Amusement & Theme Parks
photo © Discovering Finland
Theme Parks and Amusement Parks are abundant in Finland, there are over dozen permanent theme parks in the country, as well as the famous Suomen Tivoli, a family run travelling carnival. Water Parks are particularly popular with Finns, young and old alike, which means that virtually all the larger swimming arenas and pools in the cities, and every spa, will have some water park features in the form of slides, etc. The following is a list of the most popular Theme Parks & Amusement Parks in Finland.
Conveniently situated on a hill in central Helsinki overlooking the city and the harbour, Linnanmäki is the most popular amusement park in Finland, and offers some 44 rides to choose from, from the high speed thrills of the roller coasters to those of a more sedate pace for the youngest visitors. Entrance to the park is free all summer, and a wristband will allow to avail of as many rides as your nerves can handle. There is an area especially designed for the younger and smaller children, which has a wide range of rides and games. Linnanmäki amusement park has entertained fun loving people since 1950. The 65-years-old wooden rollercoaster remains the most popular ride.
Muumimaailma, or Moomin World, is a theme park based on the Moomin books by Tove Jansson especially for children, located on the island of Kailo next to old town of Naantali, close to the city of Turku in Western Finland. Although not a traditional amusement park, there are numerous activities and fantasy trails to be followed, the most popular of which is the five storey, blueberry coloured Moomin House, where visitors can explore all five stories. Hemulen’s yellow house is located next to the Moomin House. It is also possible to see Moominmama’s Kitchen, Fire Station, Snufkin’s Camp, Moominpappa’s boat, etc. in Moomin World. Visitors may meet Moomin characters there or the Witch in her cottage, or follow Toffler’s Path or explore the Witch’s Labyrinth, The Hattifatteners’ Cave and The Groke’s House. There are also numerous daily performances in the Moomin Theatre Emma.
According to The Independent on Sunday, Moomin World is the world’s fourth best theme park for children and it is open daily from mid-June to mid-August. The nearby Väski Adventure Island is also worth a visit.
Situated next to the town of Lievestuore near Jyväskylä, Nokkakivi is the newest amusement park in Finland, and at the moment one of the smaller, featuring a dozen or so rides.
One ride is especially notable in the Nokkakivi park because of its long operational history in Finnish amusement parks. Roundup has been in three other Finnish amusement parks: 1961-1976 in Linnanmäki, 1977 in Särkänniemi and 1986-2002 in Tykkimäki, before it came to Nokkakivi park for its opening season.
PowerPark is a large scale karting and amusement park in Alahärmä, Southern Ostrobothnia, Finland. The main karting track is designed to resemble a Formula 1 circuit, but they also have a hectare-large indoor track, the largest in Europe. Apart from the karting tracks, there are some 31 rides including 2 roller coasters and a very popular water ride. The resort also contains a restaurant, large hotel, a camping area with cottages and all sorts of amusement rides.
Located in the village of Tervaskoski, in the municipality of Janakkala, Puuhamaa began operations in 1984. It differs from most amusement parks in that instead of electrical rides it provides instead a wide range of activities for children. These include slides and waterslides, bouncy castles, race tracks, etc. It also has a minigolf course and a video arcade. Its attendance peaks at roughly 5,000 children a day. The park has an entrance fee, but all its features are free.
Open from April through September, Särkänniemi is one of Finland’s best theme parks. There are some 35 different rides in Särkänniemi including their famous Half-Pipe, Tornado, and Trombi Rollercoaster. There is a separate Kiddie Land for smaller children, and a children’s zoo; the Aquarium, Dolphinarium, and Planetarium, where education and entertainment blend perfectly; the Näsinneula Observation Tower, which stands at 168m and is the tallest observation tower in the Nordic, and which has an excellent restaurant at 124m open throughout the year; and the Sara Hildén Art Museum. Särkänniemi attracts some 600,000 people every year, most of which are return visitors, which highlights the quality of service available here.
Santa Park is one of the newest amusement parks in Finland, opening towards the end 1998. Located in a large cavern some 50 metres underground, it is definitely not your typical amusement park, and is themed for Christmas. Santa Park is located just outside Rovaniemi, Finnish Lappland, in the Arctic Circle.
