SAN JOSE -- Michael Ingardia's father likes to joke he never changed his kids' diapers. But a quarter of a century later on Father's Day, Michael was proud to call himself a hands-on dad.

"It's different this generation," said Ingardia, a San Jose sales manager, cuddling one of his 22-month-old twins, Josephine, at History Park San Jose. "I do a lot of the cooking."

"Actually, he does all the cooking," his wife Vanessa bragged.

As the number of households with children under age 18 that are headed by male breadwinners dwindles -- now down to only 60 percent -- studies show fathers are spending more time with their kids. On a gorgeous spring Sunday, many of them were doing just that at History Park.

"There's no bigger joy," Ingardia explained smiling, "than a little girl hugging you around the neck like this."

Sixteen-year-old Phillip Fry and his dad, Wally, were at the park to work on a construction project for his Boy Scout troop's Eagle program. The $5 admission price Sunday was waived for fathers.

"My dad knows a lot about carpentry," Phillip said proudly.

Wally said being a good dad means taking responsibility, but not just financially.

"Your kids are pretty much like a mirror," he said. "What you put into them is what you see and what everyone else sees. Dad is the role model; he sets the example, teaches you right from wrong."

Then what are moms for?

"They're the ones who keep dads in line," Wally joked.


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As for his Father's Day present, "I get to watch my (13-year-old) daughter's dance recital."

Parenthood was investment real estate agent Robert Moore's top priority. For 10 years, he saved his money and invested it in high-tech stocks, then quit working to be a full-time dad while his wife, Maria Jose Moore, built her dental practice. Now his son is 20 and his daughter is 22.

"I have a fantastic relationship with my kids, better than any other father I know," Moore said. "I was the one with all the moms at school events, the one they ran to. Now, I'm working hard again to catch up because we don't have enough for retirement. But it was worth it."

Band teacher Todd Ingelson, of Chico, and his family decided to check out History Park after spending time on the coast. Now that school is out, he is happy to spend more time with his own children.

"I'm not sure what the payoff is in being a father," he joked. "I'm still waiting for a condo in Hawaii."

His daughter Aline, 13, had an even better present in mind -- one perfectly tailored for Silicon Valley. She plans to be a genetic engineer.

"I'll be able to fix their DNA code," she said, referring to both parents, "so they won't age and we can be together."

Contact Tracey Kaplan at 408-278-3482. Twitter.com/tkaplanreport.