Bowling alley branches out to offer laser tag, games


What: Laser Tag

Where: Poelking Woodman Lanes, 3200 Woodman Drive, Kettering

Cost: $3-8.50

More info: 937-293-3179 or Website

The days of the smoky old bowling alley, where time meanders adrift somewhere between 1945 and 1970, are seemingly coming to an end. As the times have changed, surviving alleys have adapted to get more of the consumer’s dollar.

Sure, you can still hit the concession area for a greasy treat and the bar (thankfully) to hear the bowling scores become more and more exaggerated, but Poelking Woodman Lanes in Kettering is doing more than just adding a few video games in the corner for the kids.

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The bowling alley now features a nearly 4,600-square-foot laser tag arena that cost more than $350, 000 to build. They are offering free tours to the public as well, and getting employees to volunteer as guides hasn't been an issue.

“Every time we have a tour, everyone asks if they can do it because they have so much fun playing the games,” said General Manager, Denise Morgan.

Representatives from Poelking did their research, comparing their laser tag facility to others in the area and abroad. They feel they can give kids of all ages more bang (and zap) for their buck by offering up to 18 different games.

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“The games last about 15 to 20 minutes. Most only last 10 to 12,” Morgan said. “A lot of people think it’s for kids. I’m 65 and I love it. My son’s 37 and (he) loves it.”

The staff says people are surprised at how big the two-level playing arena is because it doesn't look like much at first glance. But the attraction took over space formerly occupied by eight lanes — a fact that, surprisingly, hasn't brought on the ire of regular bowlers.

"They like it," Morgan said. "We took them in on tours and even let them play (laser tag) for free."

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According to Morgan, private party bookings -- particularly of the corporate team building variety -- are on the rise as a direct result of laser tag. The alley intends to begin a Midnight Madness promotion with more bells and whistles to the games as the fall season draws closer.

Packages start at $164.

Of course, you could also bowl…

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