The unmistakable sound of bowling pins crashing and rattling is back in Ipswich with the opening of iPlay family entertainment centre at Riverlink.
Tenpin bowling has been at the top of the wishlist for many residents since lanes at Bundamba closed after they were flooded in 2011.
iPlay Ipswich venue manager Sean Ryan said excitement among the community for the return of tenpin bowling to the city was sky high.
“There’s just so much interest in us at the moment. The support we have had from the community has been unbelievable,” he said.
“Obviously Ipswich has been without a bowling outlet for some time now and people have been asking for somewhere to enjoy tenpin bowling.
“I’m really pleased we’ve been able to provide that in this fantastic venue.
“The weekend we opened our doors for the first time, particularly the Sunday, we had people lined up outside keen to come in and the phone has been running off the hook.”
The Riverlink centre is iPlay’s 14th in Australia and as well as eight full-length bowling lanes, it includes 40 arcade machines – some new, some retro – and a bar.
Mr Ryan said the focus for the centre’s 16 staff was simple – offer people a good time.
“Our primary objective is to provide entertainment to people of all ages with a focus on families,” he said.
“There is no age that couldn’t have fun in a venue like this, whether you’re six years old or 60.”
Storm Leith manages iPlay’s Redbank and Toowoomba centres.
She said careful consideration was given to what entertainment options the Ipswich community would want before the centre was opened.
“We’ve had the Redbank centre for several years now and people have often asked us to add a bowling alley there but we just don’t have the space for it,” she said.
“We knew when we were putting this centre together that bowling was a priority but we’ve also worked to provide an arcade experience tailored to Ipswich.
“For example, we have included pinball machines because we know there is a bit of a cult following of them still for some people in this area.”
The distinctive Ipswich-flavour to iPlay Ipswich carries through to food and drink offerings too.
The centre has teamed up with nearby burger joint Ruby Chews when it comes to food and has craft beer from Ipswich’s premiere brewery, 4 Hearts Brewing, available at the bar.
“That’s what Ipswich is all about, right? It’s about banding together and promoting this wonderful community we call home,” Mr Ryan said.
So now that the wait is over, how much will a game of tenpin bowling at iPlay Ipswich set you back?
The answer depends partly on whether you choose to bowl in peak or off peak times but the flat rate is $15 per person per game, with $2 for shoe hire. Deals are available.
Bowlers can wear their own shoes as long as they have white soles. Booking ahead of time is the way to go and means you avoid the potential disappointment of not being able to get a lane, but is not essential.
A massive grand opening celebration for iPlay Ipswich is on this Saturday, 1 June.
Roving entertainment, giveaways, a Lego activity area and Nerf battle zone are all planned alongside the centre’s offerings.
Follow iPlay Ipswich on Facebook here.