The year-long construction at Wildhorse Resort & Casino that adds a bowling center, food court and arcade is nearly done and will open to the public by month’s end. However, due to pandemic restrictions, the highly anticipated grand opening will not be the usual flashy ceremony for which Wildhorse is known. Regardless, fun seekers have many reasons to celebrate this addition.
At the heart of the Wildhorse expansion is Quaking Aspens Lanes, a 24-lane, state-of-the-art bowling center that provides lively activity for families, friends, novice and serious bowlers. In the future, competitive bowlers may see leagues and tournaments in the lineup.
Owned by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR), the bowling center’s name is inspired by Tribal history. “Nixyáawii” was what the Cayuse named the area where the Tribe’s winter encampment was located. Translated, the word refers to the groves of quaking aspen trees that grew around the springs. Equivalent to a large town, the encampment was the base for celebrations, games, root digging and horse racing.
The upscale bowling center is divided by a concourse with 16 lanes on one side and 8 boutique lanes on the other. The larger area is targeted for open and league play while the boutique lanes can be reserved for private parties and events.
Adjacent to the boutique lanes are two party rooms available to rent for family and business events or simply a friends’ night out. The two rooms can be can be opened up to a single, larger space for bigger groups, when needed. Event planners can opt for party packages or full catering service, depending on their preferences.
Service and convenience are a big part of the experience at Quaking Aspens Lanes. Bowlers can choose from an all-inclusive food court menu and place their order with a lane server who will deliver their snacks, meals and beverages. Menus can be viewed online or at the lane terminals.
A full bar located in the bowling center provides beverages and seating. Meals and snacks can be ordered at the bar or carried from the food court allowing guests to dine while watching the competition in the lanes.
The food court at Wildhorse will feature two independent vendors and two Wildhorse operations. Three restaurants will offer full menus and one will specialize in ice cream and sweet treats. A 3000 square foot dining room will seat up to 110 people in a warm, comfortable setting.
The new vendors bringing even more culinary options to Wildhorse are Moe Phở and Brigham Fish ‘n Chips. Owners of both restaurants have roots in Pendleton.
Wildhorse will be the second location for Moe Phở, the first being in downtown Pendleton. Owned by Whitney Minthorn and Moe Soeum, their focus is on popular cuisine from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Many ingredients are sourced from Thailand and the eatery provides gluten-free and vegan/vegetarian options. In business since February 2018, Moe Phở Noodles & Cafe prepares their food fresh to order with high quality ingredients and authentic recipes.
Also opening a second location is Brigham Fish Market. The Brigham family is well known for harvesting and selling fresh, wild-caught fish along the Columbia River. In 2014, Kim Brigham-Campbell opened a full service restaurant in Cascade Locks selling both fresh fish and prepared meals including fish and chips, po’boy sandwiches and chowders. The Wildhorse shop will be called Brigham Fish ‘n Chips and features a selection of favorites from the Market’s menu.
Minthorn and Brigham-Campbell are both members of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR).
The Wildhorse-run restaurant serves family favorites like pizza, burgers, salads and appetizers. The ice cream and pastry shop is right next door and features quality Tillamook ice cream along with an assortment of treats to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Between the food court and bowling center, visitors will find the new Wildhorse arcade which is significantly larger than the old arcade with almost 2500 square feet of play space. Young gamers can choose from over 30 high-tech games and experiences in a single room, a luxury you don’t often find in rural resorts.
Arcade guests use their “fun card” as currency at arcade machines. The card can be loaded with any amount desired and is rechargeable. It keeps track of points racked up by players which they can then take to the redemption center for prizes.
Owners of Wildhorse Resort & Casino, the CTUIR, have eagerly anticipated the opening of the Family FunPlex. Board of Trustees Chairman Kat Brigham expressed the tribes’ passion for this significant project.
“The Tribe is very pleased to see our planning for the FunPlex move forward. We are very pleased to offer bowling as a sporting activity for the entire community,” stated Brigham. “So many families love this sport and we all look forward to seeing everyone enjoy this entertainment venue.”
The Family FunPlex is expected to open to the public before the end of September. Updates and information can be found at https://www.wildhorseresort.com/family-funplex/ or call 800-654-9453.
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