Oklahoma City family fun surprises me sometimes.
Summer is nearing its end and the long days are growing shorter, even as my children have grown taller throughout these three months. We were so ready for the sunshine and now, somehow, it seems to have strengthened them, made them look like the pre-K and fourth grade students they'll be this fall.
We are prepared for a new school year and the back-to-school rituals begin. I decided to cut down on shopping in person this year and try online-only. It worked, thank goodness, because I don't have time or patience for lines anymore. Unlike last year, I didn't visit a single store. Instead, we went out and had more fun.
They'll remember this summer because of where we went and also because it's an Olympic year. That connection, random as it seems, marks the passage of time. My husband is five years older than I am and we're from different countries but we both remember the Summer Olympics of the '90s, how old we were and what else we were doing because jumping off of furniture in suddenly inspired acrobatic attempts and persuading our parents to enroll us in extracurricular activities.
I think Sam and Isaac have made good memories this year.
My sons visited the Wheeler District's Ferris wheel, tried an Oklahoma River Cruise, went bowling at Dust Bowl Lanes, ate a few snow cones that dripped down their elbows and packed some picnics. We started a new tradition of #ThrowbackThursday movie night, which means I'm sitting through "Field of Dreams" tonight. Sam tried Slide the City and we all made it through summer with something to talk about.
What that topic is, though, the one that stands out enough that my kids have an answer to "What did you do this summer?" has had me wondering all season. We talked about it this morning.
Sam and Isaac obliged me with an answer to the question that was the same, their favorite activity of the summer: bowling.
Their afternoon at Dust Bowl Lanes was the clear front runner.
We had never tried bowling before. Sam wrote about it here in a recent Kid Review.
What I liked about it is that the atmosphere is like a bowling alley from TV, friendly and perfect, with neon signs and chrome colors, classic and cheerful. Dust Bowl Lanes is not your granddad's bowling alley; the venue is smoke-free and planned with families in mind. There's nothing dingy about it.
Family hours are until 8 p.m., which helps keep the 21+ crowd from starting their night out until after bedtime hours.
Fassler Hall is upstairs and a server can bring high-quality food to your lane. The vintage look and feel of the bowling alley is all that you'd expect without the fast food, beer and ashtrays I remember.
"Why bowling? What made that this summer's best activity?," I asked.
"Simple," said Sam, with all the self-assured confidence of his 9 years. "It was different. There was competition in a good way."
Yes, I think he'll remember the 2016 Summer Olympics.
There are seasonal specials at Dust Bowl Lanes, including promotions before Labor Day.
I have to end this post because someone clicked the remote and the U.S. gymnasts are up on NBC's familiar Channel 4 affiliate. Socks are coming off and my children are climbing the armchairs.
Enjoy summer's end!