You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Red Sox Live

2

1

▼  4th Inning 0 outs

Bring the Family

Bowl away to your heart’s content at Needham Bowlaway

Doug Most/Globe Staff

WHO: Globe deputy managing editor/features Doug Most and his two children

WHAT: Bowling

Continue reading below

WHERE: Needham Bowlaway

Bowling is far too unappreciated when it comes to having fun with the kids. How can you not have fun bowling? It’s loud, it’s easy, it’s cheap. And when you can support a tiny, hole-in-the-wall, local business while bowling, well that’s a genuine win-win.

As you look for things to do this winter on a freezing weekend morning, grab another family and head over to Needham Center, where parking is easy to find. Then make your way to the corner of Great Plain Avenue and Chestnut Street, a few feet from Harvey’s Hardware. Look for the bowling pin on the side of the building. That’s Needham Bowlaway. It’s downstairs and it’s a little secret gem.

Inside are eight lanes, but rarely will you wait more than 20 minutes. If you’re looking for big balls, flashing lights, and a menu of munchies while you bowl, this isn’t that. This is small balls, Candlepin bowling, with an easy-to-navigate screen to keep score up above, and that’s it. If your kids need a snack, bring your own or plan accordingly.

They can put up bumpers in the lanes if you have little ones, to make sure they knock some pins down, or keep the bumpers down if your kids can roll ’em straight and you’re trying to raise the next Earl Anthony.

Either way, the bowling is fun. The small balls are easy for the kids to hold and roll, two hands or one. My little guy, Ben, who’s 4, had no problems and actually won our first game before 7-year-old Julia got a little more serious. They especially had fun pushing the numbers to keep score and laughing when somebody got a spare or strike and the screen above went a little bonkers.

The price might seem a little steep at $25 per lane per hour (cheaper during weekday mornings), plus shoe rentals. (Our bill after 90 minutes came to $40.) But for some reason it doesn’t hurt nearly as much knowing you’re supporting a business where the same guy who takes your money is the guy who gets your bowling shoes and who also scoots down the alley when a ball or pin gets stuck. Did I mention “small business”?

Smartly, Needham Bowlaway is big into the lucrative birthday party business, so hopefully that helps them stick around. (It was built in 1917 but disappeared briefly in 2011.) But another way to help it is to just go bowl there.

And when you’re done, you’re in Needham Center, where there is no shortage of family-friendly restaurants, from Not Your Average Joe’s to Stone Hearth Pizza to Rice Barn to Fresco.

Doug Most can be reached at dmost@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Globedougmost
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.