Across nearly three-fourths of the United States, AMF Bowling Co. reverberates year-round as families, friends, and competitors send bowling balls in search of upright pins careening down slick lanes. The company first established itself as an industry leader in 1946, the same year the sport introduced automated pinspotters.
Today, more than 20 million bowlers annually make AMF their battleground for wars against pins. As the largest owner and and operator of bowling centers in the US, AMF locations offer high-tech scoring technology, a classic design, and a menu stocked with American-inspired classics such as wings, pizzas, burgers, and beer.
For more than 35 years, the sound of crashing pins has echoed from the lanes at Stonehedge Family Fun Center. During open hours, bowlers can catch the latest scores on the lounge's 55-inch flat-screen TV, share a pitcher or soda or freshly baked pizza from the kitchen, or head to the arcade to keep their wrists and fingers from atrophying between games. Starting at 10 p.m. every night, 16-foot screens display music videos amid the glowing light show of Lunar Bowling.
Inside Legend Lanes, pins scatter across 24 bowling lanes that pave synthetic avenues to legendary scores and equally impressive celebratory high-fives. Leagues, tournaments, families, and friends gather weekly to participate in the pin-pulverizing action, including on Friday and Saturday evenings, when cosmic bowling morphs each frame into an intergalactic experience. Bumpers barricade gutters upon request and, perched throughout the facility, 35 flat-screen TVs flicker with off-the-lane entertainment, ensuring players don?t get stuck talking to a retired ball about its oddly shaped scuffs in between turns. After games, competitors can celebrate real victories or moral victories inside the new Legend Lounge.
Sto-Kent has been wearing the CityVoter Best Bowling Facility badge of honor in Akron-Canton for the last three years. Strap on a pair of freshly sanitized bowling stilettos, find your favorite three-fingered pin-seeker, and shuffle to the greased-up lane for 20+ frames of bowling shenanigans. Once the pins have been pinsploded, head outside for a round of mini golf Sto-Kent style. Use the game to practice putting, challenge coworkers for microwave rights, or test AstroTurf's resistance to hot, steamy tears.
Beach volleyball and bowling lanes seldom come in the same package—unless you happen to be at Kent Lanes. The indoor and outdoor facility pairs two regulation-size silica-sand beach-volleyball courts with an expansive arena of polished lanes, letting competitors hammer spikes and orchestrate strikes like 19th century railroad workers.
A full-service tiki bar stands beside the sandy courts, setting the tone with cold drinks and tropical tunes as spectators kick back at picnic tables and enjoy the live action of a game on a 50-inch flatscreen TV. Inside, guests can unwind at the 11th Frame, which serves pizza, traditional grill fare, and daily drink specials. Kent Lanes also hosts volleyball and bowling leagues for those looking for team camaraderie without having to endure a series of trust falls.
After 25 years as a loyal employee at Northwoods Lanes, Mike Trachsel joined forces with his wife, Sandy, to buy the lanes he?d come to love. Together, they work hard to ensure that the place maintains the timeless charm it has cultivated over its 50-year-plus history. The years have not been without modern upgrades, however; these include automatic scoring, flat-screen TVs, and cosmic bowling. The alley also features a snack bar and a pro shop where players can purchase a new ball or a bowling bag.