THE Easter holidays traditionally offer the perfect time to go outdoors and explore the packed calendar of events on offer across Northern Ireland.
This year, with everything from an Easter Eggspress steam train from Belfast to Whitehead, egg trails in a range of locations and an Easter Sea Safari Boat Trip round Strangford Lough, there is no better time of year to have fun with the family.
Looking ahead, Ruth Burns from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board said there are notable events taking place all over the Province.
“With the brighter weather and the children off school, Easter is the perfect time of year to plan a family day out and there is something for everyone to enjoy this year,” she said.
“There are lots of events and many visitor attractions that families can spend the day exploring so we are hoping that everybody takes advantage of what’s on offer.”
Belfast’s Titanic Quarter will be hosting family fun and international markets with three days of street performance providing hilarious entertainment over the Easter weekend.
Celebrate Easter with the animals at Belfast Zoo over the holiday period and watch them enjoy some special Easter treats during feeding time.
Hop aboard the Easter Eggspress for a steam train adventure from Belfast Central Station to Whitehead with chocolate eggs for all the children on Easter Monday and Tuesday.
Theatre at the Mill is inviting kids to its High School Musical theatre school, which starts on Easter Monday.
A highly-skilled professional team will teach the children how to master dance routines, perfect harmonies and learn scripts which they will then perform live on stage for an audience.
The Ballymena Egg Run on Easter Tuesday is a charity motorcycle event in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care with all eggs collected being donated to children with special needs.
Easter Eggstravaganza at the Island Arts Centre in Lisburn will be full of fun things for the family including arty antics and movie madness galore from April 11-13.
The Lough Neagh Discovery Centre will be running its popular Easter fun craft sessions on Easter Saturday.
Everyone can make some great Easter goodies to take home as presents and also take part in an Easter trail to find some chocolate treats.
From today until Tuesday, St Patrick’s Trian will also be hosting Eggs-press Yourself with lots of fun for everyone including Easter crafts, an egg hunt, a theatre show and the chance to pet real bunnies.
Enjoy the Gruffalo’s Easter Trail at the Navan Centre and create your very own Gruffalo-themed mask and a Gruffalo Trail where you can meet lots of characters including the mouse, the fox and the snake from tomorrow until Tuesday.
Children aged six to 12 can enjoy the Easter school holidays at Palace Stables’ Easter Craft Club with crafts, egg-rolling and games on April 12 and 13.
Enjoy some Easter fun and follow the clues over the sand dunes and the beach to discover some chocolate treasure at Murlough National Nature Reserve on Easter Sunday.
The Down County Museum is hosting an Easter Monday Fun Day with the best entertainment for all the family including magic shows, craft workshops and much more.
Also on Monday, Bangor will play host to a family fun day out with a falconry display, a modified cars display and the annual parade full of colourful displays, dancers and street entertainers.
At Castle Ward, an Easter Fair gets under way tomorrow including children’s activities, horse and carriage rides, local crafts and food stalls and an Easter egg trail.
From Easter Sunday until Tuesday, the public can explore the waters of Strangford Lough and the Irish Sea aboard the Easter Sea Safari Boat Trip.
Meanwhile, the whole family can take part in Mount Stewart’s Easter Trail around its gardens, which runs from today until next Friday.
A Giant Easter Bunny Hunt – run by the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust – will take place at Castle Espie, while an Easter Tuesday Chick Trail will be held at Rowallane Garden.
Visitors to the Corralea Activity Centre are sure of an action-packed weekend. They can test their mountain biking skills on Easter Saturday, enjoy canoeing on Lough MacNean on Easter Sunday or climb the purpose-built wall on Easter Monday.
Join the Mad Hatter, White Rabbit and friends for a tea party from tomorrow until Easter Monday at Castle Coole including a chocolate treats hunt.
A special Easter Trail to find the chocolate eggs takes place at Florencecourt today, while the Orchard Acre Farm in Irvinestown will be hosting an Easter Chocolate Factory Festival for four days from tomorrow.
Meanwhile, on Upper Lough Erne water users can avail of the opportunity to see Crom from a different perspective by taking part in the Easter Cot Cruise on Monday.
Pay a visit to the Easter bunny and receive a gift at the Barrontop Fun Farm in Strabane from today until Easter Tuesday.
There will be two days of egg-cellent fun at The Argory with lots of activities for the whole family including an egg trail, face painting and lots of children’s entertainment on Easter Monday and Tuesday.
Also on Monday, the Big Family Picnic gets under way at An Creagán in Omagh with lots of entertainment on offer including outdoor play activities, a mobile farm, music and food stalls.
There will be fun for all the family at Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House as you follow the trail around the historic site to find clues to crack the code and unlock the chocolate Easter surprises on Sunday.
Springhill House will also be hosting an Easter trail around its gardens on Easter Sunday and Monday.