Review: FunHaven in Ottawa

I took my son to this new kids place in Ottawa called FunHaven. Anyone who knows me is aware that I like going to these types of places about as much as the kids do, so my excitement level was pretty high.

Before we left the house, my son gave me some more material for my “Sh*t My Kids Say” section. Strange kid for sure, lol.

On to the show, we arrived at our destination and we were both giddy with anticipation at what lay ahead.

We got to the counter and paid for the package that included jungle gym time + the mini bowling experience. It was about $24 after taxes, which seemed reasonable, plus I didn’t have to pay to supervise my son, which is a plus for me.

I was excited to play the bumper cars but they were all broken so it was a No-Go. Disappointed to say the least.

Ah well, at least we had the mini bowling to look forward to. Or at least we thought we did.

There were 4 lanes for mini bowling, however 3 of them were broken and the line of people waiting for the single open lane was staggering. We opted for the jungle area with ball pit.

The first thing I noticed about the jungle area is that they had employees standing at the gates but they didn’t seem to be doing anything. My son and I walked right in and then right out again with no questions. I’m not really sure what their role was but I’m hoping it wasn’t to make sure kids didn’t leave unattended because they were not paying attention at all.

The Jungle/Ball Pit is neat. It has these cool cannons that fire harmless foam balls around the open area in the middle of it all. We went to try it but once again a couple of them were broken, leaving only a couple other cannons for like 40 kids. My son is only three and I’m not a parent that can approach other people’s kids to tell them to share. It just doesn’t feel right.

The other issue I had with the jungle area was that there was no one enforcing any sort of order in there. There were kids climbing up the slides and others throwing balls at kids coming down the slides (including my son). I agree that it is the parents responsibility to discipline their kids but from looking around, I could tell that most of the parent’s there had no interest in discipline and were there for the rest on the couches.

Once we left the jungle area, we decided to try out the bowling again. It looked like one of the broken lanes was fixed but upon closer inspection, it was zapping in and out of consciousness. I asked an employee about it but he just shrugged and walked away with no explanation. We threw a couple balls while it worked but my son was getting frustrated at the fact that it kept breaking dow so we moved on.

The gaming area was alright, we played some spin the wheel game and sat in the racing car game seats. My son thought he was driving the car, which was probably the highlight for me, lol. “I won, I won” he exclaimed at one point.

We got a swipe card when we got in (standard procedure at these types of places now) and when I decided it was time to go, we went to see how many points he had on it. 59 points was the total and the girl at the counter was very nice and bumped us up to 60 so my son could get what he wanted.

Overall, I was disappointed with our trip to FunHaven and thought it was going to be a lot more fun than it turned out to be. A lot of stuff was broken, Mini bowling, bumper cars, 2 cannons and a couple of the toddler games. There were some pluses such as price and prizes but it definitely wasn’t an experience to write home about.

I was also disappointed at the lack of stuff for anyone under 3-4 years old to do. They have one play structure but that’s about it. For people with young families, this is not somewhere to bring your very young kids.

I think from now on we’ll stick to Cosmic Adventures. They are a little more expensive but you get way more for your money in my opinion. I hate doing negative reviews but I can only call it the way we saw it. Too much broken equipment for such a new place.

Have you been to FunHaven? Let me know what you thought, who knows, you might even change my mind about it!


18 replies
  1. Craig
    Craig says:

    Laser tag was worth price of admission alone. Once the boys tried it, they couldn’t care less about any of the other activities.

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Cool, we may have to give that a try to see if Luke gets into it. I’m sure he will though, you can’t really go wrong with lasers, lol.

  2. mamawee (ashley picco)
    mamawee (ashley picco) says:

    Chris – I have been twice. I did a review about it before they had their grand opening (just Julien and I went) and he had a fantastic time.

    The 2nd time we went, my mom and I took both the boys, and again – they had an amazing time. The staff at the gates of ballocity are there more to answer questions and help swipe if your card isn’t working.

