a peek inside the fishbowl

11 Dec, 2011

Review & sneak peek at Funhaven Ottawa (a review you will definitely want to read!)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Easy ways to make kids happy

I’m falling behind on my advent posts! This activity was not especially Christmassy but it could not be helped. When I received an invitation to attend a special pre-opening event at Ottawa’s newest indoor arcade/fun zone I had to accept. I knew the girls would love it.

The girls had no idea what we were doing. What made it even better was the fact that we’d been driving by the signage for WEEKS and watching its progress. Suffice it to say they were pretty amazed when we pulled up right in front.

Funhaven bills itself as a Family Fun Centre and they totally deserve to wear that mantle. There was truly something for everyone in my family there and my girls are the perfect age for it. And Mark, darling Mark, had the opportunity to relive his childhood too.

They played laser tag (which got two thumbs up), and took part in something called “Laser Frenzy” … something I’ve never seen in Ottawa before and looks like something out of Mission Impossible. I can only describe it as a high tech maze. The kids loved it, and Mark did it SEVERAL TIMES. Check out the first couple minutes of this video to see what I mean:

I chatted with the lovely Lydia, the Funhaven sales manager. The Funhaven folks are really passionate about providing great entertainment for the family, and the amount of work that went into this planning this place was staggering. A mere 72 hours before our visit the place still looked like a construction site, and there were even photos to prove it.

Aside from the lasers, we all really liked the bumper cars. I swear, these were the best bumper cars I’ve ever experienced. And I’ve been on A LOT of bumper cars in my day. (Don’t worry, this blog will not become a Bumper Car Review Site.)

Bumper cars at Funhaven

They were really smooth and easy to handle. It helped that we were the only ones on them at the time, but still, this particular activity had us all laughing our heads off.

There’s also a ball pit, and some tubes and climbers a la Cosmic Adventure (but smaller scale) but my girls didn’t indulge in that part. Amy’s boys were there the same night we were, and she reported that they really enjoyed this area (they are a bit younger) and ran through it until there was sweat pouring out of their little bodies. That’s gotta tell you something. (In other words, it’s a great place to wear down your kid to ensure a good night’s sleep.)

A large part of Funhaven is dedicated to arcade-style fun. Here’s a shaky overhead view:

overhead view of Funhaven

Some of the games dole out points for high scores, the kind that can be exchanged for merchandise at the end of the night. Mark has a thing for skee ball, and won a few points for someone:

skee ball at Funhaven

The point system here is rather high-tech. The chains of paper tickets are gone. Points are tallied on a swipe card. The same card serves as cash … you just load them beforehand for game play. No more losing quarters or begging mom for change!

Be forewarned, the shopping process at the end of the night might take 30 minutes or more. So leave time! It’s no fault of Funhaven’s (the process involves scanning the card and the totals are displayed on a TV screen) but Sarah had the hardest time choosing her prize. After much deliberation she finally chose a whoopee cushion, and some other small things. :)

But it’s not all about points here. There are lots of games to try:

Dance Dance Revolution at Funhaven

And here’s my eldest on the climbing wall. They’ve never had the opportunity to do this before so they were pretty thrilled to have the chance:

climbing wall

And if you’re pooped out there’s a chance to sit and have a rest, along with a slice of pizza and a frozen yogurt. Here’s a view of the eating area. I sense some Ikea influence here, don’t you? :)

cafe at Funhaven

I think this would be a pretty amazing place to host a children’s birthday party. The place is clean, the staff is very friendly, and the kids had a great time and can’t wait to go back. It’s a very family-friendly environment and proved to be a great night out. It’s officially open now. I recommend you check it out!

Thank you for having us Funhaven!

This post is part of my 25 days of Christmas advent activities (although I’m actually doing only 12 this year). You can read more about the countdown calendar idea here.

13 Responses to "Review & sneak peek at Funhaven Ottawa (a review you will definitely want to read!)"

1 | Brenda A.

December 11th, 2011 at 9:33 am


We had a fun time Dec 7 and will be back in the future!

2 | Stephanie

December 11th, 2011 at 11:42 am


What’s it like for the toddler/preschool age group? Is it just for older kids?

3 | Wendy

December 11th, 2011 at 2:30 pm


Looks like a lot of fun.

I knpw where we will be heading on the holidays.
Thanks, Andrea.

4 | Kerry

December 11th, 2011 at 9:08 pm


Stephanie, they have a great multi-level jungle gym that is perfect for toddlers or pre-schoolers. There’s a cannon shooting foam balls in the air too- it looks pretty impressive. The kids seem to really love it. I think young kids would have a lot of fun playing mini-bowling too. The lanes are short and there are bumpers which help to keep the ball in the lane.

5 | Chantal

December 11th, 2011 at 9:47 pm


I keep forgetting that place has opened. We’ll have to head there in the new year.

6 | Carly

December 11th, 2011 at 10:00 pm


Drove by it (saw it from the HWY) for the first time last night and wondered how long it had been there and what it was like. This makes your “review” perfect timing! We’ll have to check it out some day soon.

7 | Lydia Klein

December 11th, 2011 at 10:03 pm


Thank you so much for the wonderful review. Again I am so thrilled to have met you and your family and to have had the chance to share Funhaven with you all!

8 | Mary V.

December 12th, 2011 at 9:29 am


Good run down of all the features. But I wonder about the cost – is it an affordable place to host a birthday party? And how easy would it be to keep track of a bunch of kids on a busy Saturday when this place is up and running? (Maybe it’s more for big kids?)

And speaking of ‘big kids’, it looks like it would be a kind of fun place to go without the kids for a night out!

9 | Mary V.

December 12th, 2011 at 9:37 am


Good run down of all the features. I was wondering about the cost – is it an affordable place to host a birthday party? And how easy would it be to keep track of a bunch of kids on a busy Saturday when this place is up and running? (Maybe it’s more for big kids?)

And speaking of ‘big kids’, it looks like it would be a kind of fun place to go without the kids for a night out!

10 | kaitlin

December 13th, 2011 at 11:15 am


I agree with Mary – a little bit about pricing would be nice. I like that they have a card that allows you to load money on to it and go play and play and play…but what does, say $20 get you?

11 | andrea

December 13th, 2011 at 11:16 am


Hi all!
Information on pricing is on their website: http://www.funhaven.com/public/visitus/pricing/index.cfm

Here’s their party info too: http://www.funhaven.com/public/birthday/packages/index.cfm

12 | A perfect birthday party for Sarah >> a peek inside the fishbowl

April 18th, 2012 at 9:41 am


[…] There are a lot of high-tech things here too (some of which I wrote about in this past post). […]

13 | Welcoming a new patron: Funhaven… your destination for family fun in Ottawa! >> a peek inside the fishbowl

December 6th, 2012 at 11:44 am


[…] I’ve written about Funhaven before. We’ve had birthday parties here and on top of that, had many many hours of fun as a family (which you can also read about here). […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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