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THE ROCK FATHER Magazine

Where the Toys Come From: A New Look at Step2 & their American Made Toys...

Step2 Brand AmbassadorI love toys. It's a simple statement of fact - but my passion for plastic has certainly been fed by the fact that my wife and I are the parents of two little girls... little ones whose interests are broad and diverse. Kinda like that of their parents. When I launched this website (now in year five), I had every intention of covering the toy industry through news, reviews and features - but had no idea that I'd eventually wind-up cashing checks from some of our favorite toymakers. One of my longest-standing relationships has been with The Step2 Company, for whom I've served as a toy tester and paid Brand Ambassador for the past few years. Now, as I've reached the mid-way part of my third (and final) year in this position, the curtain has been pulled back on the future of the company and the exciting new product line-up for the rest of 2015 and well beyond. Along with my fellow Ambassadors, I recently returned to Ohio to provide feedback and consultation on upcoming offerings in meetings with the marketing and development staff, and sat down with new President and CEO Chris Quinn. Step2 is a company that I believe in, and my latest adventure proved that they have some BIG surprises yet to come...

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The Second Annual Great American Road Trip is Coming...

Last summer, my wife and I loaded up the car and took The Rock Daughters on a 1,900+ mile road trip - our first true family vacation. We headed east from Illinois, making our way to Philadelphia at our farthest point. Over the course of six days, we would visit Sesame Place, The Crayola Experience, Hershey's Chocolate World, The J.M. Smucker Company Store & Cafe... and about 15 different rest stops along the way. And, because we did stop in Philly, I also tossed my taste buds in the ring for a round of cheese steak sampling with Pat's and Geno's (the battle rages on!). For 2015, we're doing it again, but I'm not telling you where we're headed just yet. The journey will be shorter, but the adventures will still be big - especially for the kids. Curious where we're headed? Keep an eye on my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook this week, and follow #RockFatherTour

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Hungry Jack Racing, Family and the Opportunity to Be Your Own Jack!

Disclosure: THE ROCK FATHER™ is a paid "Be Your Own Jack" Brand Ambassador for Hungry Jack. All opinions are that of James Zahn, because he is his own Jack. 

For the past couple of years, I've had the opportunity to work with my friends from The J.M. Smucker Company on a variety of cool projects that really align with what "The Rock Father" is all about. At the core of their business, it's all about family, and that's the same core that I have right here at Rock Father HQ. One of the most iconic brands they handle is Hungry Jack, bringing families together for the most important meal of the day: breakfast. But anytime could be a Hungry Jack mealtime, and for the next year, I'll be partnering with Hungry Jack to bring you some special features and opportunities that fit right into the lifestyle of families that rock. There will be reader giveaways, new product introductions and plenty of inspiration for you to "Be Your Own Jack." To celebrate the new partnership, we had a little kick-off gathering in Michigan with all of this year's Brand Ambassadors for some high-octane NASCAR fun... and we got things rolling appropriately on race day with a pancake breakfast! What was my weekend like? Read on, friends... read on!

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The Steampunk World's Fair Brings Victorian Sci-Fi to Families...

From May 15-17, The Steampunk World's Fair will be "firing up pistons and stoking the blast furnace" for a sixth year in Piscataway, New Jersey. Presenting activities for the entire family (including Gailia's Slightly Perilous Children's Wonderland for the younger kids) split between two hotels and beyond, this year's fest will be inhabited by craftspeople, costumers, artists, writers, musicians, circus performers and more - all creating a magical experience steeped in Victorian Sci-Fi.
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KIND & zulily to Host "Kindness Safaris" at 20 Zoos on May 16, including Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo...

On May 16, the folks from KIND and zulily will partner for Kindness Safaris to be held at 20 Zoos across the country. For friends in my home City of Chicago, Lincoln Park Zoo will be the center of the action from 10am-5pm, where families can take part in the safari, and kids can discover how being kind through simple acts can be fun, and really brighten the world around us. It's all part of the ongoing Kind Parents, Kind Kids program, which uses fun family activities to teach kids the importance of kindness year-round.

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Watch: Time-Lapse Video Shows Construction of Disneyland Park in One Minute...

Despite all the Disney coverage I post here on this site... and all of the trips to Los Angeles, it often surprises people when I reveal that I've never been to Disneyland. In fact, I've only visited Disney World and Epcot Center once - and that was back in 1988. One day, though - when my girls are a tad older, I will take them to these places, and I'll be just as excited as they are when we finally get to visit Disneyland as a family for the very first time. For now, there's a new bit of history that's arrived as part of the #Disneyland60 celebration that shows the construction of the park in just one minute thanks to some time-lapse video. Check it out below...

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Preview: FAST & FURIOUS - SUPERCHARGED to Open at Universal Studios Hollywood on June 25th!

FF LogoOne of my favorite places on the planet is Universal Studios Hollywood - despite having only spent a little under three hours there in February of 2014 on what I dubbed my "World's Fastest One-Man Tour of Universal Studios" (though I have visited Universal CityWalk a few times)The pictures were on my socials as I had just enough time to make my way down the hill to TRANSFORMERS: THE RIDE, back up to the famous park tour (thankfully, no lines!) and a walk around to soak in the vibe before hitting the gift shop and heading for LAX (I'd been in town on a project and the folks at NBC Universal were kind enough to spot me a badge for a quick visit). Now there's even more reason to head back (as if my girls' love of the MINIONS and my wife's HARRY POTTER fixation wasn't enough), as FAST & FURIOUS--SUPERCHARGED has been revealed to be opening on Thursday, June 25, 2015. Today, Universal Studios Hollywood sent over a link of some first-look footage of the new attraction, and you can see it below...

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MONSTERS OF ROCK Cruise: Poseidon's Revenge is coming...

At this point, there is a cruise for everything. No matter what the interest - from music to Disney to Star Wars - you name it, you can find a ship that has it going on. When it comes to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, the longest-running (and largest) is the MONSTERS OF ROCK CRUISE, which sets sail once more April 18-22. What rockers are riding the waves this time around? For 2015 it's Tesla; Europe; Night Ranger; Tom Keifer of Cinderella; Extreme; KIX; Queensryche; Krokus; The Winery Dogs; Stryper; Lita Ford; Black Star Riders; Y&T; Zebra; Black ’N Blue; Faster Pussycat; Honeymoon Suite; Tyketto; Keel; John Corabi; Kip Winger; Michael Sweet; Richie Kotzen; Mike Tramp; Joel Hoekstra; Derek St. Holmes; Ron Keel; Leatherwolf; Babylon AD; Bang Tango; Heavens Edge; Frank Hannon Band; Lillian Axe; Rhino Bucket; Pamela Moore; Gabbie Rae; Atomic Punks; and AJ’s Bravehearts. If you want to go, the folks behind the cruise just hit THE ROCK FATHER with info that there's just 34 cabins left. Read on for details... 

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E.Tree Phone Home? E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial makes mysterious appearance in Scotland...

It's a growing phenomenon, but the face of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has been making appearances in tree trunks with increasing frequency over the past few years. The latest such appearance comes from Scotland, where Billy Harley found one inside the trunk of a tree he was chopping for firewood. Harley, owner of the Uig Hotel on the Isle of Skye (whose publicist contacted Rock Father HQ this morning with the photo) recalls the moment he found the image of the lovable alien staring back at him...

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Test Drive: Rockin' the Road - 2016 Kia Sorento Review

When putting a new vehicle to the test, there's nothing better than experiencing it through a diverse array of conditions to get a true grasp on how it functions under real-world conditions. Attending the National Press Introduction of the all-new 2016 Kia Sorento last month in California, I had a chance to take two models of the new Sorento (AWD Turbocharged 4-cylinder, AWD V6) through multiple climates and altitudes through the legendary Sierra Nevada mountain range, out through the plains and into the Nevada desert. What the Sorento delivered was an impressive and powerful combination of style, performance and comfort that rivals all other competitors in the increasingly crowded crossover class, warranting a serious look for families that are ready to rock the road.

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PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent) Blogger Step2 Brand Ambassador Lalaloopsy Brand AmbassadorWWE Brand Amabassador PEANUTS Brand Ambassador 2014 Fox Home Entertainment Insider - Blogger of the MonthNETFLIX Stream Team - 2014 memberLife of Dad The Rock Father is a Weave Made Media InfluencerSocial Fabric

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