The broad gulf separating the role of father from mother is clearly seen in the choice of activities for each parent's special day. On Mother's Day we are all encouraged to pamper our mommies -- take them to brunch, bring them flowers, send them to the spa, shower them with jewelry. It's as if the collective guilt of every man in the nation is concentrated on this one day, and every husband and son are hoping to hit upon the appropriate level of kindness that makes Mom forget she'll be pouring Wisk on a fresh set of skid-marked skivvies come Tuesday.
On Father's Day there is no talk of pampering, brunches or spa treatments. Dads get ties and tools, and if they're really lucky, power tools. It is a subtle reminder that Dad really should be working instead of taking the day off.
But before you send Dad back to the salt mines, send him to the Father's Day Splash and Spray for a little fun with the rug rats at the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House (15193 Olive Boulevard, Chesterfield; 636-530-0076 or www.butterflyhouse.org). Three games involving water, water guns and water balloons prove that Dad is always a good sport. Seriously, can you imagine Mom allowing you to shoot shaving cream off her legs with a water gun while a crowd of other moms watches? No, of course not. This year, skip the tie, and take Dad out for some good, clean fun. The Splash and Spray runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and admission is $4 to $6 (lunch costs extra). But isn't Pop worth it? -- Paul Friswold
Time of the Season The solstice is at hand
The good thing about celebrating the summer solstice in St. Louis is that although this solstice is the longest day of the year, it is often not the hottest day. So enjoy being outside while you still can stand it at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site's Summer Solstice Sunrise Observance. This celebration doesn't exactly occur on the special solstice, but there'll be plenty of daylight hours after the event starts at 5:20 a.m. (no joke!) to revel in this almost-longest day of the year. Now, quit whining about the earliness -- you're wasting time! Head over to the mounds located at 30 Ramey Street in Collinsville, Illinois, learn about Woodhenge, and relax: You have the whole day ahead of you! For more information about the event, visit www.cahokiamounds.com or call 618-346-5160; admission is free, but $1 to $2 donations are recommended. -- Alison Sieloff