Thank Dad with the Gift of an Experience

Every year, it goes the same way. (If not exactly the same, then very similar.)

Me: “What do you want for Father’s Day?”

Him: “I have everything I need.”

Me: “But isn’t there anything you want?” 

Him: “To win the lottery. World peace. My hair to grow back.”

Me: “Ha ha. Isn’t there anything you want that I can buy for you? I know you know I love you, I know you know I think the world of you, but I want to buy you something.”

Him: “Surprise me.”

Surprise me. Oh, man. The pressure of those two words. Over the years, I have “surprised” my dad with cologne, clothes, or whatever gadget my brothers think my dad will like (usually something for hunting or fishing). Nice and thoughtful, yes. Unique and memorable? Not really.

The older I get, the more I want to give my dad the gift of an experience. A memory. A story. (He loves telling stories.) Here are some ideas that might inspire you to do the same for your dad or the father of your kids.

Buy him tickets to a concert. Tim McGraw, Garrison Keillor, and Journey are performing at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand this summer. Jonny Lang, Big Head Todd, the BoDeans, Marc Cohn, and Pat Benatar are all performing at the outdoor venue at the Minnesota Zoo. Foreigner, Styx, and Don Felder are performing at Target Center July 17, Earth Wind and Fire is in concert August 14 at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, and Fleetwood Mac is performing Sept. 30 at Target Center.

• Take him to a Twins game. Target Field is a magical place in the balmy summer months. (And will be host to the 2014 All-Star Game July 15.)

• Take him to the Fish Fair at the Anoka County Fairgrounds June 15. Race minnows, make lures, practice casting, and learn everything you need to know about fishing.  The Fish Fair is a kids’ carnival and sportsman’s garage sale all in one.

• Take him to the MSRA Back to the 50s Car Show at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds June 20-22. (Featuring 10,000 street rods and custom cars.)

• Go to the Stone Arch Bridge Festival in Minneapolis June 14 and 15, “a weekend of art and music on the Minneapolis Riverfront.”

• Take him on a Father’s Day brunch cruise on the Mississippi River or champagne brunch cruise on the St. Croix.

• Try archery and rock climbing with Dad after eating brats and burgers at Baker Park Reserve. (Reservations required by phone only; $8 for kids 3-17; $12 ages 18+; free for kids 2 and under.)

 • Give him the chance to brew his own beer or make his own wine at Vine Park Brewing Company, the only brew-it-yourself-on-the-premises facility in the Midwest.

Thanks to all the dads out there who are loving, kind, and respectful mentors, teachers, friends, and heroes. Happy Father’s Day! We appreciate all that you do.