Bowling at Ocean5. Credit: Nikki McCoy
An audible gasp escaped the mouths of my children as we pulled up to Ocean5 in Gig Harbor. “This is a bowling alley?!” they asked, eyebrows raised in disbelief. We surveyed the outside of the building, noting the chic architecture, two stories and outdoor seating.
Inside we found a 22-lane bowling alley, two-story laser tag arena and arcade room. Clearly, Ocean5 offers many opportunities for epic family fun. (Side note: Ocean5 also hosts grown-up stuff such as karaoke and corporate events.)
Opened in April, Ocean5 is the brainchild of former Starbucks executive Troy Alstead who wanted to build a community gathering place that also supports the planet. In addition to serving as a destination for entertainment, Ocean5 aims to operate with the health of the earth's five oceans in mind (hence the name).
From biodegradable straws to farm-to-table food to carpet tiles made from recycled commercial fishing nets, the whole 57,000-square-foot fun center is designed to promote sustainability. The nautical details and design of Ocean5 are visual striking, modern and eco-friendly.
So Ocean5 promises a deep sea of family fun and supports the health of the planet — how is it on the wallet? We took a look at prices for activities for fun-seeking and cost-conscious local families.
Ocean5’s bowling experience is great. Especially if you want to try duckpin bowling, where players throw smaller balls — a fun alternative and easier for little hands. Staff will orient your party as needed, and Ocean5 does not host leagues so there's more time open to the public.
A recent summer special offered a $5 per person, per game deal, including shoes, any time Monday through Thursday. Check the website for this or other money-saving specials.
Weekend prices are per lane for up to six people and run $35 for an hour and $65 for two. Shoes cost an additional $4 per person. Sunday evenings bring another discount after 5 p.m., when lanes are $25 an hour, $45 for two.
Bonus features: Online lane reservations are available, and bumper lanes can be added for individual players.
Laser Challenge area
While I liked bowling best, my sons and husband couldn’t get enough of the LED-lit laser tag. I heard “It’s like being on a movie set!” more than one time.
Play sessions are sold in 30-minute or 60-minute time slots. Monday through Thursday is more affordable, with 30 minutes costing $15 per person and 60 minutes for $25. Weekend pricing is $20 for 30 minutes, $35 for 60 minutes. Sunday evening after 5 p.m. offers the same pricing as Monday through Thursday.
Each 60-minute session also includes 100-point arcade game credit. More on the arcade below.
Summer pass: $45 for a pass gives you unlimited laser game play, Monday through Thursday, through the end of August. Super-fans can get a "family pass" for a party of four offering unlimited laser play Monday through Thursday, any age, for $150.
Fifty games fill the arcade room, with classics such as Pac-Man and skeeball, and new favorites such as Jurassic Park. I raced my kids on Mario Kart and challenged the hubs to a kid-friendly version of beer pong. (I lost and won, respectively.)
Load a wristband with 100 points for $10, plus 20 bonus points. Collect tickets electronically to redeem for candy, toys and even gear from local brands such as the Tacoma Rainiers. The average game play costs 10 points.
Note for night-owl families: Due to state rules, the arcade game room is closed to minors under age 18 after 10 p.m.
Youth parties at Ocean5 include a party room and host, pizza and a cupcake for each child, plus wristbands loaded with gaming points for the arcade. Packages range from the full Ocean5 experience to focused parties with just laser tag or bowling.
If you're shopping the birthday party circuit, you'll find pricing is fairly competitive among party packages. Ocean5 packages run $297–$400 for a group of 10 kids, depending on timing and activities selected.
To be honest, the private lanes are pretty swanky, and I’m thinking, "Forget the kids! This is a great spot for a grown-up birthday party!"
While we didn’t sit down in the restaurant, Table 47, we did take advantage of the lane-side service while bowling. My 12-year-old’s burger cost $10 and included a side. The burger patty had mushrooms mixed in and he actually loved it.
My husband and I shared a plate of yummy dates, artisan cheeses, breads and nuts. At $18, it was a little more than I typically like to spend, but I was happy to be eating local cheeses between frames.
My 8-year-old is picky and there was nothing on the kids’ menu that appealed to him (even though it included typical kid favorites such as chicken strips), but the kitchen kindly accommodated our request for flatbread and cheese.
For our family, Ocean5 got a huge thumbs up for family fun. While the high-end touches are reflected in some of the prices, cost-conscious families can save money by making the most of discounted days and hours and other specials. Check the online for current specials.
If you go...
Open hours: Ocean5 is open Monday–Thursday, 11 a.m.–10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.–midnight; Saturday, 9 a.m.–midnight; and Sunday, 9 a.m.–10 p.m.
Cost: There is no entry fee to Ocean5 but there is a separate cost for all activities. See above for prices for bowling, laser tag and arcade games.
More fun in Gig Harbor: