Family Fun at Cactus Bowl


Every so often I make my way to Cactus Bowl to have some fun with my family and friends. We’ve been going here for as long as I can remember. Before it was Cactus Bowl, it used to be called Santa Cruz Lanes. It’s always a good experience and we have a great time, even though I always lose!

They have a bar, a pool table in the bar, a snack bar, and even an arcade which are all great things for everyone to enjoy. My little sisters go there often when they get tired of bowling and there are usually other kids there too. The arcade has many fun games such as basketball, claw machine, driving game, guitar hero and many more. They even have a spot to buy prizes with earned tickets, these include candy, swords, slinkys, basketballs, and many other small toys. The prizes you get depend on how many tickets you get which range from 2-3000 tickets. 

snack bar with menu, place in arcade where you get prizes, spacious arcade with games

A typical visit…

 First things first: food and drinks. My Mom and Dad sometimes get two Bud Lights for themselves before heading to to the in-house snack bar called Pizzanos where they order “the usual” — a large pepperoni pizza, hot wings, and mozzarella sticks. We always get a large pepperoni pizza but sometimes choose different appetizers. The last time I tried something new and ordered fried zucchini, which was actually very pleasant. My favorite appetizer is the wings and cheese fries, but this time I decided to go easy on myself with something a bit on the “lighter side.”

On the heavier side, well, the pizza is kind of greasy and cheesy and we all love it! There’s something about that bowling alley pizza that just hits the spot — along, of course, with the wings, and mozzarella sticks! Yum!

And, um, the bowling?

So, yeah, after finishing our meal we begin bowling. I’m not very strong so I only use the eight pound ball (yes, on the “lighter side”) that many kids use. My brother’s a bit stronger so he goes with an 11 lbs ball. My much stronger Mom and Dad use the really heavy balls since they’re the real thing when it comes to bowling.

On one lane my brother bowls first, then my mom, and then my dad. On the other lane it is me, my older sister, and my two younger sisters. We bowl a few games and cheer each other on each time we bowl. We give high fives when that person gets a strike and a fist bump when they miss or don’t knock all the pins down. It’s my brothers turn so he goes up, grabs his bowling ball, and gets ready to throw it. He grabs it with two hands and throws it. My family and I watch as it curves down the lane…. straight into the gutter. My brother throws his hands up in disbelief. We all reassure him and let him know it’s okay and it’s just for fun. On his second throw… he throws it … and … KNOCKS ALL THE PINS DOWN!! My family and I clap and cheer for him and he is now happy again. My family and I continue having a good time and some laughs while we start finishing up our bowling.

One special program

Cactus Bowl has special programs and events. My younger brother’s a great bowler. My brother always kicks all of our butts but we go to have fun, not to compete. He got noticed by some staff members for his skills and was invited to join their Junior Varsity League, part of their Youth Programs. This league has tournaments every so often which gives the bowlers an opportunity to bowl in other bowling alleys and even travel. They have a wall of the top bowlers of the week and their scores and update it every week. These scores are from their practice games which happen every Saturday morning. The bowlers consist of a team of four people and bowl three games every week. Sometimes they bowl against another team but other times they don’t, although it is more often that they do. They do this so it prepares them for when they have to bowl against other people for their tournaments.

Fun always with family and friends

It is always a great time being at Cactus Bowl and having a chance to bond with my family and friends. I recommend this place to anyone who hasn’t been here and is looking for something to do. It’s so much fun even if you don’t know how to bowl.  They also have cyber bowling every Friday and Saturday from 9pm -12am and they turn off all the main lights and turn on their disco and colorful lights and play music. This is also a fun time to go, especially with friends. Their food is delicious, their staff is kind, and it’s just a fun place to be.


Carissa Grajeda is a freshman at the University at Arizona and is majoring in criminal justice.