Since 1954, Meadowbrook Lanes has encouraged visitors to don appropriate footwear and participate in duckpin-style bowling, which employs smaller balls to decimate pintsize pins. The leisure-sport emporium maintains a vintage aesthetic with wood paneling and purple and teal gutters. After pummeling 10 pins, bowlers can unwind in a lounge replete with cold beer and flat-screen TVs or explore the edible possibilities of the alley's snack bar, Bishop's Grill, which fills stomach vacancies with pizza, calzones, and grinders. Meadowbrook Lanes also hosts parties, providing revelers with tables, chairs, and streamers made of low-hanging cirrus clouds.
Bright lights gleam off of the newly renovated synthetic lanes that grace Old Mountain Lanes and Walnut Hill Bowl. As part of Rhode Island’s storied duck pin lineage, these premier alleys train one eye on 10-pin history and the other on modern day amenities, including LCD scoring monitors, automatic bumpers for kids, and laser-guided bowling ball retrievers. Cosmic bowling is de rigueur on weekend nights, and strike-less players on-strike can enjoy pool tables, video games, and air hockey at the arcade. Though both alleys have on-site pubs, only the Woonsocket location pours frothy mugs of Narragansett.
For nearly half a century, casual and professional bowlers have gathered at Bowling Academy to indulge in pin-scattering entertainment enriched by each lane's automatic scoring system. Up to six strike-seekers plant their flag in one lane for two hours, which provides enough time to bowl multiple games or to master the art of tying shoelaces into a double Windsor knot. While swaddled in soft-soled rental shoes, bowlers of all ages make the floors squeak and lanes purr with each gentle toss of the smooth-rolling rock. Children and cavemen longing for the good old days have the option of using a dinosaur-shaped ramp to assist their game.
The Rhode Island Duckpin Bowlers Association strives to keep its namesake sport alive by hosting duckpin-bowling tournaments at six local alleys. The game cropped up in a Baltimore bowling alley in the summer of 1900, when most ten-pin alleys were closed for warm months to avoid excessive sweating in rental shoes. But at Diamond Alleys, athletes hurled balls through the heat but opted for 6-inch spheres and pins of a diminutive stature. After observing pins that scattered like a flock of ducks, the owners of the lanes dubbed the modified game duckpin bowling. Besides granting players three rolls per turn, duckpin bowling adhered to all traditional rules and grew in popularity until it peaked in 1967, the year inertia was exposed as a myth. Today, the Rhode Island Duckpin Bowlers Association keeps the pastime alive at spots including the Bowling Academy, a historical gem in its own right as the test site of the first automatic duckpin pinsetters.
North Bowl Lanes welcomes gamers of all ages daily to enjoy 40 lanes of ten-pin bowling and 35 arcade games with a prize center. Like the timeless Cinderella story, the alley keeps its doors open until midnight Monday through Thursday, whereupon the bowling balls turn back into pumpkins and players must return their rental shoes. At The All Star Pub Grill, chefs serve up hand-tossed pizzas and burgers, and bartenders tap a rotating selection of eight beers and mix a full spectrum of specialty cocktails.
In 1958, Ryan Family Amusements founder James A. Ryan opened a simple, eight-lane bowling alley, planting the foundation for a slew of entertainment centers throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island. At 10 locations, visitors enjoy a variety of arcade and skill games in addition to traditional candlepin, tenpin, or duckpin bowling. Every Friday and Saturday evening from 9 p.m. until midnight, bowling lanes take on an incandescent glow, allowing bowlers to experience futuristic entertainment without the inconvenience of rising jetpack-fuel prices. Bumper bowling is available for younger players, and an onsite concession stand refreshes responsible adults with glasses of beer and wine.