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For Father's Day, give the gift of travel that makes a dream come true

At Robbie's, the famous fishing place in Islamorada in the Florida Keys, you can hand feed a tarpon
At Robbie's, the famous fishing place in Islamorada in the Florida Keys, you can hand feed a tarpon
© 2014 Karen Rubin/

Searching for a unique father's day gift? Perhaps Dad harbors a rock n' roll fantasy, or a baseball fantasy. Or loves fly fishing, golfing. Or wants to learn the "Sport of Kings" falconry? Perhaps a family biking trip through some exotic landscape. Or a journey down memory lane, back to family roots or personal history.

Travel is always unique - the experience is a once-in-a-lifetime - always life-enhancing, and often and often life changing.

Travel affords the opportunity for personal fulfillment, and also in providing the setting for experiences that forge relationships. If travel is not convenient over Fathers Day, consider a future booking and most places have a means for purchasing a gift card toward future travel.

From indulging a fantasy to play baseball or be in a rock and roll band, to walking in the footsteps of golf legends, to deep sea sport fishing, here are some suggestions:

Baseball Fantasy Camp: Swing, run and slide into a ‘dream come true’ at a professional baseball field under the guidance and instruction of baseball pros. The Tampa Bay Stars baseball fantasy camp, an exclusive experience for professional baseball fans, is scheduled for January 4-9, 2015 in Kissimmee, Fla.

For six days and nights, men and women ages 25 years and older will have the chance to train and play at the Osceola County Stadium, a world-class stadium and longtime Major League Baseball Spring Training home. With the expertise of former MLB players such as Fred McGriff, Rick White, Norm Charlton and many more, fans will only need to bring their glove and cleats to hit it out of the park under the tutelage of stellar coaches. Other former Tampa Bay Devil Rays camp coaches are: Roberto Hernandez, Mike DeFilce, Kevin Stocker, Wade Boggs, Miguel Cairo, Doug Waechter, Tanyon Sturtze, Bubba Trammell, Scott Aldred, Leon Roberts, and many more.

The program includes Tampa Bay Stars Jerseys (Home and BP); equipment (except gloves and cleats); use of training facilities and certified Major League Trainer; personal clubhouse locker; breakfast and lunch; accommodations and transportation to and from training fields; nightly socials with the Pros, including autograph sessions; and team and camp photos,as well as plenty of action photos and video.

Since the camp is limited to only 52 participants for the 2015 year, fans are encouraged to register early to lock in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Registration is now open and will be taken through October 1, 2014, or for the first 52 registered campers. A $500 refundable deposit is required at registration and the balance due by October 18, 2014. Refundable deposit must be requested by September 1, 2014.

For more details about registration and more information about the Tampa Bay Stars baseball fantasy camp, visit

Kissimmee is the gateway to fun, with access to world-famous theme parks including DisneyWorld. For more information visit

Baseball Hall of Fame: Complete the experience for the Baseball Fan at Cooperstown, New York, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame and a stay at the grand, historic Otesaga Hotel. (Baseball Fantasy camp is also offered in Cooperstown periodically.)

A member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Otesaga is reminiscent of a more genteel era and take syou back to the beginnings of the game.

The Otesaga offers the challenge of golf on its 18-hole championship Leatherstocking Golf Course with golf instruction and practice at The Leatherstocking Driving Range. Guests can swim in our heated outdoor pool or in the natural waters of Lake Otsego. Canoe rentals are available on the clear waters of Lake Otsego. The Lake is also one of the finest deepwater fisheries in Central New York – habitat for lake salmon, trout and small and large mouth bass. For those over 14 years of age, a New York State Fishing License is required. During the appropriate season fishing and hunting guides can assist you. Group skeet shooting can also be organized. There are two all-weather tennis courts, located directly across the street from The Hotel, available on a first-come, first-served basis to Hotel guests at no charge. The Otesaga Resort Hotel, 60 Lake Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326-1042, 800-348-6222,607-547-9931,, To plan your visit to Cooperstown, go to

