Memories of Family Fun in the Crescenta Valley

Kids these days complain that there’s nowhere to go and nothing to do here in the Crescenta Valley and, unfortunately, for the most part they’re right. Short of organized sports, hanging out at Starbucks, going to the movies or taking a trip down to the Glendale Galleria, there really isn’t much for kids to do locally. It wasn’t always that way here in the Crescenta Valley, though.

Do you remember Shakey’s Pizza? Shakey’s, which occupied the building on Foothill Boulevard that is now the shuttered Urartu restaurant, closed down only a couple of years ago. They had pizza, mojo potatoes, chicken, salad and soda, but the big draw for the kids was the game room with an assortment of arcade games that could keep kids busy for hours, or as long as the quarters held out.

Speaking of video games, La Crescenta used to have its own full-blown video arcade right on Foothill Boulevard. Do you remember Pinball Plus? In the early 1980s, Pinball Plus opened in the mini-mall on the southwest corner of Foothill and Boston. With games like Armor Attack, Crazy Climber and Donkey Kong to name a few, along with the typical pinball-style games, Pinball Plus was packed with teenagers just about every night of the

Another place kids could hang out and play video games – and much more – was located on the spot where the Vons market on Foothill now resides. Do you remember the Verdugo Hills Bowl? The Verdugo Hills Bowl was one of the larger bowling alleys in the area and included an arcade with video games and pool tables, and a café that served the best hot fudge sundaes around. Unfortunately, Verdugo Hills Bowl closed on Dec. 3, 1996 and was eventually demolished in March 2002.

Foothill Boulevard was home to another bowl, though it was a bowl of a completely different kind. Do you remember the Boogie Bowl? The Boogie Bowl skatepark opened in the late 1970s during a rebirth in the popularity of skateboarding. With a round cement bowl and a small downhill half-pipe, the Boogie Bowl gave kids a place to skate and learn new tricks with the help of some professional riders. Due to insurance issues, however, The Boogie Bowl closed in March 1981.

For several years the vacant lot just to the west of Office Depot on Foothill Boulevard was home to batting cages. Before the batting cages, though, this spot hosted an establishment geared towards another sport, though on a smaller scale. Do you remember Palmer’s Miniature Golf? With its castle, windmill, bridges, doglegs and trick holes, Palmer’s had all the trappings of a typical miniature golf course. In the mid-1970s, Palmer’s Miniature Golf ceased operations and was demolished.

More and more it seems like there’s something missing here in the Crescenta Valley that we used to take for granted.

Do you remember local, family-friendly entertainment establishments?

A lifelong resident of the Crescenta Valley, Bruce Gibson invites you to reminisce about places and things from our community’s past.