A place to play for all ages
Play Zone opens in Germantown; offers ample adventure

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

Nov. 26, 2014

 Reece Lovrine, 2, of Richfield plays near a playhouse at Play Zone on Thursday in Germantown.
John Ehlke/Daily News

GERMANTOWN — Karen Martinson was bored sitting at home with no where to take her family because nothing appealed to the entire group, so she created an indoor recreation center for children and adults.

Play Zone, W188N11927 Maple Road, opened Oct. 25 in the Alpine Business Center in the Germantown Industrial Park.

“We try to offer a variety of attractions to fit everyone’s interests,” she said.

That includes a rock climbing wall, golf simulator, remote control race car track, micro city for remote control helicopters, bounce houses, a giant custom treehouse with a climbing tower and slide, an archery area and a Billiards table. Food is also offered.

Part of the reason Martinson created Play Zone is watching how bored she and her teenage daughter would get while they took Martinson’s younger son to an activity center.

Facilities for parties at Play Zone on Thursday, Nov.20 in Germantown.  
John Ehlke/Daily News

“I’ve seen lots of places cater to the little ones that may be 6 years old at the most, but I have a teenage daughter and myself,” Martinson said.

Lynn Grgich, Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce executive director said Play Zone is an interesting concept.

“I haven’t heard of that type of offering for the adult population,” she said She said she’s not sure how it will be accepted, but knows it’s in the industrial park and could be a lunchbreak opportunity for people who work there.

Martinson agrees saying, “because sometimes you want somewhere to go on your break just to relieve stress, so whether you’re here with your family or just stopping in to do a round of golf to relieve stress on your lunch break, we’re trying to cover all those needs.”

Play Zone features several rooms to host birthday parties and in the infant zone is a mural on the wall of a peaceful grassy area and a creek created by Artistry by Jarrod of Milwaukee.

General manager Josh Rivers uses a remote control helicopter in front of a painted cityscape and toy cars at Play Zone on Thursday, Nov.20 in Germantown.   
John Ehlke/Daily News

Martinson, who lives in Menomonee Falls, said she didn’t have her heart set on any particular location for Play Zone, but knew she wanted it near her home.

“It was more of the right fit,” Martinson said. “I found the space that fit the needs I wanted to fill.”

Because Play Zone is in Germantown, Martinson, who also owns The Place For Kids Child Care in Germantown, said she gets families from numerous places including Mequon, Richfield, Hubertus, Colgate, Menomonee Falls and Milwaukee.

Grgich said Germantown is a great place to open a business because of the convenience of being off of Highway 45 and Mequon Road is a major road through Ozaukee and Washington counties.

Martinson has a degree in biology, chemistry and computers and used to be a clinical researcher.

So, how did Martinson go from a clinical researcher to a the owner of The Place for Kids and the Play Zone?

“When I was expecting my son I toured different day care facilities and I wanted my son to have more of a science based start academically,” Martinson said. “I wanted a strong academic start for him and that’s how we started the day care. From the day care it was just a growing need and how can we keep kids interested when the weather is bad.”

 A sitting area next to a inflatable bounce castle at Play Zone on Thursday, Nov.20 in Germantown.
John Ehlke/Daily News

Martinson said the activities offered is phase one. She said her goal is to offer attractions like paintball, archery tag and Mindball. She said she based her decision on what to offer from what she thought would interest people.

“I know my son is gravitated toward a type of physical activity where he could climb,” Martinson said. “I wanted to give that activity. Also I noticed people want to challenge themselves.

“That’s why we put in the golf simulator, archery and rock climbing wall.”

The rewarding part of opening the Play Zone for Martinson is seeing people’s reactions.

 An archery game that uses an inflatable base on display at Play Zone on Thursday, Nov.20 in Germantown. 
John Ehlke/Daily News

“The excitement when they come in,” Martinson said. “They seem to enjoy the offerings we have. The most rewarding time was we met a family one Friday night. They stayed past close. They came back the next morning and they were here maybe an hour after we opened.

Martinson said she would encourage people to come to the Play Zone because it’s something to do other than watching television.

Play Zone is open from 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays.