Bowling with Kids

It’s a beautiful day today, but don’t worry: we’ve got lots of rainy days ahead of us. So I wanted to add one more item to your list of indoor entertainment options: bowling! OK, I know it doesn’t sound that exciting. But I think once or twice a year, bowling can be just the right diversion for both you and the kids. Plus the photo opps are great, with all those retro colors and funky bowling shoes.

If you are in the Zurich area, I can recommend Fun Bowl Stockmatt at Zurichstrasse 183, Affoltern am Albis (about a 20 min drive from Zurich). It’s clean, friendly, and festively lit. It’s not cheap but it wasn’t as expensive as I had expected for Switzerland. On a Saturday, it was 6CHF per game per person (kids same price) and 2CHF/person for shoe rental. It’s slightly cheaper on weekdays. It’s never been crowded when we’ve been, but we’ve only been there in the afternoon, not an evening. It’s also a good spot for birthday parties (remember to take a pic of the birthday kid holding a ball with same number as their new age).

Here are a few places we’ve tried:

  • Fun Bowl Stockmatt in Affoltern am Albis. We’ve been to a few birthday parties here. It’s a cosy atmosphere and the staff is pretty relaxed and flexible.
  • Prestige Bowling in Dübendorf. We went to a kids’ birthday here. The bowling was fine but the atmosphere was a little clinical.
  • Bowling West in Schlieren. We got stuck in a back room past the kitchen with just a couple lanes, which was weird. The main room seemed fine, but it seemed more geared to happy hour adults than families.
  • The next one I want to try is Bowling Universum in Dietitkon. They offer a special family rate on Sunday mornings. They have fun space theme decorations on the walls and cool lighting.

Some things to note for little kids:

– Most places have lane bumpers for kids. At Fun Bowl, they were called “Kinderwand” (aka kid wall). You can ask the attendant to program the lane to only put up the bumpers when the kids are up and put them back down for the adults’ turn.

– All the bowling alleys we’ve been to in Switzerland have balls as low as 5 or 6 pounds, which is light enough for a four year old to at least roll between their legs. Now that I think of it, it’s funny that the balls are labeled with pounds, not kilos. I was using a #10 ball (yes, I’m weak), and I’m pretty sure that was no 10 kilos.

– Some places we’ve been only have bowling shoes size 30 and up. But little kids are usually allowed to bowl in their regular shoes or socks.

– It took us about 45-60 mins to play one game with two adults and two kids. My kids are usually up for two games.

– I think 5 years old is a good age to start, when they have enough concentration and strength to last a whole game. I took my son when he was three and four and after a few frames he was running around the alley, completely uninterested.

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