We often hear tourists (and even locals) asking for kid-friendly activities to enjoy in Ocean City during the colder winter months or on rainy summer days. Our first answer is typically Planet Maze. With a power-combo of their climbing maze and laser tag, it’s the perfect place to take restless kids for some indoor fun. For those warm and sunny days, there’s also the third section, the Lost Galaxy mini-golf course. With activities for all ages, ample space for large private parties, a complete arcade, and deep roots in the local community, it’s no wonder that Planet Maze is celebrating its 20th year in business in Ocean City.
“We’re family owned and operated so we are an active part of this community. It’s the beauty of being a small-town business,” said Jamie Albright. Albright and fellow owner Rina Thaler took us on a tour of the space this week, as they gear up for their 20th Anniversary Celebration in May. Thaler and Albright started the business with their husbands (both named Jeff) and Ann and Mike Gordon in 1995, after noticing a need for indoor activities in Ocean City. “We all have children that are about the same age and we started to notice that there was nowhere to have birthday parties,” explained Thaler. It wasn’t long before the three couples were hard at work creating Planet Maze, which has grown and evolved into a family-fun-center with each passing year. Today, 20 years later, the 33rd street amusement center includes Lasertron, Lost Galaxy Golf, an arcade and the Climbing Maze.
The youngest members of your clan (ages 2 to 10) can enjoy the climbing maze, which includes a ball pit, slide, climbing tubes and nets to traverse. The Climbing Maze also includes a window at the top for observing the fun inside the Lasertron room. Lastertron is available for ages 8 and up, with kids and adults equally reveling in the competitive fun. Outside lies the alien-themed mini-golf course, which is fun for all ages. “There are three main attractions,” said Thaler, “the great thing about is that every age group can play here.”
The Lost Galaxy Golf Course features aliens, smoke, water, fog, fire…it’s essentially a trip to outer space. Thaler and Albright pointed out that each hole has been recently re-done, with the addition of several new alien friends. “Nighttime is when it’s really fun,” said Albright of the Lost Galaxy, “the whole course comes alive.”
Lastertron offers the perfect venue for birthday parties, team building, company outings, or just some friendly family competition. Each game can host up to 30 people and lasts roughly 12 minutes. “It’s a great experience and it’s fun for the entire family to get in there and play,” said Albright. The entire game is computer controlled, including your ‘life,’ number of times you’ve been hit, and the scores of both teams. “It’s like their playing inside a video game,” pointed out Thaler, adding that for parents eager to get their kids away from computer games, Lastertron is the perfect compromise. “It’s a great workout too,” said Albright.
Upstairs you’ll find the party room. “This area is unique because we offer a private party room,” said Thaler. “You’re not sharing the space with another party…we don’t book two parties at one time.” Also unique is the fact that the Planet Maze staff handles all the stress and mess for you (parents, this is major plus for you). Set up, food, cleanup, even carrying gifts to the car is all handled for you so you can focus on hosting and enjoying yourself. “We’ve had clowns, magicians, DJs….we can and we have done just about everything,” said Albright.
With the 20th Anniversary underway, the Albrights, Thalers, and Gordons were eager to celebrate big with the staff and customers that have created lasting memories at Planet Maze over the years. “We’ve had many, many people that have grown up having their parties here and now bring their own kids back for parties…and we’ve had a lot of employees over the 20 years that have grown up themselves,” said Thaler, noting that the Anniversary Party was a great excuse to invite everyone back. Scheduled for May 2, the celebration will essentially be one massive birthday party for Planet Maze, birthday cake and all.
Customers are also encouraged to share their Planet Maze memories and photos throughout 2015 for the Planet Maze photo contest. Submit your photos for a chance to win a full month of free admission (one winner is selected each month). Monthly winners will also be entered to win the grand prize, which includes an iPad and one full year of free admission for four people.
Thaler and Albright were quick to note that one of the most rewarding aspects of business over the past 20 years has been giving back to the local community. “Because we are locally owned and operated, we give back to the community as often as possible,” said Thaler. Relay for Life, Believe in Tomorrow, local sports teams and schools, Komen MD, Diakonia and Play it Safe are just a few of the organizations that Planet Maze partners with.
As for the upcoming summer season, the Planet Maze team is looking forward to more family fun for visitors and residents in Ocean City. Cheers to #20yearsoffun and to 20 more!