Little Miss A had her first experience of bowling a couple of weeks ago at Hollywood Bowl in Milton Keynes.
We were offered the opportunity to host a bowling party for Little Miss A as the venue has been refurbished. As we were really busy around the time of her birthday in March and I was heavily pregnant, we decided that it would be nice to have a party for her after Baby R was born to give her a special treat and put the focus on her for the day.
Hollywood Bowl is located within Xscape MK which I've never been to. I was surprised how much was here - along with the bowling alley, there's a cinema, an indoor ski slope, plus lots of places to eat and some shops. You could easily spend a whole day here!
We met those we'd invited in the foyer of Hollywood Bowl. The children were quite happy waiting for others to arrive as there were lots of arcade games. The kids are still of an age where they're happy to just sit on things and press buttons with no money having to be spent!
We were greeted by our dedicated party host who explained what would be happening. Once everyone had arrived we were taken to our bowling lanes which were decked out with balloons.
We had 1 hour of unlimited bowling which was enough for 1 game and a bit for our group. As the majority of kids were 3, they all used the ramp and had the side bars up along the lane to help them out. Our party host put all their names into the computer and then sat them all down for a quick briefing before they were let loose with the bowling balls. The host made sure that we had enough of the right size balls for our group so that no-one had to wait to take their turn to bowl.
For most of the children, including Little Miss A, it was their first experience of bowling and it was definitely a positive one. Some took a little longer than others to get into it, but then they were all having a go. They all particularly liked waiting for their ball to arrive back up through the machine!
Jugs of squash were provided during the games and the kids all received stickers when they got a Strike or just for having a go!
Once time was up, our party host gathered the kids together for a group photograph before escorting us to the Diner - Harry's Kitchen - for the food. I loved the decor in the restaurant, particularly the full scale pink Cadillac car!
Our party host had taken the food orders from the children whilst they were playing so pretty much as soon as they sat down the food was ready which was great as there's nothing worse than a long wait with hungry kids!
Before we left, we were provided with a framed copy of the group photo and also each child received a free game voucher so they can re-visit in the future.
There are two Children's Party Packages at Hollywood Bowl available and prices start from £7.99 per child. This seems a very good price as food is included with these packages and the food looked really good - all the kids tucked in.
My last visit to a bowling alley was years ago and they've certainly moved on since then. It's definitely been made more exciting with fun graphics when you score, music videos playing on the big screens and funky signage. Some of the parents, including us, had babies with us (Baby R was just 4 weeks) but the noise and lighting didn't seem to bother them at all.
I think the party goers were just about the right age for a bowling party. I wouldn't recommend for much younger. At this age the kids didn't really understand the scoring and it was just about having fun, there were no winners or losers. I think the parents were more excited when their own kid got a Strike or Spare than the kids themselves!
Little Miss A really enjoyed her first experience of bowling and she still talks about her party and seeing her friends. It was right up our alley for a fun treat for her. Thanks goes to those parents and their children who came along to make her party so enjoyable. I'm sure we will be going bowling again in the near future.
Disclaimer: We were provided with this Party Package at Hollywood Bowl in return for this review but all opinions are my own.
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