What it is: Yes, that's right, bowling for toddlers! When someone suggested that we take my 2-year old bowling, I thought it was crazy. However, they insisted that it was fun, so we went. Turns out, they were right. Bowling is the perfect activity for a group of energy-filled toddlers. Who knew?
Mardi Gras Bowling offers standard bowling for any age. However, they do have special adaptations for the toddlers. When we arrived, they put up bumpers in the lanes so the ball wouldn't go in the gutter. Then, they set up a ramp so that the kids can set their ball on top and have it roll down the ramp and then down the lane with some speed. We were given lighter balls (6 lbs.) which my son, a very small toddler, could lift. However, he did need some help to keep it from falling on his foot and hoisting it up onto the ramp. The kids didn't need shoes, just socks, and adults didn't have to pay for a game if they were just going to watch their toddlers. In addition to bowling, Mardi Gras Bowling also offers an arcade and a concession stand with kid-friendly meals.
What we liked: We loved the reasonable cost ($3.79 for one game of bowling) and how you didn't have to pay for extras like shoes. But the best part for us was how much the kids enjoyed it. It seemed like this was truly a unique activity and one that can be done on rainy or cold days. The kids had plenty of things to look at and could get their energy out. We also liked that the center had the options of the arcade and snacks or a meal from the concession stand if we needed additional activites.
What we would change: This activity could prove difficult with toddlers for several reasons. First, if they bowling alley was crowded this would be very tricky. Our kids certainly weren't good at staying in their own lanes, so it is best to go early in the morning when it is not crowded. Secondly, the kids are endlessly fascinated by the ball return. Parents need to keep a careful eye on this because balls can pinch fingers and the mechanism itself can really damage someone's hand if it is stuck inside. In addition, on the morning when we went to Mardi Gras, we were unable to use the arcade because the change machine was broken. This was disappointing especially when our little guys needed a break from the bowling.
Website and other important information: Mardi Gras bowling is located off of Hwy. 54 just south of it's intersection with I-40 in Chapel Hill.
Address: 6118 Farrington Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517-8108
Phone Number: (919) 489-1230
Hours: Mon-Thu 10am-10pm; Fri-Sat 9am-1am; Sun 11am-10pm