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“Good for park kids but we will not go back due to poor customer service”

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Cardinal/Ottawa South KOA
Reviewed June 26, 2013

We started camping here in summer of 2009 and have come several times a summer every year since. The location is not the best but the activities for the kids made up for it. When our family comes we usually rent three to four sights and a camping cabin. We always reserved specific buddy sites when we left for our next visit, however, when we would return our sites would be occupied by campers that were well known by the owner. When asked about it they would say "you don't really want to make them move do you?". Since the kids really enjoyed the park we would let it go. This past weekend( June 21-23, 2013) was the straw that broke the camels back, we had visitors for supper, they came in at 1700 and had to leave right after the cake the owner wanted to charge them $100 to come in for supper. This is after we three sites for the weekend $390, $72 of overpriced wood ($9 a bag)and $15 for the kids to play mini golf. Thankfully the slide wasn't open because it would have cost another small fortune $7 per person.
When we talked to Dan the owner about the $20 charge he became so enraged he was shaking. I believe it was Dan's son also felt he had to be involved and tryed to escalate the situation every chance he got. Dan told us to either pay the charge or pack up our trailers and leave. Dan also said he could charge $100 a night and he would still the park and he didn't need our business.
Dan also has a habit of walking around and telling people to be quiet just prior to 2300, however, if you watch him he will not tell certain sites that his buddies camp.
Cardinal/ Ottawa South KOA has become more about the almighty dollar and not about the camping experience for this reason they have lost my whole families business.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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6  Thank fontanles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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70 - 76 of 83 reviews

Reviewed June 24, 2013

We are new to camping since last summer. We have gone to this KOA 3 times last year and had a blast. It is a family campground with lots of activities for the kids. We hardly see ours except for meal times. There's a jumping pillow, a 'heated' pool, playground and planned activities. There's also a giant slide (extra cost of 7$/person) which they also liked. Campsites are good (we have a travel trailer), but tent sites are fairly close to each other. Campground, bathrooms, pool & playground are very clean. It was by far one of our favorite quick weekend getaway, being only 1h15mins away from home.

This past weekend, was our first time there this year. Staff is very friendly, but Dan (one of the owners) was in a 'mood' this weekend - hardly smiled, was rude a few times, seemed to be very impatient. During the kids bingo, he dropped by and shushed very loudly, asking the kids "did everyone hear what she (game host) just said? the kids replied, no. He responded "Do you know why, it's because you're being too loud" - yes, it was loud, but the bingo was being held in the basement of the building, very small room - why not use the party tent instead? During the movie, they provide popcorn. The kids went, but came back shortly due to too many bugs. He then said rudely, that everyone was just hear for the free popcorn and then taking off and not watching the movie... even my 8 year old thought he was rude and lacking manners.

Since this is a family campground, the quiet hours are from 11h00 pm to 8h00 am - which is fine by us...but being told to be quiet twice if 5 minutes is a bit much, again, we were told in a condescending tone is pretty annoying... I guess quiet time, means not one sound, no whispering ? We had friends camping near the campground and others near the fields - they were woken up around 6h30 by kids playing loudly in the park while Dan and another worker were cleaning the pool. Nothing was done, kids weren't told to be quiet, parents not advised? I would assume that quiet hours would work both ways, not just in the evening.

Another thing that bugged us was the fact that the hayride was cancelled, there was at least 20 kids & parents waiting at 7h00 for it and then we were told that it was cancelled do to weather. It drizzled for 5 minutes!

Other incidents happened throughout the weekend, again Dan being grumpy, rude and no smile whatsoever.

It's not always like that, but this is the worst I've seen in the times we've been there. We'll most likely give it another try sometime this summer, but if we get the same attitude, then sadly this will be our last time there.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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8  Thank marlchr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2013

I frequently visit the KOA Cardinal with my family. The owner is strict and usually this is not a problem.
However, this past weekend the owner was not only strict but extremely arrogant and confrontational. During the kids bingo, he came in the room and yelled, "did everyone hear the instructions" Some of the children said no. He responded "Do you know why, it's because you're not listening" in a very aggressive tone.
He also cancelled the hay ride because there was drizzle. The drizzle stopped at 7:05 and therefore cancelling the hay ride was not necessary especially given the number of kids that were standing there waiting.

