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Caring For Our Kids

Fun ways to celebrate with your family this Father’s Day

Photo: Karen Cline

Father’s day is Sunday, June 17 — just a few weeks away. It always comes at a crazy time of year when school is ending and summer routines are starting. I feel lucky that on this day we are able to honor my dad, my father-in-law, and of course my husband. This is a lot of juggling, however, so I always like to get a jumpstart on planning.

There are many ways to handle celebrating those special men in our lives. I like to start by asking the ever-simple but all-important question: “What would you like to do on Father’s Day?” If the answer is some alone time, there is always a round of golf, a sporting event or maybe a fishing trip. But if you are looking for ways to celebrate as a family, here are some fun, local ideas that are getting a lot of buzz this year.

West Point Inn Pancake Breakfast. This is a great morning activity that will give everyone some exercise and even have the kids home in time for a nap. It’s a family friendly hike up Mt. Tam in Marin followed by an amazing pancake breakfast. This well-known event only happens six times a year, and yes, Father’s Day is one of the most popular. There are a variety of ways to get there depending on how adventurous you’re feeling, but this hidden treasure can only be accessed by hiking in. It is about two miles each way, so for little ones it might be best to bring a backpack or an off-road stroller like the Bob. The event is from 9 a.m.–1 p.m., but on a nice day earlier is better because the parking at the beginning of the hike does fill up. The breakfast is extremely reasonable at $10 for adults and $5 for kids, which includes the pancakes and sausage. You can buy fruit, juice and coffee there, but I would recommend bringing your own. No reservations are required, and it is open to the public, www.westpointinn.com.

Father’s Day Bike About. If you are looking for another active yet family friendly event, the BikeAbout at the San Francisco Zoo is a sure winner. Bring the kids and your bike for a 90-minute docent-led bike tour. The zoo first thing in the morning is a great time to see the animals, and you may even catch a few of them enjoying their breakfast. A continental breakfast follows the tour, and then you are free to enjoy all the other great zoo attractions. The event is from 8:30–11 a.m., and the cost is $25 per bicyclist for zoo members; $30 for nonmembers, which includes parking and zoo admission. Kids are free piggybacking on their parents’ bikes. The event does fill up, so you must preregister at www.sfzoo.org.

Presidio picnic. If you’d like to stay a little closer to home, I suggest packing a picnic, a blanket, a few balls, and maybe even a kite, and heading to the Presidio. There are so many great escapes there, but our family’s new favorite is the big grassy field in front of the Walt Disney Museum near the parade grounds. There is little wind and plenty of room for everyone to spread out and have some fun. A picnic packed with all of Dad’s favorite foods followed by a game of catch might be just the right combination. If the weather doesn’t cooperate or you need a new activity, there’s always the Walt Disney Family Museum or the bowling alley and arcade. My husband loves to take the kids and relive his glory days playing his favorite arcade games.

Being a dad is not an easy job and sometimes the stress and pressure of balancing work demands and home life can be challenging. No matter how the special dads in your life want to spend Father’s Day, I hope they are reminded not just on this day but every day just how special they are.
Happy Father’s Day!

Liz Farrell is the mother of two young children. She was formerly a television producer in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco. E-mail: liz@marinatimes.com
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