Turlock’s long-awaited Ten Pin Fun Center opened this week promising seemingly endless family fun.
I mean, the “fun” is even built right into its name. But, after nearly a decade of development, the question remains: Exactly how fun is Ten Pin Fun Center? And the answer is pretty fun if you like to bowl, eat, shoot at imaginary things or ride equally imaginary roller coasters.
The 62,000 square-foot-foot family entertainment center on Countryside Drive in Turlock’s Monte Vista Crossings shopping center has 34 lanes of bowling (including a private eight-lane boutique bowling alley), a 60-game video arcade (including a virtual roller coaster), restaurant, and large outdoor beer garden with bocce ball court.
So, obviously, there’s no shortage of things to explore. But the first thing that will greet you when you walk into Ten Pin is the arcade. If you’ve ever been to Funworks, Boomers, Chuck E. Cheese or John’s Incredible Pizza it will look remarkably similar — a carpeted area with a bunch of stand-up and sit-down arcade games glowing invitingly like an all-ages Las Vegas casino.
Ten Pin has some notable titles including a four-person, sit-down Halo game and a super-sized old-school Space Invaders game. But the highlight, and most expensive ride at $5 a person, is the virtual roller coaster. You start by either drawing or selecting a preset track, putting in as many loop-the-loops as Dramamine will allow, and then strap into the motion seats.
As a person who is physically terrified by heights (and I mean my legs turn to jelly and the color drains from my face terrified) I wondered whether wearing virtual reality goggles would trigger my I’m-going-to-die response. I’m happy to report they did not, and I was able to enjoy a roller coaster for the first time in my life — down to the “wind” blowing my hair through the turns.
But you don’t need to come loaded down with pockets full of quarters to play. Ten Pin’s arcade is cashless and runs on a kiosk-based card system with credits. Games run between 3 credits ($0.60) and 25 credits ($5) to play. For $20 you will get 125 credits and the more you load the more bang-bang-bang you get for your buck ($50 gets you 375 credits).
Two people can breeze through 50 credits (roughly $10) in about 15 minutes while playing the Jurassic Park or Walking Dead games. The arcade also has several perennial favorites like hoops and Skee-Ball with a prize redemption area offering big-ticket rewards including a drone and electric guitar.
You’ll have to wait a little longer to play in the center’s 10,000 square-foot, two-story laser tag arena, and its absence can be felt. The arcade feels a little small without the added attraction, but I have no doubt once the “Call of Duty”-style game is ready there will be lines to get in. It is expected to open in early June.
Now if you aren’t into video games, the center’s bowling alley is large and impressive. Big screens are attached to almost every surface, so you can watch your favorite sports or music videos, and possibly even pay attention to the pins, while bowling. Though I am already a little worried for the bowling alley’s very chic-looking white upholstered couches. May the beer stain gods be kind to them.
Each lane can accommodate up to six bowlers. Lanes run $4.50 a person weekdays and nights, and a flat $42 per lane fee Friday evening and all-day Saturday. Shoe rentals are $4 per person (add $2.50 for socks, but who comes to a bowling alley without socks?) I’ve already seen serious bowlers arrive at the center, rolling their ball bags. And after a 22-year drought in Turlock without a bowling alley, can you blame them?
The food selection is also a definite step-up from the standard snack bar fare of many family entertainment sections. Like, something tells me Chuck E. Cheese isn’t going to be adding seared Ahi tuna to their menu anytime soon. Food and Beverages General Manager Robert Provencio worked as executive chef at the Turlock Golf & Country Club before creating the largely from-scratch menu at the center’s full-service restaurant, Deadwood Social. (No, I can’t explain the name either other than that there was a public naming contest.) The most expensive items on the menu is the NY strip steak at $25 and full rack of ribs for $26.
You’ll find more than two dozen beers on tap, including offerings from local craft brewers like Ceres’ Blaker Brewing and Turlock’s Dust Bowl. The outdoor beer garden has a large bocce court covered in artificial turf instead of sand, which should speed the game up considerably. Bocce balls can be rented for $4 a person weekdays and nights and $6 starting Friday evening and weekends.
And if all that isn’t enough, Ten Pin hopes to become party, and business, central for the valley. The center has numerous banquet halls and conference rooms that can be rented, in addition to the boutique bowling lane and VIP restaurant skybox. Birthday party packages start at $16.99 and go up. Groups can be as small as 10 and as big as 1,000 — if you actually have 1,000 people you’d like to party with.
All in all, the center is a fine addition to the valley’s entertainment landscape. But with a Dave & Buster’s moving into Modesto’s Vintage Faire Mall sometime in the not-so-distant future, it remains to be seen whether Ten Pin will be able to keep the valley’s market on fun cornered.
Ten Pin Fun Center, at 3700 Countryside Drive in Turlock, is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday to Saturday. For more information, call 209-850-8500 or visit www.tenpinfun.com.