Our friend, Wendy, just threw a super fun birthday party for her son and we asked her to give us the scoop on the Albany Bowl as a birthday party destination (no, Berkeley residents, it's not a grocery store but a real bowling alley!). Wendy Copley writes about cooking, crafts, parenting and her obsession with lunch boxes at Wendolonia.
We recently celebrated my son’s sixth birthday with a party at Albany Bowl. I’m here to testify that this is one great place to throw a birthday party! The kids have fun and the grown-ups barely have to do anything.
What you get:
- One hour of bowling for the party guests (plus shoe rental). They lower the regular lights on your lanes and turn on a blacklight and a disco ball for the bowling! They also put up bumper guards for kids 9 and under so you don’t have to worry about the disappointment of gutter balls.
- A visit from a giant, dancing anthropomorphic bowling pin in the gender of your choice. This is much more fun than you might expect.
- One hour of party time at a table behind your lanes.
- Pizza and soda.
- Paper plates, napkins and cups and balloons.
- Coupons for two free games of bowling for each guest and temporary tattoos.
- A party host to set up and clean up (yes!), get the bowling computer set up and just generally help you out.
What you provide:
- Cake and ice cream
- You are allowed to bring in an additional fruit/veggie tray, crackers and juice boxes if you want to try to make the pizza lunch feel more nutritious.
- If you want to provide goodie bags beyond the free bowling coupons you’ll need to bring those too.
What you pay:
- $20/child with an 8 child minimum.
What else you should know:
- You need to tell your guests to arrive about 15 minutes before the start of your party so they can get their bowling shoes on and be ready to bowl at the start of the bowling hour.
- The kids will walk by about a million arcade games on the way in and will likely beg to play them. We didn’t anticipate this so it was something we needed to manage during the party. We bought $20 worth of tokens at the end of the pizza time and divided them up among the boys which made them gloriously happy.
Hours and days:
- Parties slots are available Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00am – 1:00pm, 1:30pm – 3:30pm and 4:00pm – 6:00pm
Bottom Line: This was the easiest birthday party I’ve ever put together for one of my kids. Having virtually no work to do allowed my husband and I to relax and enjoy my son’s birthday with him instead of freaking out and running around the whole time. Most of the children in attendance had never bowled before, but they were really enthusiastic about it and I think they all had fun. For more information visit: albanybowl.biz/parties.html or call (510) 526-8818.
[All photos provided by Wendy Copley, all rights reserved]