The Kids Club Room at Local Bowlos should also have an adult version

Arguably the best part of the week/month/year growing up in rural Australia was the odd Friday night when my parents decided to take us out to dinner at the local golf club. For my parents, it meant a night of not cooking, having a few beers and/or wines, seeing friends, and slapping each other on the pokies. For my brother and me, it meant two things: going to bed late and visiting the hallowed ground of the Kids Club room.

Usually the night went something like this: dinner at the restaurant (kids schnitty, raspberry coke, ice cream with all the ingredients, or frog in a pond) and then heading straight to the room off the lobby packed with people. kids and a couple of adults trying to wrangle them all.

Kids Club was hallowed ground. With just about everything a hotheaded kid needed in the late 90s, we spent hours there lounging around with other kids whose parents needed a night off but couldn’t get a babysitter.

There was a Playstation 1 and a Nintendo 64 hooked up to a couple of shitty TVs in the corner (the consoles were locked in a drawer with holes for controller cables, of course) with kids fighting exasperatedly over who got to play as Yoshi in Mario. . kart. Another television would be playing movies at a low volume with a group of children sitting on cushions on the floor in front of it, their eyes glazed over.

These rooms really had a yin and a yang: the chaotic kids all sugar hyped fighting over the best game controller and the ones sitting quietly watching The Lion King or coloring a shitty printout of Finding Nemo.

The tables were filled with pencils and text for the children to draw, color and randomly fill in connect-the-dots pictures. Blackboard walls covered in chaotic doodles, books to read, board games to discuss – the room had the works.

If you got there at the right time, you’d be treated to a big shared bowl of chips or popsicles. Play your cards right and you basically get a second dinner.

My brother and I would spend what seemed like hours going absolutely wild in that glass-fronted space while our parents knocked down a few beers. We once visited a club during the holidays and their Kids Club was huge and full of mats and other things to do crazy flips on.

Maybe golf clubs and bowling should bring back these halls dedicated to the hoon. Hell, make them for adults too. Let me sit in a comfy game room with a bowl of snacks and unrestricted access to tons of games, art supplies, and other things to play with just to vibe. Even just an hour dedicated for the big kids to come in the middle and try out Crash Bandicoot.

Yes, I’m aware that you could recreate this at home, but there’s something about a Kids Club room that just can’t be replicated. Maybe it’s the particular scent of hot potato chips, raspberry liqueur, and the slight tint of boy’s urine, who’s to say? But it has unlocked something deep in my memory that needs to be satisfied tout suite.

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Image: Club Helensvale/Apple

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