One of the things I find most difficult about teenagers is trying to decide what to do for their birthday. Teenage party ideas often involve requests for house parties (and oh my god alcohol!), and that’s not something I’m willing to think about yet. My kids also like to tag along to each other’s events, so there’s often mixed age groups, which makes it even harder to strike the right balance. Over the summer we were offered the chance to try a Hollywood Bowl Ultimate Kids Party Package for my Evan’s 12th birthday; Maddie, at 14, wanted to come too, so we ended up testing out Hollywood Bowl Stevenage with 10 kids aged 11-15. Here’s what we thought:
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We were given our kids bowling party free of charge so that we could review the package. However all opinion, words and imagery are mine.
Hollywood Bowl – a fun place to go for a teenage birthday
What you get for your money
On arrival, we were greeted by our host. Hollywood Bowl allocate a member of staff per party to take care of everything you need, from drinks to getting set up to bowl, and even tips on technique. We were given a private lane filled with balloons and plenty of jugs of water and squash to keep the kids hydrated while they played. I’d highly recommend pushing the boat out here, and booking the VIP lanes (from £1 per person, per game) for the little extras that my kids were made up with – pool-style balls, neon coloured pins, and comfy padded seating (okay it was me who was impressed by that – I don’t think the kids sat down for the whole hour).
Once he’d got everyone set up, our party host dipped in and out as we played, never too obtrusive, but never far away if we needed advice. I even caught him giving tips on technique, which the kids were really impressed with. He told us his own personal best, and the best scorer overall at the centre (a little old man who comes every Saturday night to play 10 games all by himself – I love that idea, and have added it to my retirement plans)! They boys then got stuck in trying to beat that, whilst the girls got down to the serious business of picking out the ball guaranteed to get them a strike.
As part of the party package, you get an hour of play time, so depending on how fast you bowl, you can play as many games as you like. Our ten children got 2 games out of 2 lanes.
Is food part of the package?
The children’s party package includes unlimited squash in the lanes, and a hot meal afterwards. We had burgers, chicken nuggets and spaghetti bolognaise, but there was also the option of a hot dog, and a vegetarian pasta. Teenage party bookings include adult meals from the main menu, with mocktails and slushies to make everything a bit more grown up.
What the kids thought
For me, bowling was the perfect party activity, because it was suitable for all ages, and girls and boys loved it alike. It actually got our summer off to a brilliant start, as the different friendship and age groups all mixed and bonded over the activity. It meant that everything we did as a family over the school holidays went much more smoothly, as they were all friends already. The kids loved being able to change their names on the console (standard jokes!), the balloons and drinks, and the personal attention of our host. They definitely upped their games, and went home with some strikes and spares to brag about. Although ours was a complimentary party, I’d have no hesitation in booking again, although next year I might book the teenage package.
Good to know:
We reviewed the Ultimate Kids Party Package, which includes:
- One hour of unlimited bowling
- Scrummy kids meal served after the game
- Unlimited squash for you and your guests
- A host to help take care of your party
- Balloons waiting for you at the lanes
- A free game voucher for every child
- Party invites: collect for free or we’ll post them to you for only £3.99
- Our Ultimate Party Package with VIP lanes at Stevenage would have cost £11.59 per child. Centre prices vary.
Right now, you can get 10% off a kids party if you book during September. Head to your closest centre to find out prices and make a booking.