Venue name: Dust Bowl Lanes, 421 N.W. 10th St.
Kid Reviewer: Sam Roldán, 9 years old
What made the experience stand out?
My family had never been bowling before so it was a totally new experience. I expected bowling to take a long time but it didn’t feel that way at all. More than an hour went by while we had been taking turns between my Dad, my Mom and my brother. Bowling has a lot of different details that I think kids will like but that adults don’t think are as interesting because they’ve already seen them: you get to wear funny shoes, some of the bowling balls weigh more than others and the lanes are covered in oil, so you can’t walk on them. Adults don’t always notice what’s fun anymore but those things stand out to kids.
What was the best part?
My Dad and I were on one team and my Mom was on a team with my brother, Isaac. I liked playing a game together that wasn’t just sitting in one place. Bowling was even better than when we play board games because it was more like a sport than a game. Isaac is only 4 so we have to play a lot of Candy Land. I felt more entertained and challenged. It’s not every activity where we both have fun since I’m almost five years older than he is.
What was the worst part?
The bowling balls get stuck sometimes and you have to ask for help since the lane is slippery. It’s not allowed to just walk down there. Learning the rules is also a little tricky.
Will other kids like the activity and why?
Definitely! I can’t imagine anyone not having a good time at bowling now that I know what it is. It isn’t the same as bowling at an arcade. There are lighter bowling balls just for kids and some special side rails (bumpers) so your ball stays on the lane. You can buy food and no one has to stop bowling to go get it because a server will bring it to you.
Did your siblings enjoy it?
I saw that Isaac was very happy doing it, yes. I thought it would be too many rules for a smaller kid to follow but he did just fine. Our baby stayed asleep almost the whole time, even with the crashing noise the bowling balls make.
If you could bowl again knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
I wouldn’t worry about not knowing what to do. The employees can help you get shoes that fit and tell you how to play.
Does what you saw match up with anything you're learning in school or have seen before in a book, on TV, etc.?
I checked out a book from the library about bowling to get an idea of what we’d be doing but that’s not really necessary. It’s not difficult to learn. I liked seeing how the bowling balls are returned and I’d like to learn more about how the machines work that make all the pins stand up again.
What do you think you'll remember most about having done this activity?
I’ll remember the fun we had playing indoors on a hot day. I’d really like to have my tenth birthday party there.
[Mom's Note: The venue was created with families in mind: it’s smoke-free and incredibly clean, the bar isn’t front and center and food can be brought to your lane. Bowling hours for families end at 8 p.m., which means the 21+ crowd is more likely to occupy the lanes at that time through close. The restrooms are equipped with changing tables. Private lanes where your family or group can spread out can be reserved. Both of those amenities made it easier to attend with our baby, Gabriel (18 months). Check for seasonal rates for as much as half off. ]
[Editor's Note: Read all our Kid Reviews at www.metrofamilymagazine.com/Kid-Reviews/]