Bowling for Antartica

Monday February 04, 2019 Written by Ronan

Sure, the human race's ability to spread out to every corner of the globe is impressive. But what do you do when you get there? Take Antarctica, for instance: once you’ve got all your sciencing and penguin-viewing out the way, there’s not that much on going on. Back in 1961, those stationed at the U.S. McMurdo research station came up with a novel solution to while away their idle hours: build a bowling alley.

Impressively, the facility the members of the (presumably quite bored) naval construction force managed to build was strikingly authentic: leaving aside the penguin-shaped bowling pins, it featured a semi-professional staff that included a bowl polisher and a pinsetter, (who also made a short film about the experience).

It’s a nostalgia-wrenching sight. But sadly, that’s all it is: the alley was torn down in 2009, forcing the base station's 1200 occupants to go back to slightly less ridiculous pastimes (a curling rink now stands in its place). Luckily we still have these pictures of the alley in the pristine glory of its early days, thanks to the U.S. Antarctic Program.