Easter Egg Hunt at Dunsmuir House

This year, we attended The Great Egg Hunt at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in Oakland, California. When you block out all the event traffic, long lines, boisterous children, and the mild chaos from lack of proper signage, for a moment, the grand neoclassical mansion looming ahead of you almost makes you feel like a character in an F. Scott Fitzgerald book, walking the gardens as you fantasize about life with Jay Gatsby.


And then your kid interrupts the thought with a dramatic, “Oh nooooooooo.” The bow on her basket has come undone for the umpteenth time. And CLEARLY, she can’t possibly carry a basket without a bow. Smh.

The grounds were beautiful in springtime.


They also had two Easter bunnies – a white bunny with a long line by the entrance and his gray buddy across the mansion.

There were a variety of activities catered to younger children including face painting ($5), a photo op with a pony ($5), arts & crafts, a few performers, and a petting zoo. We didn’t find any food available for sale, but many families  brought picnic baskets or lunchboxes and a blanket to use on the lawn. We weren’t quite that prepared.

The actual Easter egg hunt was kind of a mess. They split up the hunts into different timeframes based on age range:

Ages 0–3: noon
Ages 4–6: 1pm
Ages 7–10: 2pm

This didn’t work out so well for families with more than one child, so we noticed that many parents insisted that their 2 and 3 year olds join their older siblings for the hunt with the 4-6 year old group.

We reached the second line – the one for the egg hunt – at 12:20pm, 40mins before the hunt was scheduled to start. This meant our kids had plenty of time to play!

There was some flower picking..


And though my daughter INSISTED on wearing this D&G-like dress she picked out and that Cartier-like love bracelet for her Easter egg hunt,

it didn’t stop her from climbing over trees..

and finding a way to enjoy the outdoors.

By 1pm, the line had reached all the way past the mansion, filled with hundreds of families.

The kids were told to sit and wait for 30 minutes so the staff could allow as many children in. This photo was taken at 1:05pm, 5mins after they started letting children inside. By 1:30pm, there were many crying children who couldn’t see their parents because there were many people sandwiched between them and the fence. And they kept being asked to sit down, so they couldn’t exactly play while they waited.

When the kids were finally allowed to start the egg hunt, many parents ran inside the hunt area to join their children.

I was disappointed to discover that there were hardly any eggs. They had basically just thrown a bunch of no-brand chocolates on the lawn.


By the end of the hunt, Zee had only found TWO eggs. The rest were chocolates, many of which were opened and or had been smushed under someone’s shoes. Fortunately, she didn’t want any of her chocolates and was willing to trade them in for a cup of ice cream after lunch.

In the end, what mattered most to my daughter was how much she enjoyed being outside with her best friend and the fun of the hunt.

If what you’re looking for is a place nearby and a chance to spend some time outdoors with family, Dunsmuir House is a pretty good pick. We both had fun that day, but next year we may research other venues for our Easter Egg Hunt.


Photos taken by Asha with an iPhone 6 Plus.



Ages 10 & under: $3.00
Ages 11 & older: $5.00

Face Painting: 11am–2pm
Arts & Crafts: 11am–2pm
Children’s Cafe: 11am–2pm
Petting Zoo: 11am–2pm

Ages 0–3: noon
Ages 4–6: 1pm
Ages 7–10: 2pm

Parking was $10 at a nearby parking lot, unless you plan to arrive before 10am to look for street parking.

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