Share the fantasy:“Cover Your Bases,” brite spokes tour company's ultimate baseball adventure, offers fathers and children a three-night travel program that delves into the history of America’s favorite pastime and takes an exclusive look at the sport today. Upon meeting in New York City, travelers will board a luxury motor coach and head to Baltimore, M.D. where they will attend an Orioles game and a have special stadium tour of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Following is a visit to Babe Ruth’s Birthplace and Sports Legends Museum. Travelers will then make their way to Philadelphia, P.A. for a Phillies game and their final stop is in Cooperstown, N.Y. for a savory lunch at the Ommegang Brewery before touring the Baseball Hall of Fame and meeting with a Major League Baseball pro for a private question and answer session. The “Cover Your Bases” experience includes nightly accommodations at luxury hotels, select meals, round-trip luxury motor coach transportation, entrance fees to the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum and the Baseball Hall of Fame, an experienced trip manager, 24/7 customer service, porterage fees, taxes and gratuities (800-986-4735,

The family fun continues with brite spokes“Legends Continued Series, a series of epic experiences centered around the ultimate fan looking to pay homage to great sport and music heroes of all-time. With departures out of the East and Midwest, these incredible itineraries bring legends to life as travelers embark on behind-the-scenes tours of a variety of music and sports halls of fame, participate in interactive question and answer sessions with professional athletes, visit iconic sports fields and a renowned comedy club and/or brewery and enjoy phenomenal meals along the way. Having partnered with the talent bank Thuzio, former New York Giant Tiki Barber’s newest venture, enthusiasts will have the opportunity to go one-on-one with the all-stars themselves. Depending the selected itinerary and origin of departure, the “Legends Continued Series” features stops at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Chicago Sports Museum, Notre Dame University, Wrigley Field, Ommegang Brewery and Patrick & Frolic’s Hilarities. Each experience also includes nightly accommodations at luxury hotels, select meals, roundtrip luxury motor coach transportation, entrance fees to each museum, an experience trip manager, 24/7 customer service, porterage fees, taxes and gratuities (800-986-4735,

Get the Drift is another fantasy-style trip from brite spokes: Drifting is the hottest thing in motorsports today and during this in-depth car drifting program, some of the best drifters in the world will teach travelers to over steer with complete precision and control. This high-adrenaline adventure starts in the Los Angeles area and consists of a comprehensive orientation, private instruction, tours of prominent racecar shops, private demos and fantastic meals with pro drivers (800-986-4735,

Rock n' Roll Fantasy Camp: Always wanted to join a rock-and-roll band? During the 4-day Rock and Roll Fantasy Camps 4-day Fantasy Camps you are placed in a band with a rock star counselor where you jam, learn tunes, and learn how to play as a band. During the course of the camp, you attend master classes, music business classes, clinics, and enjoy visits from A-list rock stars who conduct Q&A sessions and jam a couple of tunes with each of the bands. Rock star camp headliners over the past 17 years have included Jeff Beck, Brian Wilson (Beach Boys), Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, Sammy Hagar, Gene Simmons (KISS), Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule), Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones), Slash, Bret Michaels (Poison), Cheap Trick, Dr. John, George Thorogood, Jack Bruce (Cream), Joe Satriani, Joe Walsh, Meatloaf, Vince Neil (Motley Crue), Duff McKagan , (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), Michael Anthony (Van Halen).

"For our campers, this is a life changing experience. While some play well and others not at all, music is the focal point and passion in their lives. Some took 'wrong turns' away from music careers to become CEO’s and lawyers, some still do it on the weekends, and others whistle along and wish with all their hearts they could do it at least once. Nonetheless, each and every one of them maintained their passions and music has been their guiding force. To take this time out and actually meet and play with artists who became the soundtrack of their lives is both an inspiring and life changing experience. Certainly it has been a fantastic experience for all of us who have been able to witness it for the past seventeen years."

Headliner Package for the Fantasy Camp: Write and Record an Original Song, perform twice at House of Blues in Las Vegas, digital download of the Final Performance, daily lunches, daily master classes and jam sessions, jam with Guest Stars, there's an opening night cocktail party and dinner and a rock swag bag.

Songwriting Camp offers a step by step guide through every aspect of writing lyrics, the marriage of versus and chorus', bridges, and melody, information on publishing, protecting your material, and splitting credits and copywriting, pitch a song to Fantasy Campers and potentially get your original song played live on stage, meet all guest stars, and receive a rock swag bag. There are optional live performances at House of Blues in Las Vegas, and the option to attend daily master classes. Participants spend time and pitch their songs to Grammy award winning special guests and rock star counselors including Brad Whitford (Aerosmith), Warren DiMartini (RATT). Main producer and head counselor Joe Vitale is joined by Jack Tempchin ("Peaceful Easy Feeling").

