If you’re looking for a fun, indoor activity that will appeal to the whole family, bowling may be right up your alley! (Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves.) Here in New Jersey, there are plenty of bowling facilities that offer year-round fun: small-town/neighborhood bowling alleys that offer traditional games with modern touches, such as automatic scoring and gutter bumpers; and newer, flashier bowling alleys that feature high-tech bells and whistles like interactive games, video walls, and glow ball. In addition, fun centers throughout the state often include bowling alongside laser tag and video arcades. And bowling alleys are an ideal spot for low-maintenance birthday parties, play dates, and weekend day trips.
Oakwood Lanes – Washington
This clean, modern bowling alley accommodates guests of all ages, with features like bumper bowling, electronic scoring, a snack bar, and arcade. On Wednesday afternoons, the lights come down for Glow Bowling with neon pins, lanes, and balls. The Sunday youth-adult leagues are a great opportunity for family time and even offer a free trial week. Birthday party packages are available.
STRYXE lanes offers a high-tech experience, with more than 30 interactive variations of bowling.
STRYXE – Madison
Jazz up the traditional bowling experience with high-tech embellishments at STRYXE lanes. Try more than 30 interactive variations of bowling, with custom features like themes, photos, and live chat between lanes. The games don’t end with bowling. Hit the boardwalk-type arcade for ski-ball, Pac Man, 4D experiences and more, and even rack up prize tickets. If you work up an appetite from all the games, check out The Gastro Pub Eatery for full-service fare or Laneside Eats for pizza and comfort treats.
Laser One – Wantage
This 6,000-square-foot indoor arena is bursting with activities, including laser tag, mini golf, arcade games, and bowling. The compact, four-lane bowling alley accommodates up to 10 players and uses unique, smaller-sized balls. All of these activities in one location make Laser One an ideal birthday party spot.
Colonial Bowling – Lawrenceville
Laser tag, video games, and bowling are all part of the fun at Colonial Bowl. Kids will enjoy the 24 lanes of bowling, along with lane-side food, comfy couches, 250-square-foot JumboTron units by each lane, and glowing lanes, balls and shoes. The younger set can give Mini “Rollerball” Bowling a try, with smaller, lightweight balls. Amp up the fun with more than 80 video games for prizes and a 3,000-square-foot, multi-level laser tag arena. Friday nights are Family Fun bowling nights. Party packages with bowling and laser tag are available.
When you've had enough bowling, check out Bowlero's arcade and laser tag arena.
Bowlero – North Brunswick
This decked-out bowling center features video walls, blacklight lanes, and touch-screen food options. The fun continues in the facility’s arcade, complete with 4D adventures alongside old-fashioned video favorites. Plus, you can burn some energy at Bowlero’s Urban Mission Laser Tag arena. Birthday party packages include bumper bowling and arcade games.
Jersey Lanes – Linden
This extensive, 42-lane facility has been around for more than 50 years but boasts all the latest bowling technology, including automatic scoring and synthetic lanes. The younger set can opt for bumper bowling and can even take part in youth leagues that start as young as age 5. A video arcade and snack bar round out Jersey Lanes’ bowling experience. Birthday party packages include use of the Circus Mini Bowling game.
The Funplex – Mount Laurel
There’s so much to do at the day trip–worthy Funplex, bowling included! You can easily spend the day conquering the 16-lane bowling alley, bumper cars, go-karts, video arcade, laser tag, and much more. Plus, in the warm weather, add the outdoor Splashplex to the mix.
Garwood Lanes – Garwood
If you’re looking for a simple and traditional bowling experience, bring the family to Garwood Lanes. This eight-lane neighborhood alley offers computerized scoring, bumper bowling, and lane-side grub like burgers and hot dogs. The inexpensive rental and game fees make it a great spot for spontaneous weekend outings, after-school meet-ups, and birthday parties.
Playdrome Lanes – Toms River
Enjoy bowling down the shore at this Toms River establishment, which has been in operation for more than 50 years. Playdrome features 24 lanes with automatic scoring, bumpers, and Sunday afternoon glow bowling. Junior and bumper leagues, as well as birthday parties, are all part of the family-friendly fun here.
Mouse Trap Lanes – Woodbine
While smaller in size, this Cape May facility appeals to the youngest bowlers-in-the-making, with automatic bumpers and ramps for easy ball rolling. Check the website for budget-friendly specials, including $2 games on Tuesdays and the Friday Family Special, with bowling and pizza. Bring your post-bowling appetite to Mouse Trap Lounge for a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner fare.
The Big Event – Cherry Hill
Formerly Playdrome of Cherry Hill, this bowling alley recently underwent a $2 million renovation and reopened with a new name and a lot of new attractions. These include 36 lanes, along with an arcade, Lazer Maze, a rock wall, sticky wall, billiards, ping pong, a cafe, and a VIP suite for parties and events. The Big Event offers specials every day of the week, including Friday Family Fun Night.
Top photo: Colonial bowling has smaller, lightweight balls for younger kids. Photos courtesy of the lanes.