Let’s be honest: Father’s Day is a federal holiday because Richard Nixon was trying to scrape up votes during a tough re-election campaign. While dutiful families spend over $20 billion on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day spending is anticipated to be far less, usually because dads get grilling implements and moms get jewelry.

But with a bit of thought about how dad likes to spend his free time, you can give him the best gift a dad could ask for: the memory of doing something he loves with his family. It’s a simple thing to come up with an idea for a day out if dad’s a baseball fan, but here’s a list of suggestions for different dad types:

History Buff Dads: Sail on a Tall Ship

If dad’s bookshelf is sagging under the weight of his historical nonfiction collection and the complete works of Patrick O’Brian and C. S. Forester, take him on a sail he’ll never forget. The Californian, San Diego Maritime Museum’s replica of an 1847 cutter, is designated the official tall ship of the state of California. In addition to their Father’s Day sail, the Maritime Museum does sailing events year-round. Any time spent aboard the museum’s tall ships will give you greater appreciation for the work that goes into sailing a tall ship and life at sea. Also: cannons.

Other dads that might enjoy this: Navy Dads, Pirate Dads.

Gamer Dads: Music from Final Fantasy with the San Diego Symphony and SACRA/PROFANA

If dad’s favorite way to unwind is questing with his guild or going for new trophies on games he’s completed a dozen times, surprise him with tickets to the San Diego Symphony’s Distant Worlds, a night of music from one of the most influential game serieses of all time. The concert is in the evening after the first full day of Comic-Con, so there will be excellent people-watching and a costume showcase. Video game music has rarely been more sophisticated than Noubo Uematsu’s compositions for the Final Fantasy series, and that music will sound better than ever when performed by the San Diego Symphony and the dynamic singers of SACRA/PROFANA. The composer will be there, and you can be pretty sure they’re going to do One-Winged Angel.

Other dads that might enjoy this: Cosplay Dads, Classical Music Dads.

Rock Dads: Vintage Instruments at the Museum of Making Music

In addition to two galleries’ worth of temporary exhibits spanning makeshift music from the Great Depression to the dawn of digital music, Carlsbad’s Musem of Making Music has a huge collection of instruments ranging from jazz organs to electric guitars, including harps of both the stringed and harmonica variey. And the interactive area allows every visitor the opportunity to make as much noise as one wishes and even play a theramin. And if dad ‘s appetite is only whetted by the experience, he can always tour the Taylor Guitars factory on any weekday at 1pm.

Other dads that might enjoy this: History Buff Dads, Classical Music Dads.

DIY Dads: Miniature Marvels in Wood and Metal at the Craftsmanship Museum

Dads who love to tinker will be awed and inspired in turn by the imagination and skill on display at Carlsbad’s Craftsmanship Museum, where founder Joe Martin amassed a collection of miniature engines, vehicles, instruments, weapons, tools, and other curiosities from the world’s most talented craftsmen. The 16,000-square foot museum houses a machine shop in addition to presenting an annual award for craftsmanship. Past award winners include Szymon Klimek, whose miniature solar-powered Victorian steam engine can fit inside a wine glass, and Pierre Scerry, who built a working 1/3 scale Ferrari. Come for Pamela Weiss’s half-scale ten-barrel gatling gun; stay for Ron Remsberg’s matchstick model of the Taj Mahal.

Other dads that might enjoy this: Gearhead Dads, Engineer Dads

Classical Music Dads: Hear Carol Williams Pull Out All the Stops

Dads who dig the classics must experience one of Balboa Park’s crown jewels: a free concert played on one of the world’s largest outdoor organs by a world-renowened musician. Civic Organist Dr. Carol Williams delights audiences weekly with stylistically diverse, highly entertaining, impeccably performed programs on the Spreckels Organ every Sunday at 2 pm. And if dad likes what he hears, Williams kicks off the Summer International Organ Festival on June 24th at 7:30 pm with the House of Scotland Pipe Band, marimba player Kengo Ito, and a carillon piece played by Gina Seashore.

Other dads that might enjoy this: Musical Theater Dads, Frugal Dads.

Homebrewing Dads: Beer, Music, and Art at Offbeat Brewing

In addition to creating tasty offerings like the Caticorn IPA (caticorn = cat + unicorn), Escondido’s Offbeat Brewing takes pride in displaying works by local artists artists and hired three of them to produce an enormous mural for their tasting room. Love of and respect for the arts ties the brewers together as much as a love of good beer, and it shows in Offbeat’s, well, offbeat approach to their beer and branding. For Father’s Day, they’ll be hosting the Underdog Gourmet Sausage Truck and providing music. Bonus: if you want to make a day of it, Offbeat isn’t far from north county powerhouse breweries Lost Abbey and Stone.

Other dads that might enjoy this: Craft Brew Dads, Brony Dads.

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Libby Weber

Libby Weber is a contributor to Voice of San Diego. Follow her on Twitter @thelibbyweber or email libbyweber@gmail.com.

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