Also, he yelled at a guy for not wearing his bracelet. He said "Are you looking to leave"

Quiet hours at from 11:00 to 8:00. The owner came by at 11:00 to tell us to be quiet. At 11:05 we were whispering, he came by again! Yet, my friends were at the tent site near the playground and were woken up by kids who were playing at 6:30 am. I thought quiet hours were 11:00 to 8:00???

I could list many examples of his rude behaviour but will stop here. The bottom line is this campground has lots of activities for the kids and in general is a great place to go if you are looking for a family campground. However, the owner is getting more and more arrogant, rude and confrontational.

Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
13  Thank amcad25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2013

We have been to this KOA three times in the past year. It is located 40 minutes south of Ottawa and is a good getaway for Ottawa residents. It is very well organized The owners put a lot of effort into the activities. The halloween spooky hayride was the best one for younger children I have seen. Sites are close but the tall pine trees create a nice atmosphere. This is an rv campground primarily - the tent sites are very small. The pool is clean and good for kids. There is a new elaborate playground, a new minigolf and a jumping pillow. The inflatable waterslide is set up on Saturdays. The washrooms were clean as were the sites. Everything is close so kids can ride their bikes around or to the activities. There are no sewer facilities at the site so you must use the pumppout which is well managed with help at busy times and is as clean as possible. You pay for firewood but it is good quality and is delivered to the site. Washrooms and other facilities are very clean. Management and staff have never been anything but polite and helpful. Families sit around the fire in the evening . We are returning with friends again this year. This is an excellent rv camp for families with children.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank csavage3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2012

Just returned from six days at the Cardinal/Ottawa South KOA. We had an overall good time at this location. For a KOA this site was beautiful, the trees between each site towered 60 feet in the air. Having the mature foliage gave a sense of privacy even though the sites were no larger then any other KOA.

The pool was alright. Their idea of "heated" was a little different from ours and the sewer dump site is only 20ft away. On Sunday afternoon as a long line of campers emptied their tanks the smell of sewage was overwhelming. The kids playground was super, the bouncy castle was very popular and there is a mini putt nearing completion. They also had a 40ft high inflatable waterside available for $5 for the day.

As others have said this truly is a family site. We were very impressed with how polite the atmosphere was. Some have complained how rude the owner was... We never saw that. We only saw polite and attentive staff whose positive attitude obviously rubs off on their guests. Yes you do have to wear those mildly annoying paper bracelets... If you can't tolerate those... Good luck vacationing anywhere!

Our only real complaint was, in part our own fault for not looking at a map. We booked this trip planning to spend a few days in Ottawa and maybe go white water rafting... You would think when Ottawa is in the name, it would at lead be close to the city. It is one hour into Ottawa and 1.5 hours to the nearest rafting.

We pull a 21ft travel trailer and had no trouble fitting on our site. In fact we were one of the smallest rigs there. Most of the sites are water/electric. There are no sites with sewer hookups but if you are staying 4 days or more you get a free visit from the honeywagon.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Routh_Family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2012

I have read some of the reviews on this site, and was quite concerned. This was our first real camping trip, and we wanted it to be great. Well it was! Everyone there made us feel welcomed, and the owners were wonderfully helpful. I was glad that they had a lights out at 11, as we were in a tent trailer with 3 kids. If you want to get drunk and rowdy do not go to a family campground. We had a great time and highly recommend!

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with family
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Thank Twinmommy3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 2, 2012

We have camped at Cardinal KOA many times over the past three years. There are always activities going on for the kids. With any KOA, there are rules to follow....they are there to make certain the experience goes well for all. Would recommend highly...when we go, we never see the kids throughout the day except for meals and sleep.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Muggit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cardinal/Ottawa South KOA

Address: 609 Pittston Road, Cardinal, Ontario K0E 1E0, Canada
Location: Canada > Ontario > Cardinal
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Cardinal
Number of rooms: 100
Also Known As:
Cardinal/Ottawa South KOA Ontario

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