At Van Houten Lanes, bowling balls thunder down the waxed stretches of 16 AMF synthetic lanes—and crash through the neat rows of AMF pins waiting at the end. All the while, an AMF automatic scoring system keeps an up-to-the-minute record of each player's successes and struggles. And yet bowling isn't all that this modern alley has to offer—a large-screen TV, pool table, and an internet-connected jukebox render the cocktail lounge comfortable enough to pass for "the new apartment" when parents come to visit. The bowling facility's café fuels play with cheesy calzones and signature Hoboken-style 32-inch pizzas—all of which can be washed down with craft beer from Flying Dog Brewing. Thanks to these ample amenities, including family-friendly touches such as lane bumpers, Van Houten Lanes frequently hosts events ranging from children's parties to fundraisers.
Lincoln Cinemas's five screens host a range of Hollywood hits, including popular blockbusters as well as 3-D features. The movie house also keeps the concession bar stocked with fresh popcorn and other light bites such as hot dogs and nachos, all of which can be washed down with soda, coffee, or laughter.
At Winter Garden Ice Arena, families slice ice during public skate sessions or slap pucks into goals during adult or youth hockey leagues. There are also figure-skating programs, and the center’s icy confines and private party room make ideal meeting grounds for children’s birthday parties.
A quartet of regulation-size NHL ice rinks live inside Ice House. There, attentive zambonies smooth things over for hockey players, figure skaters, and recreational skaters. Youngsters, high schoolers, and adults can each sign up for amateur hockey leagues, and anyone can learn to turn, stop, and avoid flying flower bouquets in U.S. Figure Skating Association-sanctioned programs. If they stick with it, students may be able to follow in the blade-steps of Olympic gold medalists Tara Lipinski, Oksana Baiul, and Sarah Hughes?each of whom used the Ice House as their primary training facility.
Under the umbrella of The Bowling Proprietors' Association of North Jersey, an eclectic group of alleys work together to fill the region with the thunder of scattering pins. At most of Bowling Proprietors' bowling centers, bowlers keep track of pummeled pins with automatic scoring, and bumpers, which arrive at the call of a button, keep balls on course without filling the gutters with retired VCRs. Snack bars at some locations bolster ravenous bowlers, and game rooms in select centers keep hand-eye coordination in peak condition. Free WiFi is available in some centers so that winners can exercise bragging rights.
The Scholastic Store meshes storytime and playtime, sneaking play spaces and interactive kiosks in between stacks of popular children's titles. In Clifford the Big Red Dog's comfy doghouse, parents and kids equipped with toys, books, and pretend play items act out classic Clifford tales, such as Clifford Goes to Law School, before skipping off hand in hand with a Clifford audio book ($9.95). Burgeoning bookworms can schedule bookstore visits to coincide with in-store events to take advantage of free author readings and thrice-weekly storytimes.