Ahhh, spring is finally here.
It’s time to dust off the bike, drive with all the windows rolled down, and dine al fresco at your favorite strip-center restaurant.
At Frisco’s Stonebriar Centre, spring’s arrival also means it’s time to take photos of your little ones with the Easter Bunny — even your little ones with fur and four legs.
That’s what we did on Monday during Pet Night at Stonebriar Centre’s eggstra-special event that invited pet owners to bring cats and dogs to visit with the bunny and have their photos taken. The photo set is on the lower level near the children’s play area from through 8 p.m. April 4.
Our 9-year-old rescue golden retriever, Barley, was more than happy to oblige and don bunny ears and smile for the camera, much to the chagrin of my two tween daughters.
“Mom, seriously?” one winced.
Despite my daughters’ embarrassment of bringing their dog to the mall to be photographed with the Easter Bunny, I had unabashed enthusiasm to capture the moment. I really didn’t care if the girls thought they would get their cool-kid card revoked by being caught seen by passersby, or heaven forbid, a fellow classmate.
Some things can’t be compromised, and a photo with the Easter Bunny is one of them.
“Come on Mom! Really?” the other complained.
But who can resist the spring’s best photo op with this floppy-eared fellow in his bright, blooming garden all decked out for the holiday?
And because my girls think they’ve aged-out of taking photos with the Easter Bunny, Barley will do just fine.
I learned that Stonebriar Centre has been hosting Pet Nights since it opened in 2000. Evenings with the pets are a standing tradition.
Pet Nights are among a host of spring-related activities at the mall in March and April. In fact, last Saturday the mall hosted a special “Breakfast with the Bunny” and invited kids to the movies afterwards. About 150 children were in attendance and everyone had a great time.
Eileen Neighbors, marketing manager at Stonebriar Centre, said that the mall prides itself on being a family-oriented shopping center.
“And, as we all know, pets are a big part of many families, so inviting them to visit the Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus, just seems right,” she says.
The biggest surprise about Pet Night is how much the pets seems to like being out with their owners.
“They seem to enjoy the interaction. Most of the pet owners are very respectful of other shoppers and keep the animals on a leash or in containers,” Neighbors said.
“Pet Nights are always very smooth and easy. It’s fun to see our furry friends here. However, it should be noted that pets, other than animals servicing the disabled, are not allowed in the shopping center other than during special Pet Nights.”
Attendance varies at Pet Night. Some nights the mall will have 20 pets with their families and others they might see 75, especially when Santa is in town.
After getting a lot of compliments from passing shoppers about our dog’s lovable demeanor, my girls finally warmed up to the idea of Barley’s Easter photo op. They even helped Barley put on a pair of rabbit ears to help him get ready for his close up with the big guy himself.
The attentive photo staff made sure Barely was on point and that he looked in the right direction just as the camera snapped. I must say, my dog is a natural.
In the end, we got great photos and the whole amusing experience created a cherished memory for me and my girls of our special time at the mall.
And that certainly makes this Easter everything I was “hopping” for.
The next Pet Night with the Easter Bunny is set from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday. General hours to visit the Bunny are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. The Easter Bunny’s schedule, including times for occasional weekday breaks, is posted at Stonebriar Centre’s website.