Friday, March 16, 2018

Free Kids* Bowling All Summer Long (cheap for adults too!)

This is a deal I've meant to try out (and cover here) in past years, but never have. Read on for more details ...

From the looks of their Facebook page, it appears that lots of people already know about and love this program. But I have never used it and only know one person who has. So I figured it was worth passing along.

Having not used the program, I might be fuzzy on some of the details - so please correct me if I'm wrong on anything here.

There appear to be LOTS of bowling alleys that participate in this program nationwide. In the PDX area, that includes both King Pins locations, Both Big Al's, Super Play, Grand Central, and other alleys in Wilsonville, Gresham, Milwaukie (2 of them), and probably more.

yes, this is the best bowling photo I could find of one of my kids!

The program appears pretty straightforward. Here's the key details I gleaned from their website:

a) Create an account at and register each of your kids* (ages 15 and under). If you register, please put my email ( in the referral box. It is unclear to me what (if anything) this gets me, but who knows! :)

b) This will give your kid(s) FREE** 2 games of bowling PER DAY from May through September. It appears that you get emailed a new voucher each week, or you can download an app they have and sign into your account.

c) You will need to specify a certain bowling alley, but it appears you could sign up for multiple locations (with different accounts).

d) You will be given the option to sign up for a "family pass" good for up to 4 adults (including kids 16+), for a flat cost of $39.99 (prepaid) for the entire summer. That price covers all 4 adults (not per person). You can sign up for the family pass at the time you register your kid, or come back and add it later (or add the names of the "up to 4 adults" later). But they do note that the number of family passes per location is limited each summer. So it might not be a bad idea to sign up soon??

e) *If you're following along closely, you may have noticed the single asterisk next to "kids" twice so far. That's because the website seems to imply (in their FAQ) that there's a POSSIBILITY that the "family pass" could be used by adults without kids. Might be worth a call to your local alley to ask. Here's what the FAQ says on the topic: "Do my children have to be there with me in order to play two free games on our Family Pass? It's designed to be used with your children during Kids Bowl Free hours at the center.  You may want to contact your local center to see if they'll allow you to use it without your children. You can find their phone number by visiting and then looking on the right hand side of the registration page for your center."

f) **The "free" kids pass (and the $39.99 family pass) do NOT include the cost of shoe rental. So you'll need to either rent each time, buy your own shoes (I see some as low as $30'ish on Amazon), or the website says some bowling alleys have an unlimited shoe rental pass (terms and availability likely vary by location).

g) Days and hours for which you can use this program vary by location. But: a) they are listed clearly on the sign-up page for each location, and b) the few I spot-checked seem to be VERY generous on available times (for my closest location it only seems to black out a few hours one evening - probably for league night?).

h) Your kids can play for free, even if you don't sign up for a family pass. But I assume they want supervision of young kids. And while they do seem to be targeting groups (schools, youth groups, etc.) on their Facebook page, their website FAQ does say: "Group outings are not allowed to use the Kids Bowl free game coupons.  Many centers depend upon group outings, child care field trips, etc. during the summer as one of their main sources of revenue."

Have you used this program before? If yes, let me know about your experience in the comments.

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