    The point of it is more parent supervision – I will agree that it can be quite chaotic, but when we were there the kids were pretty good. I did have to talk to one kid cause they practically threw Kyle out of their way when trying to climb up, but other than that, it was fine.

    Bumper cars, Lucas most likely isn’t tall enough for anyways, and since they are single rider, he wouldnt even be able to ride with you driving.

    The first time, Julien tried the bowling but was getting frustrated with it, so the next time we went during the week and just did the jungle gym – 7.99 is a great price for 2-3 hrs of entertainment.

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Funny how people can have completely different experiences at a place.

      I guess then, I’m not sure what the card swiper is for? We walked right in and out without scanning. There were employees standing inside the ballocity place too but they just talked while the kids ran up the slides.

      Like I said, it’s the parents responsibility to watch their kids, but why were those employees even in there then?

      I’m not even that hard to please, lol, I guess our experiences couldn’t have been more opposite. I think with a place that new, having so much broken equipment is unacceptable. I would have asked for a refund for the bowling but the line was too long when we left.

      Ah well, thanks for your comments, shows that maybe we just went on a really bad day. I’m pretty sure we’ll stick with cosmic adventure and playtime for kids, at least I know what I’m going to get with those places.

      Can’t wait for summer so we can all play outside again!!!

      • mamawee (ashley picco)
        mamawee (ashley picco) says:

        I do agree that with it being so new, the amount of broken items is a lot.

        In regards to the employee’s – if you host a birthday party, you get 2 party hosts – so there could have been 1 or more parties on at that time. The hosts stay with the kids through the entire thing

  3. Dave
    Dave says:

    Hi Chris. I’m the owner of Funhaven and I want to take some time to address your concerns. First of all, thank you very much, both for visiting us at Funhaven and for writing up a review. Feedback is always great for us and I really appreciate your time. We have a policy of transparency in how we communicate about our business, so I will be plain and honest about the issues that affected you.

    The Bumper Cars are not actually broken, they are waiting on a provincial ride permit. Although these same cars are licensed and operating elsewhere in Ontario, the province requires that we submit an engineering report and await certification before we operate them. This is an issue that affects us as a new business (we’ve been open for two months), and we are quite disappointed that it takes so long to resolve. We do not advertise that we have bumper cars right now, and when guests purchase any of our packages that would include them, we provide an extra $5 on their card. We expect them to be operating within two weeks.

    With respect to broken attractions, we have a 10-person tech team that is responsible for fixing anything that breaks immediately. Sometimes, however, we need to order parts and we are not able to resolve an issue immediately. In the case of the bowling lanes, Saturday is the first time they have ever failed. We were on the phone with their support team for 6 hours, and in the end they had to ship us out a software image to get them working again. Fixing broken attractions is a top priority for us, and the fact that 3 things were not functioning when you were here just breaks my heart when I know we spend so much effort to make everything perfect.

    We agree that we need more toddler activities and this is a top priority for us as we move forward. As an all-ages entertainment centre, we have a much broader selection of attractions than most other facilities, but not all attractions are suitable for all guests. I’m disappointed that you didn’t try our laser tag arena; it is one of the best in North America and it is laugh-out-loud fun.

    In conclusion I’d like to say that we do a lot of things very well at Funhaven, but there are many places where we still need to improve. With every week that passes we get a little bit better at providing our services, managing our inventory, training our employees, establishing our policies, and giving the guest a better and better experience. I feel that the experience you had at Funhaven is not representative of who we are, and the repair issues may have caused you to not appreciate a lot of things that we do very well. With you, as with any guest that has less than a great experience, I would encourage you to talk to us and give us the opportunity to make your day great. For us at Funhaven, making your life better, even for a few hours, is our mission and we will go to great lengths to accomplish that goal.

    I hope we will get the opportunity to serve you and Noodle again, and if so, I know you will have a better experience than the last time. Thanks for this forum and the opportunity to respond.

