Safe and friendly Finland is perfect for family vacations, providing families with a wide range of options to guarantee a holiday that can be as relaxed or as exciting as they choose. Whether you choose to stay in one of the cities or towns, or to venture out into the sparsely populated countryside, you'll find plenty of accommodation options and more than enough fun things to do.
In winter Lapland attracts visitors from around the world, as families bring the kids to visit Santa Claus in his own village, enjoy the underground adventure of SantaPark, visit the incredible ice-built SnowCastle in Kemi or Snow Village in Lainio, take rides on sleighs pulled by huskies or reindeer, or enjoy skiing, snow-boarding, or snowmobile treks. Families can choose to stay in luxurious hotels, cosy chalets, or even pass the night in an igloo!
However, the versatility of Finland as a holiday destination for families is really evident in the summer, especially for those who relish the outdoors and want to enjoy the fresh air and natural beauty of one of Europe's last great wildernesses, a country with no fewer than 37 National Parks. Camping sites abound, all of them excellently equipped and usually adjacent to a lake where swimming and boating activities are readily available. Finland also has countless cottages for rent, usually within an hours drive of a town yet still in almost total peace and isolation.
Finland also has 4 zoos, over 60 smaller animal parks and petting zoos, 3 aquariums and sea life centres, and 14 theme and amusement parks, many of which are water parks. A country with over 188,000 lakes, and a coastline of around 1,250 km, offers plenty of swimming beaches, made all the more tempting by the temperature of the water which is surprisingly warm by the end of June.
There are over 60 zoos and animal parks in Finland, most of which are rather small animal sanctuaries or farm enterprises. The biggest zoos are located in Helsinki (Korkeasaari Zoo), Ranua (Ranua Zoo), Ähtäri (Ähtäri Zoo), and in Lieto (Zoolandia). There are also 3 centres where you explore life in the oceans and seas; Sea Life in Helsinki, the Maretarium in Kotka, and Särkänniemi Aquarium in Tampere.
Theme Parks and Amusement Parks are abundant in Finland, by the end of 2010 there were 14 permanent theme parks in the country, as well as the famous Suomen Tivoli, a family run travelling carnival that has been in business for over 100 years and moves continually around the country. 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.
Virtually every neighborhood in every town and city in Finland will have a play park for children, and these are invariably kept impeccably and perfectly safe. It is not unusual to see toys and playthings left tidily next to slides, swings and roundabouts at the end of the day, as Finnish children would never take home toys that didn't belong to them.