"This is your chance to get critiqued by the masters, improve your songs, learn the best way to pitch your songs and even have the chance to pitch your songs to all the special guest rockers and counselors." On Saturday and Sunday evenings, you have the opportunity to perform your songs live at the House of Blues.

The host hotel is Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino (which offers discounts) , and nightly performances take place on the Courtyard Stage inside Crossroads at House of Blues in Mandalay Bay. The camp is for all ages, though participants tend to be 35+. There are no gender specific camps, and all camps are mixed. The camps are offered several times a year, about 60-80 participants each. The cost, $4495 includes daily lunches, 2 dinners (hotel accommodations not included but host hotel offers discount). Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp, 3485 W. Harmon Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89103. Call 888.762.2263 ext 5 or visit

Stay & Play at the Epicenter of the Golf World: What better place to indulge a passion for golf than at the ultimate destination for the celebration and recognition of golf's greatest players and contributors: World Golf Village, featuring The World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum, the PGA Tour Golf Academy, two championship courses designed by legends of the game, and Renaissance World Golf Village Resort and Convention Center, a full-service, luxury resort, putting you at the center of it all?

Renaissance World Golf Village Resort and Convention Center offers two extraordinary championship golf courses: King & Bear is the only course in the world designed jointly by Arnold Palmer (known as “The King”) and Jack “The Bear” Nicklaus. The signature features of the 7,279-yard course are its placid lakes edged with large coquina rocks, and its 200-year-old live oaks. The course challenges amateurs and pros alike with five sets of tees, a course rating of 75.2, and a slope of 143. Slammer & Squire is named for legendary Hall of Famers “Slammin” Sam Snead and Gene “The Squire” Sarazen. They partnered with architect Bobby Weed to create this impressive par 72 tree-lined course that features gentle rolling fairways and challenging lakes. The 6,939-yard course has a course rating of 73.8, and its slope is 135. Both courses feature such on-course amenities as chilled apples on the first and tenth holes, complimentary range balls, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in every cart.

The World Golf Hall of Fame is the ultimate destination for the celebration of golf, where golf’s greatest players are recognized. Serving as the international home of golf, the Hall of Fame offers visitors the ability to view remarkable memorabilia from golf legends. Interactive technology, hands-on exhibits, two putting greens and a virtual reality golf simulator are all part of this remarkable facility.

Other attractions: The Challenge Hole is a 132-yard, par-three island replica of the famous 17th Hole of the Stadium Course at the TPC at Sawgrass (if you hit two balls on the Challenge Green you win a prize); lighted all-grass 18-hole Putting Course, complete with bunkers; half-mile Walk of Champions allows you to stroll through World Golf Village and see commemorative bricks featuring the signatures of past and present golf legends; and PGA TOUR Golf Academy offers group clinics, corporate events, private lessons and a learning center.

The Renaissance World Golf Village Resort also features a large heated pool, Jacuzzi hot tub, 24-hour fitness center and sauna, tennis courts, billiards room, walking and jogging trails. Guests also have access to two baseball diamonds, two soccer fields, two playgrounds, basketball and volleyball courts, picnic pavilion, four tennis courts, outdoor family fun pool within the village.

Round out the experience by exploring St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city, St. Augustine, a living history museum. St. Augustine offers sightseeing trolleys, charter boats, an array of water sports, and miles of pristine beaches.

Renaissance World Golf Village Resort and Convention Center, 500 South Legacy Trail
St. Augustine, Florida 32092, 904-940-8000 or 888-740-7020,

Father/Child SportFishing Trip: So often, when you hear people describe their childhood, it involves a story of fishing with their father. One of the best places to do this is the Florida Keys, heralded as among the world’s premier saltwater sportfishing destinations, year-round. Fishing in the Keys is unique because of the unparalleled diversity of target species.

The captains are very knowledgeable and willing to teach, and many of them fish with their own children or are second-generation captains taught by their fathers -- so fishing is widely regarded here as a family activity, and even very young children who show an interest are encouraged to enter some of the tournaments.

For dads who want to introduce their children to fishing in an easy-going way, or bond through fishing (particularly in the case of younger kids), there's the party-boat experience -- an experience for about 40 people where the goal is for everyone to catch one or more food fish. Many Keys restaurants do a "cook the catch" when anglers bring it in -- so the kid can eat his or her catch, and share it with the family.

