There are a lot of great bowling centers in the Mid-Columbia. I've been to four within an hour's drive time. As a bowler myself, I've come to know how each alley works, what they provide and what to look out for. Here the pros and cons of each:

1) Atomic Bowl: 624 Wellsian Way, Richland, WA

Pros: This is my home bowling center. This is where I do 90 percent of my, as you say, work. Atomic has 24 lanes with a backdrop of twirling bowling ball planets. Back in the late 80s to early 90s, professional tournaments from the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) used to run. Sadly, those don't happen now. To the right of lane #24 is a pro shop where you can purchase bowling equipment and a newly-made arcade for kids and family. Atomic runs all sorts of deals with local schools and businesses, to give them the best time possible when they come to bowl. The arcade is open, well lit and has a variety of games, which are fantastic for birthday parties. Company parties are taken care of as well, being offered to access to the bar/lounge area (ages 21 and over), a casino (ages 18 and over), a kitchen to purchase food, the arcade and of course the lanes to bowl on. A big hit for Atomic are their Nuclear Bowling Nights, which land on Thursday and Friday nights. There, black lights are turned on and the music gets cranked up. For seasoned bowlers, this is one of the more challenging centers to score high in, evening the playing field for competitors.

Cons: The inside of the bowling center is pretty outdated. The floors have older, purple seashell carpets that strikes you as odd. Also, the scoring system comes from the mid-90s, which doesn't bode too well with bowlers who bowl for competition. The pro-shop, though helpful, is limited in bowling equipment and space.

2) Spare Time Lanes: 711 W Vineyard Dr, Kennewick, WA

Pro: Here is where I do the second most of my bowling. This bowling center sports 24 lanes for bowlers. Back in the late 80s to early 90s, professional tournaments from the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) used to run. Sadly, those don't happen now here either. A huge thing you should look at: the scoring system. Besides what the professionals have the luxury to see on a daily basis, Spare Time has the most updated system I have ever seen. It is also run on on flat screen TVs. Also for seasoned bowlers, really amazing scoring happens here. The arcade and gaming area is huge. My God, you could fit hundreds of people in their seating area, which is perfect for birthday and company parties. The arcade also has a full on running bumper cars. The bar and lounge area (ages 21 and over) is very clean. Spare Time also has the best running pro-shop in the Mid-Columbia, perfect for all of your bowling equipment needs.

Cons: Again, besides the TV screens and scoring system, the inside is pretty outdated. The ceiling and flooring needs work and the back drop for the lanes reminds you of the Olympics (bowling isn't an Olympic sport for some reason). The arcade area, though massive, is quite separated from the bowling alley, making birthday/company parties difficult when you have to run back-and-forth so much.

3) Go Bowl: 2799 W Lewis St, Pasco, WA

Pros: Professional regional tournaments are still held at this venue, giving local bowlers opportunities to interact and bowl with the pros. They have a revamped arcade, filled with brand new games and ticket and prize winning opportunities. They also have the best, updated scoring systems and TV screens. They also offer late-night bowling specials on Thursday and Friday nights and special low-price game discounts on Sundays.

Cons: The inside desperately needs work. The lighting is dim in areas. The flooring next to lanes is broken up concrete that appears to have had some fixing up but it still needs it. There was once a restaurant inside but it has since shut down and is used a storage area for old bowling balls and equipment. The interior of the building is also pretty cold.

4) Desert Lanes: 1545 N 1st St, Hermiston, OR

Pros: I have only bowled here a couple of times and it seems to be doing well. It's located in the more lavish part of Hermiston, which is really inviting. Tournaments run rampant there too (nothing PBA), perfect for competitive bowlers. It has a full kitchen, lots of area for the bowlers to get situated, has an arcade, and a pro shop right next to the entrance.

Cons: The amount of lanes to bowl on is very limited. I don't know the exact amount but there are about 16 or less lanes. It can get pretty hot in there at times. The pro shop for bowling equipment is small. Also, the arcade is located in a very awkward spot away from everything else.

So if you feel the urge, go to your local bowling center, tie up your shoes, and score high!




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