    • Chris
      Chris says:

      Hi Dave, thanks for the prompt and respectful response. Just for a little background on me. I am a kid at heart. I love these play places and frequent them with my kids. I hated to even write anything after our trip but this is the new path I’ve chosen with this blog.

      I didn’t know about the bumper cars not being activated yet, I was told that they were broken so I went with that.

      I had a feeling that we had chosen a bad day to show up with everything that was broken and I couldn’t imagine it was always like that. Unfortunately that was the day we showed up so I didn’t have much of a sample size.

      I agree about the toddler activities, my 21 month old daughter would lose interest very quickly with only one structure to play with. It would be great to see a little more for the little uns to do but I can respect that you have a lot of other things going on there.

      I respect your decision to come in here and respond to the review. As I mentioned, it was our first time there so we didn’t get a chance to try out everything, like the laser tag.

      Based on your response, I imagine we’ll be making another trip to your shop to give it another go. Thanks for taking the time to respond, I appreciate the honesty.

      Cheers! Chris

    • Kelly
      Kelly says:

      I had my sons birthday at fun haven today. The girl that took care of our guests was amazing! I did pay the extra $120 for the goo party and was sadly disappointed! The picture on the website shows this kids with his hands covered in too having a great time…false advertising. The kids got a tiny container to shake their too in, which ended up being more like a small rubber ball and was not gooey at all! Not worth the extra money and should really just be included in the already very high price. Cashing in our tickets at the end was chaotic to say the least. A little more organization needed there for sure. Also I realized my son did not get to go in the ticket grab, which was part of the package. Not my responsibility to remember. This was our second time there and we had lots of fun both times, however the birthday package, mainly the extra was a complete and total rip off. Save yourself the $120, that’s right $120 and go by the little pots of too at the dollar store. Way better too and its only a dollar.

      • Kelly
        Kelly says:

        I was just contacted by Fun Haven and was told that this was not how the goo party was supposed to go and that their supplies did not arrive and was given a refund for the goo add on. Very impressed with their customer service and that they took the time to not only read my comment card but to also rectify the problem. Thank you Fun Haven, my faith has been restored!

  4. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Hi Chris,
    I have now been there twice, once for fun with my kids and once for a birthday party. Both experiences were complete disasters and I can say with almost complete certainty that I will never be back unless some poor parent of one of my kids friends makes the mistake of booking a party there.
    Firstly, you get off lucky going with a little guy like Lucas because although everything there is ALWAYS out of commission and the staff are NEVER around to help, at least he’s not going nuts over the games yet which are total money grabbers and can easily break the bank within an hour. At least at Cosmic they are at the back of the place and more of an after thought as opposed to the focal point and main attraction.
    At the party the supervisor wanted to leave 30 minutes before she was supposed to and the mom had to tell her to stay. When I got there to pick up my son, I walked around and couldn’t see them anywhere so I asked at the front desk and was told that that party was done. She had no idea where they were. I finally did find them and was told that they hadn’t been able to do their laser tag yet so we has to wait. By the time they finally did that, it was an hour after the party was supposed to have finished. A long time for a parent to have to sit at a table amongst a ton of wired kids on a Saturday afternoon. Other parents who arrived after they had all started laser tag had no idea where their kids were and were also simply told that the party was finished. Ok, so where are my kids then?!?! It was so disorganized. Made me feel very comfortable in the decision I had made to cancel my daughter’s party that I had booked before it opened.
    During the party one of the kids left the play area even though there are those supposed staff members standing “guard” and he wandered around for 10 minutes in the main part of the building while we were searching through the hordes of children shooting balls at each other for him. Not really sure why they stand there either since nothing is enforced in any way.
    I must also point out that when we went we were encouraged at the front desk to go with the most expensive package because of the bumper cars and other things that weren’t working, and weren’t informed of, and we DID NOT get an extra $5 on our cards at all, so not sure when that was implemented.
    I guess in the end I wish it would have been more of a Cosmic Adventure type of place with much more security, as opposed to a glorified arcade, and will for sure be much happier to drive to Blair Rd from North Gower than to have to spend another cent at “Fun”haven.

    • Dave
      Dave says:

      Hi Rachel. In all of our time open, I have never run across an article like the one you’ve posted here. Since I was not present at the time that you had this experience and was not alerted to any issues or hour-long delays in party programming, I will have to take you at your word that these events did actually occur as you describe. That makes me very sad.

      We have two supervisors and two managers dedicated solely to ensuring that parties run safely, smoothly, and without delays or errors. At the beginning of each party, we hand out a card that details the exact timing and flow of the party. The 2 party hosts assigned to your party are accountable for ensuring that they adhere to the schedule as closely as possible. We treat the custody of the children with the utmost care and concern and children are never released into the general population. At the end of the designated party time, children are returned to the custody of the parents, and any children whose parents are not present are left under the care of the birthday parents. I’m not saying that things don’t go wrong sometimes at Funhaven, but when they do, we make every effort to ensure that our guests are left thrilled with our dedication to their happiness. Our party programs have been running remarkably smoothly for the past month and our comment cards have shown exceptionally high levels of guest satisfaction.

      As I mentioned to Chris, it is very rare that any of our equipment is broken. We have over 100 individual attractions, and there about 2 games waiting for parts at any given time. We take pride in having one of the best ‘uptime’ records in the industry, primarily because of the care we take in repairing and maintaining our equipment diligently. That being said, children can be very aggressive with the equipment, and damage is inevitable.

      With respect to the $5 bonus that we give out to compensate for the bumper cars, it has always been in place, and it is automatically put onto every card by the computer any time the cards are created. It is possible that you didn’t notice the extra $5, but it is not possible that it was not included. If you still have your card, we can pull up a card history for you to demonstrate this.

      Cosmic Adventures is a wonderful place that I have taken my own 3 children to countless times. They are clean, safe, and well operated, and I would never have a negative thing to say about them. We are different than Cosmic, we serve a different age range, we exist for different reasons, and we have a much more varied and complex array of attractions. I would suggest that there are times when Cosmic is the right choice, and times when Funhaven is the right choice. Our job here is to try to get better every day at delivering our services to ensure that we provide a world-class entertainment experience. We’re not there yet, but we will keep improving until we are.

      If you have any interest in finding out what we are about and how we can make things better, I would LOVE to speak with you directly. If you take the time to invest in us by speaking with me, we will get better at what we do, you will have the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference, and we will definitely make sure that we show you how much your comments are appreciated. Please email me at [email protected] or call me directly at 613-225-5655.


  5. Rachel
    Rachel says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for your reply, however, having been there twice and having a terrible experience BOTH times, I would not like to invest anymore of my time into your business.

    I realize the first year is tough and hope that in the future your issues will all be worked out, but in the meantime there is really nothing at this point that would change my mind, as these are the only experiences I have personally had with Funahven.

    All the best,


  6. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    I agree completely with Rachel. I have been to funhaven several times and attended a party there several weeks ago. I must say very unsatisfactory in terms of staff. The manager that was there was too busy on her cellphone and her own child to even be bothered. Cosnic might be a little pricey but service there has always been great. Wouldn’t consider thinking twice going to cosmic over funhaven.

  7. Brent
    Brent says:

    Be careful on the swiping of the fun cards. About half the machines didn’t give credits but took payment for another game instead.

    Pay attention or the machines will take your hard earned money very quickly without you realizing it.

  8. Tara
    Tara says:

    Would NOT recommend Funhaven at all!!! They still haven’t fixed the bumper car issue, only had 2 working but then shut the whole thing down twice in the spam of a few hours.

    The jungle area is neat but the foam balls could use a good cleaning. Most of tge ‘cool’ games (racing games) are overpriced and you dont earn tickets. Also, there was a school field trip and kids were running around everywhere unsupervised, pushing my 4 year old several times! It is not worth the price!!!


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