MAKING LIFE FUN
Kara Hyatt owns Play Town, but for Kara, it is much more than just a business. Play Town is nothing short of a God story.
Kara’s story begins with her being who God called her to be, a loving, compassionate caregiver for her family and others. Kara cared for and was a stem cell donor for her sister, who battled leukemia. Sadly, Kara’s sister passed away. Shortly after, while on an outing with her grandchildren, Kara received a strong call from the Lord that it was her time to step outside of her home and make a difference in the community.
“After all of our sons, Zach, Boone, and Parker, had graduated, I really felt like the Lord was calling me to do something outside of our home. During a visit to a children’s play center with my daughter-in-law, Ashley and grandchildren, Ashley encouraged me to pursue opening a play center in Saline County. I wanted a place where my grandchildren could play, imagine, and grow, all while I got to be involved,” says Kara.
God opened the doors for Kara and her husband Byron, and they quickly signed a lease on their location. At the time, Kara’s husband was in the construction business, and she says he “made my vision a reality and we opened in November 2016.”
Play Town was a success from the beginning; then COVID hit. “During that time, we had to shut the doors, but in God’s divine providence, He knew I was needed elsewhere.” When the world came to a halt and Play Town had to close its doors, Kara’s mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and Kara once again became a caregiver, this time for her mother and father. “When both my parents had passed and COVID was winding down, my husband asked if I wanted to open Play Town back up, or just walk away.” For Kara, the answer was easy.
Play Town is a unique venture; initially built for Kara’s grandchildren (Blakely, Kaden, Sam, Jack, Lexi, and one due in March), it quickly became a mission field. “Play Town is a safe, fun place for children, but I also strive to create an environment of friendship and respite for the adults while their children are playing.” Play Town and staff have hosted birthdays, adoption celebrations, team parties, and preschool graduations, as well as special play days for children’s groups including foster families and DHS visits.
Play Town’s toy store was built with birthday parties in mind. “We want to make things as easy on our birthday parents as we can. I constantly am looking, shopping, trying to find the newest, greatest toy or gift at a reasonable price.” Kara’s customers include out-of-state relatives who call and order just the right gift for the special child in their life. “We then wrap and tag the gifts and put them in the party room on party day so the relatives can have a place at the party, even if they can’t be physically present.”
Play Town is a place where adults can meet new friends or catch up with existing friends while the children play, use their imaginations, and well, just be kids! It’s a place where people from all walks of life can “do life” together. They have multiple play centers with different theme-related toys for the children to use their imaginations. Two of the more popular centers include a two-story playground and a projector that shoots a video game on the floor. “The children play the games with their feet to provide exercise as well as tons of fun,” says Kara.
Play Town is constantly adding new toys and center ideas to stay fun and fresh for all their little players, while trying to keep prices low so everyone who wants to can be a part of Play Town. For more information about Play Town, visit www.PlayTownBenton.com.