Sandhills Bowling Center
April 10, 2016
We celebrated my youngest daughter’s 9th birthday Friday night at Sandhills Bowling Center. We don’t typically do big parties but every few years we splurge a bit and go for it. I’m most content doing a small family dinner or cookout with our closest friends for their birthdays. Most of the time we do something like that combined with a family trip or outing. But this year Miss. Nine really wanted to have a bowling party for some reason. Third grade seems to be a big year socially and since last year she didn’t have a party at all and her birthday was actually overshadowed by the death of my husband’s grandfather, we figured we would go for it.
I booked the bowling alley 3 weeks prior. It was super simple, we just called them and let them know the date and time and put down a $40 deposit. They called me the day before to ask our numbers and that was pretty much it. Unfortunately(almost) they were having technical difficulties on Friday so I received a phone call at 4:30 letting me know we may have a problem. (Party was at 6) Betty(I hope that’s right) was super kind and said they had been having trouble and we had two choices at this point 1) reschedule and get the party free at a later date. Which I thought was super generous and over the top customer service; or 2) go on as planned and hope that it’s fixed in time of the party. If not we would entertain them with the arcade and music as a back up plan. Calling 20 nine-year olds was not appealing to me and neither was having to reschedule, so I told her to just keep going as planned and we will hope for the best.
Luckily the system was up and ready to go at 6pm, so all was fine! (WHEW!) We had a 2 hour span of time and 20 kids show up although we expected 15. Sandhills Bowling Center provides you with a party planner that manages everything. As guests arrived she took care of getting them their shoes and putting them into a game. The kids played for an hour and then sat for pizza. (Pizza is optional and you must book that in advance, I ordered on Thursday when she called to confirm my #s) We simply ordered 2 cheese and 1 pepperoni pizza and had it double-sliced. So 48 slices in total and there was plenty. I recommend ordering pitchers of water to save on cost. Cheese was $13/pizza and pepperoni $15. You are not allowed to bring in outside food (except your cake). In hindsight we probably could have skipped the pizza, it was tough to get them all to sit and eat anyway and it would’ve saved us quite a bit of cash if we had opted out of that.
The kids finished eating and had a few more minutes to run back and forth to the arcade and bowling until we cut the cake. Our party planner took care of clearing the table and setting everything up. You are allowed to bring your own decor, but they do provide it as a part of the package. They included table cloths, plates, utensils, cups, and goodie bags for each party-goer (including 4 tokens for the arcade). It was bowling/party themed and worked fine for us so I was happy to not have to bring extra supplies.
The evening went very well, it was seamless and easy for me to just watch the kids and not really worry too much about anything else. Miss. Nine took her gifts home instead of opening there, we didn’t want to stop the action for that and it was just easier to bring them all home with only 2 hours window for fun.
The cost was a bit higher than I would normally pay for a party. Anything over $200 makes me uncomfortable and this was about double that. So be sure to go in knowing how many kids will be coming. We had 12 RSVPs on Thursday and I told them 15 would likely come…20 came. That definitely added to the cost. So people…RSVP to parties! I’m talking to myself here too, I’m the worst at remembering to RSVP.
Overall it was a great experience. The staff and owner are wonderful and accommodating. In reality, I am not sure we will do a party here again. This was our second one here as our oldest had one when she turned 8. As great as they manage it I do feel the cost is a bit too high. If the boys want a bowling party I think we will just do a small-scale bowling outing with their friends instead of a full-fledged party because in reality the kids didn’t care anything about the party table, stopping for food and cake or goodie bags; which is really what you are paying for. Unlimited bowling and unlimited arcade time is all they really wanted to do anyway. I imagine their age played a part in this.
Thanks to Sandhills Bowling Center for a good experience!