Following a long COVID-19 shutdown, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park is kicking off spring with a bang just in time for Easter.

Park Manager Bill Thielen said staff is excited to be opening back up and they have some fun, socially-distanced Easter-themed activities planned.

“Because we are not allowed — due to COVID — to have traditional Easter Egg Hunts, what we have decided to do is set up different areas around the park and do family Easter Egg Hunts,” he said.

On April 3 and 4, the park will hold an “X Marks the Spot Egg Hunt” where families will be given a specific area to hunt for eggs, he said. Then on April 4, there will be the “Golden Egg Photo Scavenger Hunt” with families competing for the big prize.

Haley Joseph, park naturalist and recreation supervisor, said they have about 2,000 eggs for the egg hunt with more coming.

“I have talked to our ‘Friends of the Pennyrile’ group and asked them if they could go to some local places to ask for more eggs,” she said.

For the egg hunt, families will be able to come to the park anytime over Easter weekend to participate, she said. Each family will get a different map with an X on it and GPS coordinates that take them to their exact hunting location.

“That way we can do it with social distancing and still let these kids have fun and enjoy the holiday,” said Joseph.

She said the egg hunt will last as long as there are eggs available and locations for families to use, though it is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

As for the scavenger hunt, Thielen said people will need to use their cameras to photograph the items on the list.

Joseph said some ideas on the list could include taking a picture of a flower or a leaf bigger than your hand. Some of the items will be holiday-specific because the park will have Easter decorations up during the scavenger hunt, so one item may be to take a picture of a bunny, she said.

Thielen said each family or participant will pick up a piece of paper with a list of items that can be found around the park lodge. The one who comes back first will be the winner of the grand prize.

The grand prize is a family fun weekend with a two-day stay for a family, boat rentals and a mini-golf pass, he said. There will be other smaller prizes handed out for the scavenger hunt, and Joseph said she will be giving candy to everyone who participates.

On April 3-4, there will be a lollipop garden in front of the lodge for visitors to choose a lollipop for the kids or themselves, said Thielen.

“We have some pretty big lollipops,” he said.

The park will have Easter dinner on April 4, with limited seating to maintain social distancing and reservations have to be made in advance, said Thielen. The front desk and dining room will have ledgers to keep track of the reservations.

Reservations will only be for 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., he said. The meals are priced around $16.95 per plate, which is down a couple dollars from years past..

“We do have a pretty good menu this year,” he said.

The park is asking all visitors to follow CDC guidelines and maintain social distancing and mask-wearing, said Thielen. For the restaurant, all masks must be worn until seated at the table. There is a maximum of 10 people per table.

“Parks have done things very safely over the last few months and they are going to continue to do so to make sure our guests and visitors remain healthy and safe during visits at the park,” he said.

To make reservations for the Easter dinner, call 270-797-3421.

Along with the first event since COVID-19, Thielen said the restaurant and boat dock will open seven days a week starting April 1.

“It is the season, people are getting out, it is warm and they are coming out to enjoy the park,” he said.

The park recently received a donation from Planter’s Bank during their “Seasons of Giving” in the amount of $6,270. Thielen said the donation was very encouraging and welcoming.

Some ideas to use the money include building a permanent concession stand at the beach and purchasing some new items for the activities department, he said.

“It is going to be very beneficial to the park,” Thielen said.

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