How to Find a Memorable Present

How to Choose A Memorable Present
By Marie Buckner

Father’s Day and other holidays are coming up fast and you want to choose a memorable present. Where do you turn? How about adding some adventure to your chosen’s life? We are not talking about new hand tools, jewelry, flowers, or a fancy lawn mower here. Even though there is nothing wrong with those ‘traditional’ presents, give them something that they will brag to everyone they know about to. Give them a present that is memorable, is adventurous, and will be cherished.

For the adventurous minded, the aviation related provides many thrills and smiles that make wonderful Father’s Day and year round presents. There are a wide variety of choices that offer others a different perspective and viewpoint of our world. For instance, a hot air balloon ride would be fun. Known in FAA terms as being in the aircraft category of ‘lighter than air’, the hot air balloon is a true sight to behold. This form of travel would be sure to have your dad or recipient smiling. Imagine the Wizard of Oz! Have them fly over a vacation site, over their favorite meeting place, or over any place that sparks their interest. Prices vary due to actual flight time, destination preferred, and any special perks requested. Some of the best for an appreciation of our universe are offered during sunrise and would have your recipient smiling for years. Some flights come with a champagne toast, and others include an entire package of perks. A wonderful website to visit and take a cyber hot air balloon flight is located at For a nationwide directory of hot air balloon businesses, go to Or, simply type in ‘hot air balloon ride’ into your search engine and find the city nearest you.

Another aviation present would be a scenic ride in a vintage aircraft. It is both romantic and adventurous. These are huge favorites at Father’s Day since many men served during the war in one of these planes. Or, they learned to fly in one. An open cockpit biplane ride takes one back to the days of aviation’s beginnings and is associated with scarves, goggles, and skullcaps. Even Snoopy gets in the picture here! It is a true thrill. There are many ‘barnstorming businesses’ throughout the nation that offer these scenic trips. If one is in the Seattle area, stop by ‘Olde Thyme Aviation’ located at Boeing Field. They offer a multitude of scenic rides and planes to choose from. Visit them at for more information. Once again, cost varies due to actual flight time and other special perks.

In addition to biplane rides, veterans (and any aviation enthusiast) can experience flying in a B17, B24, or a B25 as a present. These WWII bomber (that is what the B stands for) planes are part of the reason America was victorious during the war. They freed our country and are pure treasures to experience to this day. Plus, they are becoming more and more rare. Many a veteran experiences these flights and emerges with tears in their eyes and reminiscent smiles on their faces. The Collings Foundation ( and EAA (Experimental Aviation Association at are two of the organizations that tour the nation each summer and provide these rides. Their purpose is to help us remember our veterans, all they have done for us, and to keep the planes flying. If you cannot afford the ride, ground tours are offered for under $10. Both ways are wonderful Father’s Day and year round presents to be treasured forever.

On a smaller scale, how about an introductory flight so your dad or recipient can get a feel of actually flying a plane? Known as ‘introductory flights’, flight schools across the nation offer these flights, for a nominal fee, with the purpose of acquainting either potential pilots or anyone expressing interest to the thrills of flying. One can actually ‘take controls’ of the plane to increase the thrill, if desired. This is a wonderful present that will be treasured forever.

A scenic helicopter flight is another present that will stand out. These flights are available across the nation, and are prevalent in tourist areas. The Grand Canyon tour comes to mind. Check with either your local airport or yellow pages for one nearest you.

A unique flight experience that offers double the pleasure and double the fun is found in float planes. They are the amphibious planes that can land and takeoff from either land or water. Usually available in tourist areas, these make a wonderful present that would give your father and/or recipient a different viewpoint of our planet.

Would your dad or recipient feel like jumping out of a plane for a thrill? Try giving the present of parachuting. Here, parachutes are deployed during free falls from airplanes. Classes are offered nationwide. There is a well-known school in Zephyrhills, FL. Check with your local directory for the school closest to you. If your intended prefers not to go solo, tandem jumping is for them. There are no classes required to do this. The novice jumper is buckled together with an experienced jumper to make it easy. Make sure and videotape this excursion!

