our local bowling alley. This is a great indoor activity for children (even as young as 2). When we hit the lanes, we always go to Northgate Bowl in north Salem. This facility is clean, brightly lit, and staffed by friendly folks!
(The day we visited, at least ten of the lanes were being used
for an all-female, seniors’ league. All that white hair and the
matching bowling shirts--- it gives me hope for my future. I’m
planning to live it up ‘til the moment I drop on the dance floor.)
1) The alley has quite a few lanes with bumpers. With these in place, young bowlers are guaranteed to get at least one pin.
2) Lighter bowling balls are available by the front desk, but if it’s still too much to handle for your young child – ask to use ‘the ramp’. This simple metal frame allows you to place the ball at the top of a ramp so that players can push the ball down the ramp- down the lanes - and right into the strike zone.
3) Shoes are available for small, wiggly feet – but young children can bowl in just socks as well, if you wish.
4) Automatic scoring takes care of everything. While I encourage my youngest to count up his own score (sneaking in a bit of math there), the computer at each lane adds it all up, tells you who’s next and generally leaves you hands-free to take pictures of your favorite bowler.
5) Prices are reasonable with discounts for children under 13. My two kids played one game each (and rented shoes) for approximately $6.00.