Celebrating Dad

Dad can sometimes get short shrift when it comes to Father’s Day – does he really need another tie? – so, this year why not give him what he probably wants most, the gift of your time.

Sure, we can come up with the usual standbys when it comes to Dad activities on June 18, but we’ve thrown in some that are sure to please just about every personality, as well as his inner child.

Mini me

Golf seems to make every list of things for Dad to do on his special day, but it’s not an activity that the whole family can easily join in. Why not opt for mini golf instead? It’s great fun for big and small. Mini Golf Gardens on Colonnade, for example, is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

Pint-sized racing

Fun for kids and adults alike is go-kart racing at Karter’s Korner in Stittsville. You’ll find mini-golf here, too, as well as paintball and indoor games, but who doesn’t love racing around a track?

Reality check

If the kids are a bit older, latch on to the latest craze in entertainment – escape rooms. Locked into a room where you become part of a created scenario and have to use your smarts to get free, it’s like being immersed in a video game. Room Escape Ottawa near Bank and Walkley offers one-hour sessions for groups of 2-8 players.

The ultimate man cave

The Diefenbunker, Canada’s cold war museum, thinks of itself as the ultimate man cave, which is probably a fair description. Four storeys underground and a monument to being prepared for war, with all the latest gadgets and technology of its time, all it’s missing is the giant flat-screen TV and popcorn. On Father’s Day, along with its regular tours, plus fire trucks, a solar telescope and a food truck on site, there is also an exclusive tour of the machine room, which is not usually open to the public. Space for the machine room tour is limited, though, so call ahead to reserve: 613-839-0007.

Vintage cars

OK, so this one is a bit cliché, but it’s also probably one Dad will really enjoy. Head to the Billings Estate Museum from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to see this year’s annual vintage car show. Meet car owners proud to display and chat about their antique vehicles, and see the Billings family Cadillac. Take a tour of the site, play games on the lawn, and listen to live music while you enjoy a BBQ lunch. Check the site for pricing and other details.

Pack a picnic

Looking for something low-key? How about a picnic lunch in your favourite park, if the weather cooperates. It’s a laid-back, comfortable way to spend some quality time with Dad.

Go for a hike

If you’re up for a bit more than a picnic, why not try a hike in Gatineau Park? There are plenty of easier trails, including the wooded paths at Mackenzie King Estate.

Zipping along

If you’re more adventurous, ramp it up a notch by zip-lining through the park at Camp Fortune. Climb ladders, amble across zigzag bridges, crawl through barrels, and fly through the air on zip lines in this aerial park adventure.

Shoot ’em up

Not up for nature? There’s always laser tag at Laser Quest. It’s definitely not for someone looking for peace and quiet, but if you love running around playing cops and robbers, it’s a blast (pun intended).

Tool time

Just for Father’s Day, the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum presents Popular Mechanics, where you can discover the inventors and inventions that changed the lives of people in the 1920s and 1930s. Learn how a long distance call was made and how electricity changed the workman’s tools. And test your trivia by matching the inventor to the invention in the Canadian Inventors game.

Whatever you decide to do for Dad on his special day, just remember, what is most important to him is not what gift you get him or where you take him to celebrate, it’s you!