Show Dad you appreciate him this Father's Day by visiting a place where the greatness of others is also recognized. Dave Blevins, author of Halls of Fame: An International Directory and The Sports Hall of Fame Encyclopedia, to be released later this year, shares his list of recommendations with Kathy Baruffi for USA TODAY.
Recreational Vehicle/ Manufactured Housing Hall of Fame Elkhart, Ind.
"Dedicated to preserving the history and honoring the pioneers who have made significant contributions to the RV and Manufactured Housing industries, exhibits here include the nation's oldest existing RV, a 1913 travel trailer, and Mae West's 1931 Ford House Car," Blevins says. 800-378-8694;rvmhhalloffame.org
Automotive Hall of Fame Dearborn, Mich.
"Adjacent to the Henry Ford Museum, this hall of fame honors the heroes of the auto industry while providing a great dose of automotive history, from manufacturing and design to suppliers and engineers," Blevins says. You'll also see a working replica of the Benz three-wheeler, the world's first patented automobile, and NASCAR racer Richard Petty's trademark cowboy hat and sunglasses. Save time for a visit to Fair Lane, the Henry Ford estate, 10 minutes away. 313-240-4000; automotivehalloffame.org
National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum Leadville, Colo.
Men and women, including financiers, inventors, rascals and miners, are honored here. "Twelve rooms in this Victorian schoolhouse are dedicated to mining-related displays, models, historic photographs and handcrafted dioramas. Artifacts include old-time lamps, machines that were used for drilling and a crystal room full of geodes and rocks," Blevins says. Explore the replica mines, where the sound of explosives will make you feel like a real prospector. 719-486-1229; leadville.com/miningmuseum
American Police Hall of Fame & Museum Titusville, Fla.
Sit in an electric chair, take a helicopter ride and visit an indoor shooting range. Those are only a few of the options at this hall of fame and museum. "It's also the nation's first police memorial dedicated to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty," Blevins says. "Interactive displays, simulators and 11,000 artifacts educate the public about the history and current trends of American law enforcement." 321-264-0911;aphf.org/museum.html
World Kite Museum and Hall of Fame Long Beach, Wash.
"This facility is the only American museum dedicated exclusively to the 2,000-year history of kites and tethered flight. The Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to kiting, including George Pocock. He used kites to pull carriages in 19th-century England," Blevins says. 360-642-4020; worldkitemuseum.com
Cajun Music Hall of Fame and Museum Eunice, La.
"The reason for this hall of fame is to recognize musicians who would otherwise be forgotten," Blevins says. "Located within a converted one-room country store, the facility includes handmade accordions and fiddles made locally." Hear live Cajun music on Saturday nights down the street at Liberty Theater. 337-457-6534; www.lsue.edu/acadgate/cajunmus.htm
National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum Hayward, Wis.
"This four-building complex includes a space dedicated to those who have contributed to the sport as well as the 'Shrine to Anglers,' a concrete, steel and fiberglass building hand-sculpted into the likeness of a leaping fish. Its innards are a museum to angling," Blevins says. "The adjacent buildings display more than 50,000 sport-fishing artifacts, including 1,000 outboard motors and more than 400 skin fish mounts." 715-634-4440; freshwater-fishing.org
Intel Museum Santa Clara, Calif.
"A timeline highlighting the pivotal people in microprocessor history provides an informal hall of fame at this Silicon Valley destination of choice," Blevins says. Located within Intel's corporate headquarters, the museum has interactive displays that allow you to type your name in binary code, build transistors or glimpse into the brains and memory of computers. 408-765-0503;intel.com/museum
International Space Hall of Fame Alamogordo, N.M.
"Space pioneers from around the world, including researchers, scientists, astronauts, writers, artists and others who are continually pushing the boundaries of space, are honored here," Blevins says. "Housed within the five-story New Mexico Museum of Space History are space-related artifacts, including an actual moon rock." So much early NASA manned space research was done in the nearby Tularosa Basin that this area is known as the birthplace of space. 877-333-6589; nmspacemuseum.org/halloffame
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum Waco, Texas
"This Hall of Fame honors the Texas Rangers who served with great distinction or gave their lives while in this elite law enforcement agency," Blevins says. "Among the numerous displays, which include photographs, antique badges, saddles and knives, is a unique firearm collection covering nearly 200 years." Save time for a game of horseshoes in nearby Cameron Park, one of the largest municipal parks in Texas. 254-750-8631; texasranger.org