By Elisa Huot
Former educator, toddler parent, and Paso Robles resident
Heading out for a weekend adventure with Dad? The Paso Robles Airport provides the perfect starting point with chances for kids to get up close access to many different types of airplanes and helicopters (and a hot air balloon or glider on occasion).
Originally constructed as a military base in 1942, the facility has been a hub of activity since it became a civilian airport in 1947. The Airport is home to the California Highway Patrol, CalFire and medical transport helicopter operations. Grab a delicious breakfast at Joe’s One-Niner Diner located in the terminal. Snag a table by the windows and enjoy watching the planes arrive and depart. After your meal, head to the outside viewing area — you’ll feel like you’re on the tarmac (because you practically are). From there, kids get a personal airshow with planes and helicopters of all sizes and shapes zooming across the airfield. The second-floor mezzanine area provides a bird’s-eye view of the airport.
Like it or not, dads find themselves at local home improvement stores each spring to tackle those “to-do” lists that never seem to end. These stores also provide a fun learning environment. Take time to intentionally walk through the store with your little ones — the lighting department, the paint department, or nursery area. Inevitably, your child’s curiosity will come out, spurring questions and requests to see how a tool or appliance works. Many store employees are happy to make your child’s experience memorable by obliging! Stores such as Lowes offer wooden building kits for kids and on-site workshops to assist children with project-based skills.
Opportunities for enjoying spring weather are abundant in our area. A resurgence in golf over the past three years has more children being introduced to the game. Unfortunately, a full round of golf isn’t by nature kid-friendly — including the amount of time it takes to play and the cost. That’s where River Oaks Golf Course comes in. River Oaks is a unique 6-hole course that is affordable and family-friendly. Green fees range from $10 to $22 depending on number of holes played and time of play. No walking is required, as golf carts are available. Play a few holes or all “18” (three tee configurations per hole) … whatever fits your child’s attention span and your budget. The staff is committed to growing the game of golf and it is the perfect course for an hour or two of fun.
A short walk, drive, or bike ride around the corner to the Allegretto Resort will deliver experiences with goats, sheep, and alpacas. Guests and visitors can typically see the collection of furry friends in the front pasture along Buena Vista Drive or on Dallons Drive. Although feeding and petting are not welcomed, the close access is a great occasion for children of all ages to appreciate and respect the animals that are a part of so many people’s lives along the Central Coast.
To round out a fun spring day, head over to Barney Schwartz Park for some fishing and playground time. Start by taking a walk around the small lake just off the parking lot of the top terrace. Over 1 million gallons of water provide the perfect setting to play with remote control boats, fish, or watch wildlife. For children under 16 years, no fishing license is necessary. Any kid’s rod and reel will do the job. A bobber with a small hook and small worm setup works just fine in the late spring and early summer near the waterfall feature. No fishing gear, no problem. Each April, the Paso Robles Police Activities League hosts a children’s fishing event at the park, with fishing equipment provided and lunch included. Enjoy the multi-level playgrounds, swings, and other play features right next to the lake or just down the hill on the walking path. With plenty of shade and four group picnic areas, this is the perfect place for a family barbecue celebrating Dad.
Follow Elisa’s kid-friendly adventures across the Central Coast on Instagram @PasoMommy
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