The colorful lights, the sparkle of the disco balls and that distinctive crash of the pins—it’s all part of the contagious fun of an afternoon at the bowling alley. But which local lanes are best for the little ones in your life? Whether you’re planning a birthday party or a special weekend outing, visit one of these wonderful bowling alleys in the Portland area to find friendly prices, regular discounts and deals, and an incredible variety of activities—for bowlers and non-bowlers alike.

photo: Patrick via flickr

Kids Bowl Free
Before deciding which of Portland’s bowling alleys best meets your family’s needs, take note that each of the facilities listed below participates in Kids Bowl Free, a summer program aimed at providing safe and fun recreation for children nationwide. Simply visit KidsBowlFree.com, click on the bowling alley you wish to visit and sign your kids up to receive two free games of bowling per day—all summer long.

Big Al’s
With 42 state-of-the-art bowling lanes and locations in both Beaverton and Vancouver, Big Al’s has long been beloved for its plentiful family-focused specials. Kids age 12 and under regularly bowl for just $2 per game, while the Family Fun Pack is an excellent deal for families of (at least) four. For just $13.50 per person, you’ll get eight games of bowling, shoe rentals for four people and a $20 fun card to use on arcade games, food and drinks or even more bowling. Just keep in mind that this package is only available from Sunday through Thursday.

14950 SW Barrows Rd.
Beaverton, Or
503-748-6118
Online: ilovebigals.com

16615 SE 18th St.
Vancouver, Wa
360-944-6118
Online: ilovebigals.com

Grand Central Restaurant & Bowling Lounge
Nestled in the heart of the inner east side, Grand Central is known for its tasty food, its plush décor and its 12 modern bowling lanes for guests of all ages. After hitting a few strikes or spares, your kids can escape to the second-floor game room, which features ski-ball, air hockey, four-way Pacman and other classic games. Grand Central also shines by offering a variety of kids’ party packages, from the $16.95-per-person Lucky Strike (which includes one hour of bowling, shoe rentals, game tokens, a pizza, unlimited soda and balloons) to the $25.95-per-person Incredibowl Package (which adds on an extra hour of party time, additional game tokens, cheeseburger sliders and cookies).

808 SE Morrison St.
503-236-2695
Online: thegrandcentralbowl.com

photo: James Broad via flickr

KingPins
The little ones are always welcome at KingPins, where you’ll find daily open bowling, lanes that can be reserved online, a 4,000-square-foot arcade and a Winner’s Court prize store stocked with toys and stuffed animals. Choose from one of the comprehensive and generous Kids Birthday Blast packages (which start at $17.49 per guest) or stop by on a weekday to enjoy KingPins’ version of the After School Special. From 2:30 until 5:30 p.m., students in grades K-12 receive two games of bowling, shoe rentals, a soft drink and a $5 arcade card for only $8.95 per person.

3550 SE 92nd Ave.
503-788-7889
Online: mykingpins.com

Nicoli’s Grill & Sports Bar
With more than 24,000 square feet of space, Nicoli’s Grill & Sports Bar is the place for bowling with a crowd in Lake Oswego. Choose the Silver, Gold or Platinum package for your child’s next birthday party and you’ll get a host, invitations, pizza, unlimited soda and, of course, bowling—as well as an option to build your own soft serve ice cream sundae. But even if you’re not looking for a party, Nicoli’s offers regular kids bowling for $2.50 per game and a fun-filled arcade with a card swipe system that accumulates points for prizes.

17880 SW McEwan Rd.
Lake Oswego, Or
503-726-4263
Online: sportsatnicolis.com

Park Lanes Family Entertainment Center
It’s not just the excellent bowling lanes that draw Portlanders to Park Lanes Family Entertainment Center—it’s the incredible variety of entertainment options. Bowl a few rounds with your kids and spend the rest of the day playing Ms. Pacman in the 4,000-square-foot arcade, practicing your swing in the onsite batting cages and exploring the three-story Jungle Maze. This enormous indoor structure includes twin spiral slides, side-by-side speed slides, two sky bridges and a tube crawl. Care to make a birthday out of it? Try the two-hour Strike Package for just $13 per child.

6360 SE Alexander St.
Hillsboro, Or
503-642-2161
Online: parklanes.net

photo: sharyn morrow via flickr

Sunset Lanes
Opt for open bowling or make an online reservation at Sunset Lanes, a Beaverton institution since 1963. Treat your kids to an After School Special of two games of bowling, shoe rentals, a soft drink and a $5 arcade card for $8.95 (on weekdays from 2:30 until 5:30 p.m.), or make a day of it by Bowling Family Style. Available each Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., this package offers groups of six a flat rate of $29.95 per lane—with shoes included. Planning a birthday? The Birthday Blast and the Birthday Blast Extreme both feature bowling, arcade games, pizza and the incomparable Ticket Tornado.

12770 SW Walker Rd.
Beaverton, Or
503-646-1116
Online: sunsetlanes.com

SuperPlay
Whether you’re catching a football game, gearing up for a laser tag battle or simply looking for a leisurely afternoon of quality bowling, you’ll find it all at SuperPlay in Beaverton. This well-equipped facility includes a 3,200-square-foot laser tag arena, 24 bowling lanes with virtual waiters and six high-definition projectors for popular sporting events. Best of all? The menu of special promotions is extensive and ever-changing, offering such gems as the After School Special ($5 for unlimited bowling with shoes or $10 for three games of laser tag) from 2 until 5 p.m. on weekdays.

9300 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy.
Beaverton, Or
503-292-3523
Online: superplayor.com

What is your favorite bowling alley in Portland? Let us know in the comments below!

— Maura O’Brien