Cypress Lanes enthralls orb-launching visitors with rounds of bowling within its 40-lane facility. Imperfect aiming abilities receive a boost by bumper lanes, and all players can chase their perfect-game dreams during open bowl or by joining adult leagues or youth programs. Each Friday and Saturday night partakers can attend 90-minute Rockin' Bowl outings to enhance sessions with a thumping sound system, special-effect lights, and prizes such as bowling pins that clatter to the exact bassline of "Stairway to Heaven" when knocked down. Between frames, customers can relax on Cypress Lanes' outdoor smoking deck, peruse the pro shop, or compete in rounds of air hockey or Deal or No Deal in a redemption game room stocked with assortments of new prizes every week. Striker's Sports Cafe reenergizes clientele after each game with delectable bar fare, before they head to the outdoor batting cages to try to whack incoming 38- to 78-mph baseballs, 25-mph softballs, and disguised grapefruits.
For more than 50 years, family-owned Pin Chasers alleys have been adding perks to the bowling basics. Leagues for all skill levels, six-week lesson plans, and the immersive light shows of late-night Cyber bowling entertain families with the fundamentals. It's when the scoring systems—equipped with touchscreen consoles and customizable backgrounds—boot up or the automatic bumpers raise between turns that players might first take notice of their high-tech surroundings. As for service, the inviting staff hand out complimentary bowling shoes and socks, and will assist guests in picking out the right type of ball rather than noisily sandblasting one down to size when it doesn’t fit. The full-service cafes also manage to defy expectations by serving breakfast fare around the clock.
Friendly employees and full bars span each of Pin Chasers' three locations, but other amenities differ. Visitors can aim cues at Veterans' four billiards tables, stretch their thumbs at East Pasco's arcade, or try to count all of Midtown's 50 lanes without first extracting their fingers from their bowling balls.
Someone's little brother shrieks, mournful at being too small to play laser tag with his cousins. Another youngster wants to bowl, but can’t pick up the ball. To Terrace Sports's manager, John McMillan, these are simple problems. A crew member scurries through the laser-tag arena, holding the toy gun for the little boy who would otherwise be too small to play. Another sets up a ramp at the top of a bowling lane, helping the toddler to push the ball into the pins with a satisfying clatter.
Smiling on as his staff solves such crises, McMillan strolls through Terrace Sports, which he remodeled after taking the reins from his father. Leading the way to the laser-tag arena, skating-rink, indoor-climbing wall, bowling alley, and arcade, murals stretch down the entryway, saluting the nearby Hillsborough River with more than 85 depictions of the waterway’s inhabitants, dynamic ecosystem, and naturally occurring steamboats. The entryway leads to the snack bar, where a full menu of gator tail, buffalo burgers, and sweet-potato fries glide down countertops handcrafted from teak and embellished by solid-brass elephant heads.
Entering the laser-tag arena gives one the sensation of delving into the interior of a complex machine, with mechanical parts strung with LED lights lining the walls and generating an eerie glow. Imaginations run wild as players choose to take on roles as monarchy loyalists or rebel forces, with both sides fighting for command of the heart of the machine and firing at one another's bases. The guns, powered by unlimited ammo, unleash streams of crimson and emerald light, and fiber-optic aiming ensures pinpoint accuracy. Vests beep when another player is taking aim, giving warriors a moment to find obstacles to hide behind or nearby portraits of themselves to hide in front of. On an observation deck, cheers rise from friends and chaperones as a 32-inch monitor displays scoring and live footage from six in-arena cameras.
Splitsville appeases appetites for flavorful fusion cuisine while satisfying fun glands with ample bowling and dancing opportunities. Among racks of vibrant, multicolored bowling balls and one of the world's largest pins, bowl over taste buds with an eclectic menu of contemporary cuisine. Sample a fresh selection from the sea with an array of artful sushi favorites, including california, volcano, and spicy-tuna tempura rolls ($7–$13). Those who wish to exercise their landlubbing legs can stay dry with saucy pizza delights ($9–$12). Educate tongues with one of Splitsville's specialty pies, such as the Island Club or Big Fat Greek, or build your own with an adequate supply of dough blocks, cheese cement, and pepperoni nails. To fully satisfy cravings for fancy fare, sink incisors into a signature plate, featuring the mahi-mahi tuna with voodoo shrimp to enchant molars and the chicken pinot grigio to intoxicate tonsils ($8–$19). While exploring the culinary possibilities, sip from a selection of specialty cocktails served in fishbowl-style stemware, in case you want to replenish the goldfish residing in your pocket that were pawned off the neighbor's kids.
Since 1960, Orange Bowl Lanes has facilitated friendly competition on 12 lanes, which cradle the throws of bowlers during open hours seven days a week and the more gutter-hugging curveballs pitched by league bowlers at night. Open until midnight on Monday and Wednesday, Orange Bowl Lanes keeps its doors ajar until 2 a.m. the rest of the week, providing night owls with something to do instead of counting the rhinestones on Orion’s Belt.
At World Bowling Center, slick spheres fly down 32 glistening wood lanes to obliterate perfectly placed pearly white pins. Use the touch-screen Brunswick Vector lower monitors to scrutinize scoring, or watch the upper monitors as they illustrate your fifth-straight gutter ball with high-tech graphics. The center's cosmic lighting system will bathe bowlers in a supernatural glow not unlike light dancing on thousands of sequins at a Liberace impersonator convention. Spend a good chunk of your day or night at World Bowling Center taunting friends and taking out frustrations on a group of hapless pinheads. Unlike other competitive sports, such as dogsled racing and rap battling, bowling has zero barriers to entry and a shallow learning curve.