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Egg hunt, model train combine for Easter fun - Quad City Times

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Egg hunt, model train combine for Easter fun - Quad City Times
Apr 9th 2012, 01:47

Children swarming Quad-City Botanical Center's outdoor gardens eagerly scooped up colorful Easter eggs Sunday.

A bright sun shone overhead buoying about 50 treasure hunters' spirits as they discovered candy and small prizes hidden inside the plastic nuggets at the Rock Island center's Easter Egg Hunt.

Effective egg-hunting involves problem-solving skills. "I look for different colors that don't match the grass," said Sofie Heidrich, 7, of Oswego, Ill.

The Heidrich family who also includes brothers Ethan, 13, and Julian, 10, drove almost three hours to attend the Easter egg hunt. "We've made it a point to incorporate it into our Easter festivities the last two years," the children's mother, Tina Heidrich said.

Carina Bote, 7, of Davenport was a first-time participant in the egg hunt. She gave away some of her eggs "because there's littler kids, and I got too much," she said.

However, a staff member made an unexpected discovery that wasn't left behind by the Easter Bunny. "I found a real Easter egg. I wonder what kind of bird it is," said Beth Peters as she cradled the tiny object in her hand.

Peters, who handles the marketing and guest services for the center, carried the white egg back to its original spot in the garden after the mad dash ended.

Peters and her mother set out 1,200 eggs before the event, but she is thinking of increasing that number for next year's event. "We're just really happy about how popular the egg hunt is. We hope everyone gets some eggs," she said.

The egg-citement continued with the Garden Scale Model Train Exhibit set up in the Botanical Center's outdoor garden. The exhibit features a 15-car train pulled by a dual-truck Mallett locomotive with Kermit the Frog lounging inside a hopper and two other trains.

"I'm gonna see the steamie," cried William Bartels, 3, of Moline, as the train puffed past. "There it goes."

William had a big day. He found three eggs during the hunt, but he went home with more thanks to a random act of kindness. "A very nice gentleman came up and gave him three more," his mother, Alison Bartels, said.

The train stopped in front of a miniature depot and water tower where model railroad enthusiast Mark Jerson showed William how to fuel the locomotive with water, similar to full-size counterparts. Steam trains are powered by steam that's produced by water heated to high temperatures with coal or wood, Jerson said.

"G gauge has become very popular in the last 12 years," he said.

Many people set up model trains at home for their own pleasure, and several cities feature train exhibits in public venues. The hobby got its start back in the 1840s with toy brass train engines that ran on the floor, not tracks, and dribbled water as they went, he said. Model trains grew more popular in the 20th century with the introduction of electric trains.

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