For a more relaxed and ‘birdlike’ experience and present, your dad or intended may enjoy either hang gliding or paragliding. They both offer a quiet, serene way to explore the skies. Both are known as the simplest forms of human flight available. ‘Fly like a bird’ is the saying for these types of recreation. What is the difference between hand gliding and paragliding, you ask? Let us exploreâÂ?¦

For paragliding, the pilot is suspended by Kevlar lines to a glider (‘inflatable wing’) made of nylon and then is clipped into a harness that is positioned in a sit up position. The pilot is experiencing flight, truly, like a bird. Launching is usually done from gentle hillsides. Launching, transporting, and landings are all easy to do during paragliding. Paragliders can fold into 30-pound backpacks, making for easy transporting in vehicles. Once air bound, they are designed to soar. There also are motorized paragliders available. Some pilots reach 15,000 on cross-country trips. Your dad can experience this present and thrill by taking a short introductory flight and taking it from there. He may just love this way to see our planet earth!

Hang gliding is also serene and relaxing. The flyer controls the flight with weight shifts. During flight, the pilot is in a roller coaster headfirst position. You have probably seen videos of people looking like they are laying on their stomachs while holding onto the glider bar. That is hang gliding. As far as equipment goes, hang gliders weigh twice as much as paragliders and are harder to set up and take down. Maybe your dad or recipient would like to become introduced to hang gliding by going ‘tandem’ (the instructor and student). That is the easiest and cheapest way to do it. A gift certificate present would do this. Others may like to take a solo excursion. Go online to (United States Hangliding Association) or call them at 719-632-8300. Their toll free number 800-616-6888. Both paragliding and hang gliding are covered through the USHGA.

Another form of gliding is done in a glider airplane. Here, the motor is used during takeoffs. Once at gliding level, the motor is shut off and the plane glides like a big bird. Once again, this is a quiet and enjoyable way to view our planet. Your dad or recipient may love a gift certificate as a present for a glider flight!

Want to give your dad or recipient the gift of viewing our planet from the sky but none of the above sound interesting? Try a gift certificate present for parasailing. This requires no skill and simply (hopefully) all thrills. The rider is hitched to a parachute that is attached to a long towrope. The towrope is attached to a motorized vehicle – either on water or land. Once the vehicle reaches speed, the parachute lifts and the rider enjoys the ride. A great website to visit for more information and locations nationwide is

Of course, for those enjoying aviation, but not so inclined to actually take a flight�what then?
There is the good old standby, but surely to be appreciated, present of a ticket to a flight museum. Flight museums offer a glimpse of aviation history and an appreciation of all it entails. Some flight museums offer free Father’s Day admission tickets as a way of thanking dad. For instance, the Museum of Flight in Seattle offers this special. What a great present to treat dad and others to the joys of aviation!

Not interested in anything aviation oriented, but your dad or recipient still likes ‘the sky’ and a thrill? How about bungee jumping? Depending on their physical condition, this is for your father or intended who does not mind having their spinal column jarred as a present.

OK, let us go to the other spectrum of earth. The water. The water appeals more to your father’s liking? The recreation minded will have no problem finding something to do. Presents in this category abound! There are many water adventures that make great Father’s Day presents and year round presents that are here to enjoy. All skill sets and levels welcomed, too. Scuba diving, snorkeling, fly fishing, fishing, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, charter boating, cruisesâÂ?¦each offers classes, if desired. Or, simply give your dad the present for one day’s recreation enjoying his favorite water sport. Many a dad and person has been happy as a clam having the availability of a charter boat for a day’s fishing. If your dad or intended loves fishing, surprise them with a present of a paid day’s rental of a charter boat. Be sure to bring your camera so you have proof of him catching “the biggest one ever!!”

There are so many more adventurous and thrilling Father’s Day and year round presents available, this article only touches upon a few. Whatever you give your dad and/or recipient, just show them you care and appreciate them by spending time with them during their days here. They are fleeting.

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