We walked into the bowling alley for a birthday party, and I was immediately struck with the smell or lack thereof – No Smoking! I was pleasantly surprised because this bowling alley was clean, had fresh carpet, no loud music and was not overcrowded for early Saturday afternoon. The attendant behind the counter greeted us and recognized that we were there for a party. He asked my daughter for her shoe size for the bowling shoes and cordially directed us to the party area.
Kids Birthday Party at Bowl America
There were three kids’ birthday parties simultaneously, but they did not encroach on each other. The parties were all on the same side of the facility, but were separated by ample space. The party tables were all set up with table cloths, bright blue plates, yellow napkins and ice water with cups. It was very festive, bright and fun.
The children all got to bowl as much as they could during the party. They had plenty of lighter-weight balls for younger children. They also had the parties very close to the bathrooms, which made it easier for the parents to supervise. The diaper changing tables were located in another area which appeared to be an employee storage room.
The food varied for each party, depending on the party package. Most of the parties ordered pizza. The teenager that attended our party was extremely attentive. She did a head count (for determining the charge), she continued to check on the party throughout the two hours, and asked the birthday girl’s mom when she wanted food delivered.
After bowling for a while, the pizza arrived. The cheese on top looked delicious and the crust was on the thicker side. The soda was served in large pitchers with ice. At additional cost, our hosts ordered food for the adults as well. This was served at another table. The chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks and french fries were typical, fried, bar food.
The bowling alley does not provide the birthday cake and candles are allowed. Bowl America will provide ice cream cups (at an additional charge). All of the serving of the cake is handled by the family, not the staff. The facility will hold the cake in their refrigerator until it is ready to be served.
When the party was finished, all of the pizza was boxed up by the employees. The parents handled bringing the gifts to the car but the staff did the clean up throughout the event. At the end of the party, each child got a handful of tokens (as part of the party package) to use in the arcade. The arcade was bright, clean and open.
Bowl America Chantilly
After this visit, I have a renewed interest in bowling! I overheard the staff mention that the Chantilly Bowl America is known for being an excellent place for children because it is so clean. I was struck with how wholesome and relaxing the experience was for everyone. The party packages start at $15.95 (for hot dogs) and increase to $17.95 (pizza) per child. For 20 children and a few parents, you are looking at close to $400. There are many add-ons available for purchase.
For more information and pricing, go to www.bowlingparty.com. All Northern Virginia Bowl Americas follow the same pricing and party structure. This review focuses on Bowl America Chantilly, which is in far Western Fairfax, past Chantilly Auto Park, near the Cub Run Rec Center.
Photos by Andrea Verwys.