Quick! Where in Champaign-Urbana can you:
a) Go bowling
b) Play Wii or X Box Games
c) Shoot pool
d) Play arcade games
All in the same place?
Well, I already spoiled the answer with the title of the article. For those of you who weren’t students at the University of Illinois — or for those of you who were, but never thought of it — the Illini Union Rec Room is a great place to bring the family.
You’re probably thinking: wait. Isn’t that place for University of Illinois students? Well, the answer is of course, yes. But the Rec Room is open to anyone, and families are welcome — and encouraged.
While there is certainly plenty to do at the Rec Room — you can rent Wii/X-Box by the hour, or shoot some pool — bowling is the major attraction for our family (with an occasional arcade game played). The atmosphere is pleasant, the facility is clean, and the shoes appear to be from this millennium. While we have sometimes experienced a few frustrations with the electronic scoring , it’s nothing we can’t handle.
I was surprised that they had bowling shoes for my 3-year-old, but that was no problem — plenty of pint-sized shoes, and they are relatively new. And when my 7-year-old forgot her socks – NO PROBLEM! – they sell those too (for a bargain price, I might add).
Other family-friendly amenities include bumpers lanes and bowling ramps that are great for small children as well as anyone who is unable to throw a bowling ball.
Pricing at the Rec Room is comparable with other bowling locations in town. If you have a student or University of Illinois “affiliate” (staff or faculty) in your party, you get even better prices. And then there are certain specials, too. Our favorite night to go: $2 Tuesday nights. Two dollar everything: bowling games (per person), shoe rentals, half hour of pool, one hour of console games and fountain drink and popcorn combo. Can’t beat that deal, anywhere.
WHERE TO GO: The Illini Union Rec Room is located in the lower level (see map) of the Illini Union next to the food court. The Illini Union is located at 1401 W. Green St. in Urbana. If you know where the Alma Mater statue is, then you know where the Union is.
WHERE TO PARK: There is limited parking around the Union, including a small metered lot just to the east of the building. Here’s a map of where to park. If you go after 5 p.m., plenty of free parking can be had in University lots; just read the signs carefully. You can easily take CUMTD there.
WHERE TO EAT: The food court right next to the Rec Room is pretty convenient, except when it’s not — every restaurant sets its own hours. Don’t always count on it, especially during University of Illinois breaks and summer. There is plenty of food within easy walking distance of the Union, including family favorites such as Noodles, Zorba’s and many others.