for something fun to do with kids in Milwaukee? Pick a card — not
just any card, but a Play Milwaukee card.
It’s a new way
to find hot spots for family entertainment, invented by two teachers
after a conversation in the locker room at a local fitness center.
Julie Stephens, who teaches psychology at Concordia University, is the
mother of two elementary-age boys, and Louisa Marks, a resource
teacher at Milwaukee College Prep, has three daughters who are in
talking about places our children enjoyed going to around
Milwaukee," Marks says, and the two began exchanging ideas.
"We said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if somebody could just tell
us where are the best places to take children in Milwaukee?’"
So in January,
Stephens and Marks decided to pursue the idea themselves, and soon
were making lists of their favorite places and asking friends for
their ideas. Narrowing the list to 21, they found a graphic artist to
illustrate each one and created a prototype deck of playing cards
before approaching local businesses with the concept.
transition from teacher to businesswoman was "a gift," Marks
says, "because you never want to stop learning." She had to
learn how to create a website, for example, and took a leave of
absence from her job for this school year to develop the project.
"We went to
each and every of the 21 places in the deck and figured out how we
could partner with them," Marks says. "We were schlepping
all over the place."
was the first business on board, and of all the companies they
approached, Marks says, not one turned them down. Each of the
destinations includes some sort of discount, which tallies up to a
total of $400 in savings, she notes.
With a retail
price of $25, Marks says Play Milwaukee card decks are being sold by
area schools as fundraisers, with the school receiving a percentage of
the sales. She says they are also shopping the cards around to
high-quality retailers, and Sendik’s in Mequon recently agreed to
Play Milwaukee businesses are located throughout the area, and there’s
one card that’s just for adults.
included a Neroli Salon & Spa card. That’s our TLC card for the
caregiver who does all the driving," Marks says.
information on Play Milwaukee, go to playyourcity.org.