Let’s face it Ottawa has so many outdoor activities in the colder months for kids, but what if its too cold? Well, we sent our mom reviewer Shannon and Kathleen to review FunHaven Ottawa.
Here is what they had to say:
This past weekend I had the opportunity to take my daughter (almost 6 years old) and her best friend (7 years old) to FunHaven for a girls getaway morning.
We decided to go pretty early around 09:45 to avoid too many crowds. Upon arrival, we only had to wait a short time to be helped. When I had presented my passes for the Fun Pack (which includes all-day access to ~ bumper cars ~ laser frenzy ~ jungle gym ~ and the rock wall ~ as well as a $5 fun card); I was advised that the jungle gym was closed for maintenance. The girls while disappointed were also excited to be compensated with a few roller coaster rides J WIN for us! Way to go FunHaven for offering something else while you are making the play area safer.
The girls thoroughly enjoyed the roller coaster. Followed by a few games; I must note though that $5 won’t go very far in games. After some games, they enjoyed a turn on the bumper cars and rock wall before going back for some more games (I added some extra game money for them). Then they did a little bit of the “laser frenzy” … honestly, they thought it was ok; but a little boring, and the different levels didn’t seem to change the lasers inside. After all this they were hungry, so we proceeded to eat there (Something I would normally not do); and while I was glad there were options for food, I found the food sub-par and overpriced.
To finish off the day the girls did another bumper car round and rock wall. Then the fun of picking their prizes with all the tickets won. This concept is a great one, but once again I was a little disappointed; there was one lone worker at the prize counter, and we had to wait about 10 minutes; even though there was only one person in front of us. The prizes are what’s to be expected.
Overall I would recommend FunHaven as a place to just let the kids out and have some FUN. In fact, we have my daughter’s birthday party booked there. It’s nice that it is in the west end. My one hope would be that they incorporate an entry system similar to Chuck E Cheese. Where all kids are stamped with the same number as their parent or guardian. This extra security measure would prevent kids from getting lost or someone trying to take the wrong kid out. Sadly there have been stories of this, and the need for a little more security in my view is needed.
We went to Funhaven midweek during the last week of summer holidays. I had my three kids, my 12-year-old son, 5-year-old daughter and 7-month-old son. Funhaven does not have an admission fee, but they charge for the attractions. They offer a few different packages for their attractions. We had the most basic of the three packages, the fun package. The other two are named funner and funnest. Our package included unlimited all-day access to bumper cars, laser frenzy, jungle gym, rock wall and a $5 fun card for the arcade.
There are other attractions available at Funhaven, the Crazy 8 indoor roller coaster, laser tag, and escape rooms.
The kids first headed to the bumper cars. These aren’t the same as midway bumper cars, but sort of like small round hover crafts that can spin around. There are a few age and height restrictions for this one. Kids need to be 36″ tall to ride. They must be 5 years old to ride alone. Kids ages 3-7 can also ride on a buddy seat with an adult driver if they are 50″ or less. The buddy seats are added to the bumper car and the child sits right in front of the driver. The adult driver does not need to have paid admission if the child in the buddy seat has. My daughter especially enjoyed the bumper cars. She took two rides solo and then two more in the buddy seat with me as the driver. The bumper car area had upbeat pop music playing, which was a fun touch and made the time waiting in line go by faster.
Next, we stopped by the jungle gym. Here the kids had to wear socks, but if you forgot them they were for sale at the front desk. Besides the usual climbing structure and slides this jungle gym has ball blasters, which fire these spongy balls. There is one big one in the middle and several ones up on the second level. It is noisy with the hiss and bangs coming from the ball blasters. The structure was also very crowded with kids from a summer camp. My oldest didn’t really enjoy it too much, he found it too crowded, but my daughter loved it. The jungle gym is in one corner beside the bumper cars and the indoor roller coaster. It is loud with the noises from all three attractions, it didn’t phase my youngest, but might bother kids who are sensitive to loud noises.
The rock wall was a climbing wall that went right up to the ceiling with a button for kids to press when they reached the top. Kids wear a harness and helmet. Neither of my kids wanted to try this out, they are not fans of heights. If you do have kids that like to climb it looks like fun.
We stopped for a snack and chose the frozen yogurt sundae bar. This is self serve frozen yogurt with an assortment of candy toppings. You pay by weight, so once you add a few gummies candies on there it can get expensive, but the kids loved it. We stopped into the washroom at this point and at least in the women’s one there was a nice big counter near the diaper change area, a preschooler sized sink and a comfy chair which could be used to feed a baby in private.
The later frenzy is a small room where laser beams are projected, and the goal is to get from one side to the other without breaking the beam. There are different levels of difficulty. There s no attendant at this game, but there is a place to swipe your fun card to activate the game. The card reader does say it costs $2 to play, but since we had the package, it doesn’t take the money off the card. Some, kids who were there before we arrived said you didn’t have to swipe but you do. Also it was supposed to be one person at a time, but kids were running in and out, which will mess up the game for the person playing. Once we got it sorted out, my oldest enjoyed playing. He tried a few times, trying to beat his score. My daughter found the room scary because it was dark, so wouldn’t give it a try.
The arcade has an assortment of games, from low tech skeeball and basketball shooting games, to racing games, a giant connect four, a photo booth and claw games. Most games cost $1 each, some of the games geared at younger kids were 50 cents and a few were $1.25. You don’t have tokens to play, you simply swipe your fun card. Some of the games give reward tickets as well, these are also stored on the fun card. My daughter was able to play quite a few games, as she preferred some of the less expensive options. She even earned enough tickets to get a small prize, she got a lanyard with a keychain. The prizes range from candies and bouncy balls, up to larger toys and even electronics. My oldest blew the five dollars on multiple tries at a claw game, but he had fun, and wasn’t too disappointed that he didn’t get a prize.
Although it isn’t advertised online or when you arrive I know from previous visits that you can purchase individual attractions instead of a package. If your kids are like mine and don’t want to go on all the attractions it might be a better value to buy them separately. Overall it was a fun afternoon, we were there about three hours, and even with the things we didn’t try it was still good value for time we were there. The attractions on this package might be starting to be too young for the 12-year-old, but my five-year-old loved it and the baby really enjoyed looking around at everything. I would recommend this package for kids from 6-10 years old.
Some of the facilities could use improvements and updating. My oldest mentioned some of the ball blasters were broken in the jungle gym and that some of the padding on the structure was cracked and ripped. At the frozen yogurt area about half of the machines were out of service. As well three of the five skeeball games were not working. We weren’t affected, but after the last time we got off the bumper cars they were closing for 15 minutes for repairs much to the disappointment of those in line waiting. When we needed it the woman’s washroom was closed. No explanation, the entrance was just roped off. It seemed to be taking a long time for it to reopen so I ended up changing a diaper in the stroller in the hall outside the washroom. I believe there were other washrooms upstairs, but that wasn’t practical with the stroller. Also, better signage would be useful at the Lazer Frenzy.
For more details about Funhaven or to plan your families visit or birthday parties
check-out their website