Written by Jennifer Sangalang
Forget the tie, give an unexpected gift for Father’s Day
Clothing stores may feel harried and busy this weekend as kids everywhere rush to buy the traditional Father’s Day gift, a necktie. In honor of Dad’s big day, we’re giving you 10 out-of-the-box gift ideas to shake things up. But don’t worry. If you decide to play it safe with a wacky or classic tie, that’s OK, too.
1) Take him kayaking — day or night. A Day Away Kayak Tours offers guided tours at Haulover Canal on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, SR 402, east of Titusville, where you can get an upclose personal look at different types of birds, dolphin and manatees. A really neat tour is the bioluminescent deal at night.
“You’re seeing bioluminescence that’s amazing,” said Mike Mahan, owner of A Day Away. “It looks like a fireworks show in the water. You’ll hit a school of fish, and then it’ll zip off like blue bottle rockets under the water. If you’ve never seen it, you’ve got to do it.”
• Bioluminescent tours start at 8 p.m. nightly. The cost is $35 for adults and children ages 12 and older and $27 for kids 5-11. Saturday tour costs are $38 for adults and $29 for children. Reservations are required. Start times may change depending on sunset.
• Dad gets a discount on Father’s Day. One child or individual with dad, and he gets half-off or he’s free if there are two paying adults. The tours for this deal include the bioluminescent tour, sunset tour and the mondo combo tour.
• If you want to go during the day, tours start at $33 a person, with discounts available for groups. There is a manatee tour available along with a sunset tour.
Mahan recommends you wear sunscreen, wear shorts, flip-flops or watershoes, and to bring a floppy hat (one with a string helps in case it’s slightly windy). If you do bring a camera, bring a good, durable plastic bag with the sealing top to keep it in.
Bonus: A Day Away is hosting a photography contest. Dozens of professional and amateur photographers have tried to capture the action from the bioluminescent tour digitally and through film. No dice. Many have tried time exposure. There will be a free kayak tour — and bragging rights — to anyone who can shoot a clear picture of the bioluminescence.
2) Play cowboy. Here’s the chance to dress the part and shoot like a cowboy. Or you can just watch an exciting shooting match.
The Indian River Regulators are the cowboys within the gun club, Port Malabar Rifle and Pistol Club. The IRR is part of SASS or the Single Action Shooting Society, a cowboy action shooting organization, one of three in the world. There’s an IRR shoot or match the fourth Saturday of every month. “Anybody can come and watch,” said Mike Collins aka Turkey Creek Red, the territorial governor or liaison between the gun club and SASS headquarters.
• The cowboy class is at 9 a.m. the third Sundays of every month. “We supply guns, we supply ammo,” Collins explained. “We take him what would be on a normal shooting day, anywhere from 3 to 4 hours playing cowboy.” The class — for cowgirls and cowboys — is free. Bring eye protection and ear plugs and bottled water. What to wear? Blue jeans, long-sleeve shirt and some type of cowboy hat and boots.
• “We have kids as young as 10 participate and guys as old as 90 participate,” Collins said of the monthly shooting match, adding folks shoot two pistols, a lever-action rifle calibre and a shotgun. “We shoot live ammunition at steel targets. All of our bullets have to be lead only.” To shoot the match, it’s $10 per person and free for juniors, who is anybody under 16. Spectators get in free, too. The next shooting match is on June 23.
To schedule a cowboy class, call 321-728-7928 or visit www.indianriverregulators.org, and book it the Wednesday before the class. This is a call for location, since the classes and match happen at the Port Malabar Rifle and Pistol Club, which is a private club.
3) Sign him up for a basketball league at a local recreation center. At Max K. Rodes Park Community Center, 3410 Flanagan Ave., West Melbourne, you can scare up a team and then compete. The games are 5 on 5, so find at least 7 and up to 15 players. To play in the adult league, it’s $345 for 10 games plus the playoffs. Adult league games start at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Call 321-952-3215.
4) Take him fishing at Sebastian Inlet,9700 S. SR A1A,
Melbourne Beach. It’s $8 for the park entrance fee per vehicle up to 8 people. There are no additional charges for hiking, canoeing, camping, scuba diving, etc. The pier is about 750 feet long, park officials say. Some options once you’re there include going to the tidal pool, fishing and surfing. You also can visit the fishing and treasure museums. Call 321-984-4852 or visit www.floridastateparks.org/sebastianinlet.
5) Sign him up for roller derby. In addition to a grueling yet fun workout, you get a taste of the team’s camaraderie whether you win or lose. The Space Coast Rocket Jockeys is a co-ed roller derby team in which two teams race around the track to keep the jammer from making points. They wear “quads” or roller skates. Summer time practice is 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays (8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays during the year) at Fun Town in Melbourne. The team seeks members, and all skill levels are welcome. Bouts are scheduled weekly and monthly depending on season and out-of-town bouts. Membership levels and fees vary. For example, you could be a recreational member or a team member. Call 321-549-8266 or www.spacecoastrocketjockeys.com.