These Rohnert Park businesses cater to energetic kids
Even in the middle of a global pandemic, Rohnert Park is one heck of a family-friendly destination.
The city is home to the largest bowling alley in Northern California, a skating rink that’s as old as the author of this story, a fun center, an indoor trampoline park, one of the best toy stores in the county and other associated attractions.
Oh, and this list doesn’t even include epic playgrounds at places such as Twin Creeks and Robert Lake parks.
Sure, under the latest ordinances from the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, all indoor venues require that visitors wear masks when possible, and no venue can welcome more than 50 people at a time, but that doesn’t mean visitors can’t get out there and have fun.
“This town was always known as a great place for families, and it still lives up to that,” said Steve Elliott, owner of Fundemonium toy store in the Expressway Center Mall near Olive Garden.
History of serving the community
The former, known simply as “Cal Skate,” dates all the way back to 1975, and today offers open public skate sessions, skate classes, birthday parties and more. General Manager Nick Saya said that since the facility reopened in April 2021 after a pandemic shutdown, it has been busier than ever before. Families, he said, have been a big part of the traffic.
“People are starving for a good time as a family,” he said. “We try to give it to them.”
Saya’s family has owned the skating rink for 15 years. He said the family took advantage of the shutdown to perform renovations such as taking the carpet off the four-foot wall that circles the rink. The facility also added a brand-new DJ stand with advanced lighting — a must-see for night skates.
Double Decker Lanes, on the east side of town near Foxtail Golf Club, boasts 50 bowling lanes — good enough for the distinctions of largest alley in the Bay Area and largest in all Northern California.
The attraction is open every day and hosts a variety of different leagues, and has set aside Sunday nights as family night — $49 gets families of any size two hours of bowling and shoe rentals. The special also used to include a pizza and soda, but right now, thanks to COVID-19, the food component is not available.
The alley also has a teen-oriented Tuesday night Rock & Bowl promo from 8-11 p.m.; two hours of bowling is $12.
General Manager Dennis Ganduglia said that because the facility is 40,000 square feet, bowlers can spread out and engage in social distancing when they play. He noted that the alley was planning to change up logistics for its senior league and spread out so teams were not on top of each other and competing on the same lane.
“We are known for having a fun, clean, family atmosphere,” said Ganduglia, who added that masks are required unless bowlers are eating, drinking or bowling. “We are committed to making sure this is a safe place where people can feel comfortable coming and knowing they’re not at risk.”
(An inside tip: Double Decker has a great online reservation system.)
It’s all fun and games
Sometimes the name of a place says everything you need to know about it. Such is the case with Scandia Family Fun Center.
The facility, located west of Highway 101 near Graton Rancheria Casino, boasts multiple ways for families to have a blast, including two miniature golf courses, a batting cage, bumper boats, a racetrack, and a ride called Vertical Boom, which drops guests more than 30 feet.
Perhaps the biggest attraction is the arcade, where visitors can earn points toward prizes as they play.
New games in 2021 included Axe Master, a video game that simulates the increasingly popular pastime of axe throwing, and a standalone video game dubbed Minecraft that doles out trading cards of popular Minecraft characters. Each of these games cost $1 to play; both usually attract such a crowd that you might have to wait to play.
Also in 2021 the arcade installed a new prize redemption area where guests can redeem tickets for prizes automatically, without the help of a human.
The fun center is a place Healdsburg resident Sal Garcia loves to take his 10-year-old daughter.
“Being able to make new fun memories with my daughter and bond over the love of playing against one another at Mortal Kombat,” Garcia said recently. “I remember learning as a kid to play and teaching my daughter how to play has been such a fun experience and gives a fun closeness of fun competition.”
Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Park of Rohnert Park also is a great place to spend an afternoon — if your kiddos aren’t jumping on the indoor trampolines or attempting to solve the Ninja Warrior course, perhaps they’ll gravitate toward the giant indoor playground, or the pit full of hundreds of foam squares.
This facility, located on the back side of the shopping center with Reading Cinemas Rohnert Park and Chuck E. Cheese, recently issued a COVID-19 alert that said, effectively: We’re still open, just wear a mask.
Toy heaven for kids
Of course, most families would tell you the most kid-friendly spot in all of Rohnert Park isn’t an activity center or even a park. It’s Fundemonium, arguably the best toy store north of San Francisco.
This shop started in Petaluma back in 2004 and moved to Rohnert Park in 2014. The owners, Steve and Jean Elliott, set out to create a toy store that did more than just sell toys — instead they wanted a Willy Wonka-style place where kids and their families could come in, give toys a sort of test drive, and figure out on the spot if the toys they wanted were worth buying permanently.
“Fundemonium is about finding joy, sharing interests with others, and belonging to a community of creative fun,” Steve Elliot said.
As a result, the place is way more than just a shop. It has a (new and improved) test track for slot cars. It has a multilevel test area for radio-controlled cars. Depending on the time of year (and the coronavirus situation), you might find Pokemon groups, LEGO parties, and other get-togethers, too.
“You come to Fundemonium and you stay and you play,” said Steve Elliott. “We wouldn’t have it any other way.”