An Afternoon in the (Bowling) Lanes

A row of colorful bowling ballsIf you are a parent who has ever stared down the long tunnel of unstructured hours on a rainy day when your kids are home, then this is for you! It is also for parents who may have spent a busy day skiing or sledding; fishing or hiking or biking, and want an easy family activity to wind down. What could this amazing solution be?  Why, bowling of course!

Many people do not know that in the lower level of the storied Sun Valley Lodge, there is a Bowling and Game room. This full-service facility rents shoes and lanes and features a small arcade that kids just love. In fact, children’s birthday parties at the bowling alley are a locals’ favorite.

A vintage 1957 Sun Valley pinball machine

This vintage pinball machine from 1957 is one of the hidden treasures at Sun Valley's Bowling and Game Room. It isn't available to play, but it sure looks great!

On a rainy, chilly transition-weather kind of day this week (that just so happened to be the day there was no school due to parent-teacher conferences), I took my two favorite second graders to the bowling alley to blow off some steam.  With me loudly whispering, “Walk! Walk!” we quickly made our way down one of the Lodge’s plush hallways, surrounded on both sides by wonderful black and white photos documenting the Resort’s rich history and celebrity clientele. Then, with the Salon and Spa just ahead (what a perfect day it would be for a massage and a facial, but no!), we veer down the stairs to the Bowling and Game Room.

Jeremy, whose patience makes bowling with kids a pleasure

Jeremy, whose patience makes bowling with children a pleasure

The boys, who are repeat customers, make a beeline for the counter, or a beeline of sorts that includes a quick lap to see what video games are new. Finally, Jeremy helps me lace fidgety feet into bowling shoes and get the boys to our lane: lucky number six. They laugh so hard they can’t breathe as they try to hoist heavier balls in search of one that is the perfect weight. Without even needing to be asked, Jeremy throws up the bumpers, ensuring a successful and enjoyable bowling experience. Endless gutter balls really aren’t fun. Before it is my turn to throw a strike (ha!), I return to Jeremy once again.  If I can’t have a massage, I can at least have a beer.

The Bowling Alley and Game Room isn’t just for kids, though. I went on one memorable date there that was book-ended by drinks in the Duchin Room and dinner at the Ram Restaurant, and my friends and I gather in the brightly lit space a few times a year to enjoy a variation on dinner and a drink or dinner and a movie. Something about hurling a ball down a polished lane while wearing what are perhaps the ugliest shoes ever invented, encourages camaraderie, laughter and a chance to just relax. No bowling skills required.

When we re-emerge into the dusk and drizzle after a few games, I decide to treat the boys to the perfect ending to the afternoon. We stroll through the Sun Valley Village to the Chocolate Foundry, a confectioner that looks and smells exactly like you hope it would.  The old fashion store creates handmade treats certain to please everyone in your group.  After much debate, my group decides on truffles and fudge, smiling from ear-to-ear.

Delicious selections at the Chocolate Foundry

The Chocolate Foundry feeds every child's sugar fantasy

Whether you are a local or a guest at the Resort, be sure to spend some time at the Bowling and Game Room.  It will remind you that sometimes the simplest things are the most satisfying, and sometimes a rainy day is a gift.


The boys roll a great round at the Sun Valley Bowling and Game Room

The boys roll a strike -- or close enough