For more Florida Keys & Key West travel information, including electronic brochures and videos, visit the Keys website at For Keys fishing information, visit

Out of World Space Experience for Father's Day: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers a Father’s Day experience that dad will remember for a lifetime. Guys can indulge their inner space geek with a cool, space-themed Father’s Day; here are the top 5 things for dad to do at the Visitor Complex:

Dads can become space shuttle astronauts at the unique $100 million, 90,000-square-foot Space Shuttle AtlantisSM attraction, where visitors get nose to nose with a real space flown orbiter. Space Shuttle Atlantis is displayed as if floating in space – the only space shuttle orbiter in the world exhibited this way. Dads also can train on various realistic simulators: take a simulated spacewalk, land the space shuttle on the shuttle landing facility, operate the robotic Canadarm or dock with the International Space Station. Shuttle Launch Experience, part of Space Shuttle Atlantis, is an incredible journey of vertically launching into space and orbiting Earth aboard the space shuttle. Guest “crew members” strap in for an all-too-real simulation, which immerses visitors in the sights, sounds and feelings of a space shuttle launch, including simulated weightlessness.

KSC Up-Close Explore Tour, which gives an insider’s view of the U.S. Space Program, from the launch sites of today at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to the past and future of space exploration at Kennedy Space Center. The KSC Up-Close Explore Tour includes up-close views of the massive, 525-foot-high Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) (one of the largest structures in the world) and the Shuttle Landing Facility. The tour stops in between the Kennedy Space Center launch pads for a close-up photo opportunity, in front of the VAB, and on the NASA Causeway where guests are surrounded by a panoramic view of launch pads at Cape Canaveral that are currently accommodating rocket launches by NASA, SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance.

The Apollo/Saturn V Center, where dramatic multi-media shows and numerous hands-on displays provide visitors with an inspirational and exhilarating look into America’s quest for the moon. Guests relive the historic launch of Apollo 8 at the Firing Room Theater, then marvel at a monstrous 363-foot long Saturn V moon rocket, the most powerful rocket ever built and one of only three Saturn V rockets in existence. The Apollo Treasures Gallery showcases treasures from the Apollo moon missions, including Apollo 14 Commander Alan Shepard’s spacesuit and the Apollo 14 Command Module, Kitty Hawk.

ATX – Astronaut Training Experience at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex invites guests to explore as never before. During ATX, a highly interactive program allowing guests to experience the thrill of a personalized space adventure. Participants experience the Multi-Axis Trainer, which randomly spins and twirls its occupant in multiple directions and through 360-degree revolutions, the Micro-Gravity Wall, that allows them to climb and descend in an almost effortless state, and the 1/6th Gravity Chair, which incorporates springs and pulleys to create the true-to-life feeling of walking on the moon. The experience culminates in a simulated space shuttle mission to the ISS, with each crewmember assigned a specific role. Based on assignment, participants proceed to a full-scale shuttle mock-up or take the helm in a realistically outfitted mission control room.

Astronaut Encounter at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the only place on Earth where guests have the opportunity to come face-to-face with a real astronaut every day. This half-hour, interactive question and answer session lets dad interact with a real space hero. On Father’s Day, Astronaut Encounter will feature Space Shuttle Astronaut Wendy Lawrence.

Admission is $50 for adults and $40 for children ages 3-11. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $75 for adults and $60 for children ages 3-11. Space Shuttle Atlantis, Shuttle Launch Experience, Apollo/Saturn V Center and Astronaut Encounter are included in daily admission.

Can't come on Father's Day - these experiences are available year-round. Advance reservations are recommended for the Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) and the KSC Up-Close Explore Tour as those are add-ons to daily admission, but the other experiences – Space Shuttle Atlantis, Shuttle Launch Experience, Astronaut Encounter, and the Apollo/Saturn V Center require no advance reservations. The KSC Up-Close Explore Tour and Space Shuttle Atlantis are new. There are some restrictions on Shuttle Launch Experience, which is a simulator ride, and ATX that I will send to you, but for the most part, father and child can do all of these activities together.

For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit

See also:

Father's Day travel gift ideas with family appeal

Spas, Dude Ranches, Grand Hotels - Favorite Travel Gift Ideas for Mothers Day

Karen Rubin, National Eclectic Travel Examiner


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