Next to park you’ll find the Santa Claus Village, where you can leave your car, and then take the free land train to the park, passing through a reindeer park on your way.
The attractions of Santa Park include an Elf Show, Santa’s Workshop, Gingerbread Kitchen, a Sleigh Ride, the Elf School and Elf Workshop, and the Post Office.
Tykkimäki Amusement Park
Located just 4 km from the centre of Kouvola, Tykkimäki is an amusement park with some 30 different rides, along with restaurants and kiosks. Nearby, on the shores of Lake Käyrälampi there is a well equipped camping site. Many of Tykkimäki‘s rides are preowned rides bought from other parks, most often from Linnanmäki or Särkänniemi. The latest ride relocation happened in 2007, when Tykkimäki opened the Kouvola-pyörä Ferris wheel, which had been at Linnanmäki over 40 years.
Serena Water Park
Serena Water Park, located in Espoo, is currently the largest water park in the Nordic countries, and provides so many things to do and experience that an all-day tickets may not be enough for the keenest water enthusiasts! There are tropical fountains, bubble pools, a childrens pool and a delightful terrace where visitors can relax.
For those who prefer thrills to relaxation, there are numerous water slides to hurtle down, and a large wave pool. The wild Villivirta rapids provides both quiet waters and fast flowing rapids, and is 140m long. The Black Hole is one of the most popular rides, combining a fast descent with light and sound effects. There are also numerous outdoor attractions, including Mat Slides, 2 Ring Rivers, the Liane Tower, and the Children’s Quarter, as well as cliffs around the pool area where everyone can enjoy the summer sunshine.
Situated just outside the town of Mikkeli, Visulahti is one of the most popular family destinations in Finland is Visulahti, one of the country’s finest water-park and adventure playground. Visulahti is separated into themed sections, such as Dinosauria with its many slides, cannons, showers, and pools; and Xonpuisto, with electric and micro cars, quads, and motorcycles. There are plenty of choices of activities, from bungee jumping and paintball, rodeo bulls and space balls, giant swings and even sumo wrestling! Visulahti also provides accommodation, caravan and camping facilities, as well as a top-class restaurant, and is open daily from June through August.
Water Park JukuPark is located right at the heart of the Hiekkasärkät tourism region, about halfway between the cities of Kokkola and Raahe. This relatively new waterpark has a number of huge new water slides that you can descend on tyres, a speed mat or in the traditional way. In addition to the massive slides, JukuPark Kalajoki also has large pools and plenty of sunbathing areas and terraces, as well a fine range of amusement park rides and equipment. There are several grills, cafés, kiosks and terraces where the visitor can snack or dine at leisure.
The vast outdoor JukuPark waterpark in Turku is the latest family theme park in Finland, and is conveniently located just 3km from the centre of the city, next to the Impivaara swimming pool and sports ground.
This brand new two and half hectare complex, which opened its gates in June 2010, has lots of fabulous water slides which you can descend on tyres, large heated pools and pleasant sunbathing areas. Like its older cousin in Kalajoki, there are also pleasant grill-restaurants, kiosks and terraces where all the family can relax.
Directly adjoining Vantaa’s Jumbo shopping mall, only 2.5 km from the Helsinki airport, the Flamingo resort complex opened to the public on September 1st, 2008. Unlike anything in the Nordic countries, the resort’s biggest attraction is the Flamingo Spa, which boasts a large water park and spa and wellness centre for adult guests.
Flamingo Spa’s water park was built with enjoyment for the entire family in mind. The water park’s trump cards are the Nordic countries’ largest and fastest water slides, which launch riders from the summit of the Mayan temple. Other impressive water features are the Wild River, surging geysers, a streampool, diving pool and pool for watersports.
If Suomen Tivoli (the Finnish Carnival) was a permanent amusement park, it would be the fourth biggest in the country. However, it’s not a park but a travelling carnival. It is owned by the Sariola family who has operated travelling fairs and circuses for a century in Finland.