Fathers Day seems to bring out the tables full of gimmicks and tchotchkes at most stores: twee desk toys, novelty neckties, decorative golf balls. These are, I suppose, the equivalent of the fancy soaps that make their appearance at Mothers Day. And most Dads would be happy to receive these gifts because they appreciate the love behind them, and then slip that miniature putting green into the drawer with the other trinkets.
A better gift, though, is much easier to come by: adventure!
There’s been a boom lately in “happiness studies,” applying psychology, sociology, and economics to the puzzle of what really makes people happy. And one of the consistent findings–no surprise, really–is that experiences, not things give us the most happiness. And experiences, it turns out, can be surprisingly affordable gifts!
Here are a few experiences that you might want to try out with the Dad of your choice today:
- The Big Back Yard at the Science Museum in downtown St. Paul: I know I mention this one every time I’m asked, but it’s still one of my favorite summertime adventures. Mini golf, sand table, camera obscura: fun and learning in one great spot!
- Steamboat Minnetonka: my favorite Fathers Day outing was a trip on the Steamboat Minnetonka in Excelsior, followed by ice cream and a trip to the Bookcase in Wayzata.
- A Mississippi River bike ride from Minnehaha Falls to downtown: there are at least nine great stops along the West River Road from the falls to the Mill Ruins Park. Don’t feel you have to do the whole route, either: just take a section to explore!
- Elm Creek Park: I haven’t actually visited this Maple Grove Three Rivers District Park myself, but it comes highly recommended by my two-and-a-half year oldyoung nephew, who is also a huge Foo Fighters fan and therefore has impeccable taste. There are ropes and towers to climb, trails to explore, and a sandy swimming pond. I can attest to French Regional Park, though, if you don’t want to take my nephew’s advice, which is also equipped with a great play area.
If you’re looking for more great adventure ideas, I’ve got a book I can recommend that’s packed with adventure ideas around the Twin Cities.
Did you find a new adventure you’d like to share this Fathers Day? Leave a comment! We’re always looking for new fun!