I heard something a couple weeks ago, right around Mother’s Day, that turned me into the head-scratching emoji (one of my favorite emojis, by the way). A few of us moms were standing around at school talking about how we never know what to give for Father’s Day. I mean, there are the tired, played-out gifts that have turned into jokes at this point—neckties, primarily. Then there are the cool, but “does he really need this?” gifts, like a pretty flask, or maybe a high-end bottle of his favorite whiskey or something.
We tossed around a few ideas before agreeing that everything seemed unoriginal. That’s when a dad strolled up, eavesdropped and promptly said, “I wouldn’t worry about it. Father’s Day isn’t really a thing, anyway. Not like Mother’s Day is.” Oh, man. Ouch. So, I surveyed a few other dads in the intervening weeks, and hands down, they agree: Father’s Day isn’t really a thing. Well, I’m here to tell you that it is in fact a thing, to be celebrated and honored—perhaps with one of these events on the North Shore.
One of the cool things about Father’s Day is that it’s in June, which means the weather is typically pretty great. Head outside for an afternoon of exploration, including embarking on a GPS-led treasure hunt, shooting a bow and arrow, building shelters in the woods, and learning to build a fire. The perfect way to end the day? A group cookout on the grill.
When: 3 to 7 p.m., Sunday, June 17
Where: Heller Nature Center, 2821 Ridge Rd., Highland Park
Cost: $13 per person
Low-key, laid-back and plenty of food—what better way to spend dad’s big day? Enjoy a generous buffet of made-to-order omelets, a waffle bar and carved prime rib, plus plenty of summertime staples from the grill like ribs, Italian sausage, corn on the cob and more. Little ones will love the dessert station and chocolate fountain; adults will love the $4 mimosas and $7 bloody Marys. After the meal, show dad who’s boss with a game of bowling or bocce.
When: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, June 17
Where: Pinstripes Northbrook, 1150 Willow Rd.
Cost: $35 for adults, $15 for kids ages 6 to 12
Drag him out of bed and get him up and running with a community run/walk that benefits the School-Based Health Care Center, which provides free and discounted health services to students in need.
When: 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 17
Where: 2601 W. Dempster St., Park Ridge
Cost: $30 per person
Festival season is officially upon us, and the last day of Libertyville Days just happens to fall right on dad’s day. Spend the afternoon enjoying a street rod charity car show, a watermelon-eating contest for kids, and a beer garden, plus all the tasty treats, live entertainment, and vendors that summertime festivals are known for.
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, June 17
Where: Cook Park, 413 N. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville