a peek inside the fishbowl

19 Feb, 2012

Checking out Ottawa’s Funatorium Explorium

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

Me and Star Wars Dude

Me and some Star Wars dude!

When I was first approached about the Funatorium Explorium I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea at first. I’ll spare you similar kinds of wonderings and describe it as it really is: two giant halls in Ottawa’s CE Centre (which is near the airport) filled with all kinds of things for families to do together. There’s active play, quieter play, and lots of really interesting activities that you may not have tried before. (Me: I love trying new things. This, in my view, is what life is all about!) Standouts for us included…

Balloon Darth:

Balloon darth

The climbing wall… (Sarah made it to the top!):

Climbing wall

A spider wall – complete with magnetic boots and gloves (is this a kid’s dream come true or what?):

Spider wall

Gyro gym (no one barfed!):

Emma on the Gyro.

Bodyzorbs (inflatable spheres… think of them as inflatable “body” bumper cars):


Jousting (although I think the girls used this as a sanctioned opportunity to beat the pulp out of one another):


There was also padded costume sumo wrestling to try, which Emma and I did together. I’ve always wanted to try this and it was HILARIOUS. You can catch a glimpse of it in this 30-second video Mark made on his iPhone:

What I liked most about the Funatorium Explorium is that we all had an opportunity to try something new and exciting … and excel at it. Whether it’s scaling to the top of a rock wall or tackling your mother while wearing padded pants, well, isn’t it nice when something fun ends up being a confidence booster too?

Family Day Monday is your last chance to check the Funatorium Explorium it out before it’s gone. So go!

9 Responses to "Checking out Ottawa’s Funatorium Explorium"

1 | Iain Robson

February 19th, 2012 at 3:51 pm


That looks like a ton of fun. I would go there despite the fact that I don’t have kids.

Thanks for the share.

2 | Ginger

February 19th, 2012 at 4:50 pm


:) That looks like so much fun! I loved the video of you all!

3 | Theresa

February 20th, 2012 at 10:43 am


Would you saynt is worth almost $100? ( family pass is $75, plus $ 7 parking.)

4 | Tiamo

February 20th, 2012 at 4:26 pm


I felt cheated out by the exhibition. At a cost of $20 per person (yes, anyone over the age of 3 pays that). It felt very cheap.

Most of the booths were commercial or trying to sell/advertise something. There were very few sitting tables. Line up were so long (we waited 1 hr to get on the spider thing).

The staff were polite and helpful. However, the event all seemed like merchandising stuff to parents instead of focusing on the quality of entertainment available.

I’ve seen many similar cultural kids shows in Ottawa for much less of an equal or better quality. For the $90 entry fee I’ve spent on our family of four, we could have seen a nice ’67 hockey game and had plenty of food.

Probably the biggest nag was the limited food and absurd fee for adult entry of $20.

5 | Cindy Canning

February 20th, 2012 at 6:50 pm


We came with Runamok Party Rentals and set up and operated 5 inflatable rides. It seemed to me that everybody had a ton of fun. Most people were having a blast spending the day with their families. The shows and performances were great! We loved all the great people we met and they kept us laughing with their funny antics with the Sumo Suits and Bungee Racer. I hope they do it again next year.

6 | Brenda A

February 20th, 2012 at 7:07 pm


Totally worth the money! Really, we arrived at 9am for opening today and left at 5pm after being a part of setting a Guinness World Record! We had something new and fun to try every minute we were there. All day long. For under $100 for a family of 4. I cannot think of another local activity on Family Day long weekend that was a better bang for your buck. We had so much fun today! Bravo to all at Funatorium!!!!

7 | Miss Vicky

February 21st, 2012 at 11:06 pm


I too thought the price was problematic. It’s out of reach for so many families, and add on to that the cost of parking as well as the coat check…. My kids are little, so we were only there for a few hours, which made it a pretty expensive outing. Compare it to, say, a day at Saunder’s Farm, which costs a little less but offers a lot more, and without the lineups. We did have fun, but it didn’t sit well with me. Perhaps next year they could bring in some extra income via tables, say, for summer camps, and reduce the price for families.

8 | andrea

February 22nd, 2012 at 12:54 pm


I’ve been thinking about the cost. It’s definitely expensive for some people. I think that if the kids are a certain age the value is better. Where else can the whole family try out a climbing wall (dad too!), and Gyro things and sumo wrestling? Smaller kids would have a harder time doing these “big” things and I think the value decreases.

It costs over $50 to bring a family to see a movie nowadays… I think when you compare it to that the cost seems pretty good for what it is. FWIW I wasn’t impressed with the extra money that families needed to spend for parking and coat check.

9 | Cindy

February 23rd, 2012 at 8:21 am


Hi Guys. I feel that it was great value for $25 ($18 if you bought tickets online) because just the rock climbing wall alone costs $8 at any other pay-per-play type event. The inflatable rides cost $2 at a pay-per-play.

So considering that people could go on as many times as they want – it was a good deal.

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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 daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). 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, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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