting on Easter brunch and listening to music. The kids will be happy in their own special arts and crafts area and there is even an on-board egg hunt. Sailing too is the Easter Bunny, available for photos. Another option is a cruise to Blake Island, including a yummy salmon buffet and egg hunt once there. Be entertained by the Tillicum Village show and enjoy the afternoon.
However you choose to spend your Easter, there are many different fun and inspirational ways to enjoy the special weekend with you and yours. Embrace being together and keep up the celebrating of Easter traditions, new and old.