published Friday, April 6th, 2012

Easter tradition: Holy holiday served up in secular and sacred ways

Hug-a-Bunny Day: Saturday at Chattanooga Zoo, 301 N. Holtzclaw Ave. The day will include real bunnies to pet, photos with the Easter Bunny and eggs to collect at various educational and craft stations. The zoo is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with activities scheduled 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Regular admission applies: $8.95 adults, $6.95 seniors 65-74, $5.95 kids 3-12. 697-1322.

Lookouts egg hunt: Follows the 2:15 p.m. game Sunday.

Mall bunnies: The Easter Bunny will pose for photos through Saturday at Hamilton Place and Northgate Mall in Chattanooga, Bradley Square Mall in Cleveland, Tenn., and Walnut Square Mall in Dalton, Ga.

How would you like your Easter?

If you want it served with eggs, there are numerous opportunities.

Stuart Heights Baptist Church will serve it in heaping portions at 9 a.m. Sunday at Coolidge Park. There, children can search for more than 100,000 eggs at the congregation's annual Easter at Coolidge celebration. A worship service follows at 10 a.m., and families can bring a blanket, chairs and a picnic lunch to enjoy with others in attendance after the service.

Similarly, Hamilton Life Church will hold its annual Easter in the Park worship service at 10 a.m. Sunday at Camp Jordan. An egg hunt with 14,000 eggs will follow. Families should bring lawn chairs or blankets.

If you prefer your Easter served over water, the Southern Belle riverboat is offering three options this weekend.

Saturday, the Easter Bunny Cruise for children includes a pancake breakfast, coloring sheets and a magic show. The 90-minute trip leaves the dock at 9:30 a.m. The cost is $14 adults, $9 children 3-12.

Sunday, choose between Easter Lunch on the River, a two-hour cruise that includes a buffet lunch starting at 1 p.m., an appearance by the Easter Bunny and musical entertainment, or Easter on Pier 2 at the Landing, a dockside buffet at 2 p.m., musical entertainment from 2 to 4 p.m. and a cruise aboard the riverboat from 4 to 5 p.m.

Tickets for Easter Lunch on the River are $27.50 adults and $15.50 for children 3-12, while Easter on Pier 2 at the Landing is $26.50 adults, $15.50 children 3-12. For reservations, call 800-766-2784 or visit

If you want your Easter with an explanation, try the play "The Third Day" at Christian Worship Center, 120 Old Sweetwater Road, in Whitwell, Tenn., at 7 p.m. CDT Saturday.

Other options include walking the stations of the cross -- remembering the last 24 hours of Christ's life -- at many Roman Catholic or Episcopal churches, as well as a few others, today or Saturday. One of those is St. Michael's Charismatic Episcopal Church, 2330 Hickory Valley Road, today at noon.

Easter vigil services are offered at many Catholic or Episcopal churches on Saturday night. Among those hosting such a service, at 7 p.m., is St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, 630 Mississippi Ave., on Signal Mountain.

On Sunday morning, ushering in Easter, numerous churches and several other venues will hold sunrise services. Among those are at 7:30 at Hamilton Memorial Gardens in Hixson, at Chattanooga Memorial Gardens in White Oak and at Chattanooga National Cemetery, led by The Salvation Army, at 7:18.

The 35th annual National Cemetery service will feature music by the Jericho Brass band and local bagpiper Joe Simpson. The guest speaker is Salvation Army Area Commander Maj. Algerome Newsome.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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