In honor of Father's Day, we went in search of locations representing famous dads. No, not rock stars or other celebrities: We're talking about the venerable Father Time, jolly Father Christmas and the Father of Our Country. We chose three places that should appeal to pops of every stripe, whether they're into history, the outdoors or just plain kitsch.
-- Anne McDonough
* Father Time
WHERE: Greenwich, England, about 20 minutes from central London by train.
GO BECAUSE . . . the UNESCO Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the gold standard of time-keeping since 1884.
WHAT TO DO: Though UTC, or atomic time, is now the technically accurate international standard, it's often used interchangeably with GMT. Set your own watch by the time ball, dropped at precisely 1 p.m. daily.
It's the 330th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Observatory, where you can straddle the Prime Meridian and be the coolest dad in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres. The National Maritime Museum, Royal Observatory and Queen's House (displaying photos of the British coast by Magnum photographers through January) are all free. Info: 011-44-20-8312-6565, www.nmm.ac.uk. Search for an old timepiece at the Greenwich Village Market (weekends, 011-44-20-8858-0808) or at the collectibles and antiques day at the Greenwich Market (Thursdays, 011-44-20-8293-3110). The annual futuristic Greenwich + Docklands International Festival features pyrotechnics, aerial dancers, giant puppets and other free performances (June 25-July 30, 011-44-20-8305-1818, www.festival.org).
INFO: Greenwich Council, www.greenwich.gov.uk.
* Father of Our Country
WHERE: Mount Rushmore National Memorial, near Rapid City, S.D.
GO BECAUSE . . . it's four great men for the price of one ($8 parking fee is good for one year). George Washington keeps good company in the Black Hills, surrounded by the mugs of Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.
WHAT TO DO: View the tools used to chisel the faces at the on-site Sculptor's Studio, then join a workshop like the Black Hills Natural History Adventure family hike (summer only). Tap your toes to the free "Roots of American Music" series, in the amphitheater Sundays in June and July. Run into other Founding Fathers in downtown Rapid City, where life-size presidential bronzes are scattered. Go caving or climbing at Wind Cave or at one of the three other national parks/monuments in the area. Later in the summer, venture north for the 65th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (Aug. 8-14, 605-720-0800, www.sturgismotorcyclerally.com).
INFO: Mount Rushmore National Memorial, 605-574-2523, www.nps.gov/moru.
* Father Christmas
WHERE: Santa Claus, Ind., just north of the Kentucky border.
GO BECAUSE . . . the man himself (or at least a 22-foot concrete likeness) will be there to greet you, no matter when you go. The previously named Sante Fe has capitalized on its much more fun moniker since Christmas Eve 1852.
WHAT TO DO: Stop by the Santa Claus Post Office (45 N. Kringle Pl.) to see where your kid's Christmas letter ended up before teeing off at the Christmas Lake Golf Course (877-962-7465, www.christmaslake.com). Embrace your inner child on the coasters in the holiday theme areas at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari's ($33.95, 452 E. Christmas Blvd., 877-463-2645, www.holidayworld.com; $33.95). History buffs should check out the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial (812-937-4541, www.nps.gov/libo) in Lincoln City, west of Santa Claus. Tour the nearby Buffalo Run, a buffalo and ostrich farm; its "Buffalo and Mistletoe" winter encampment (812-937-2799) is held the second weekend in December in conjunction with the Festival of Lights in Santa Claus.
INFO: Spencer County Visitors Bureau, 888-444-9252, www.legendaryplaces.org.