One of the big challenges on any vacation to a foreign city is how to find things to do that will be fun for the whole family. Younger children don’t usually have much interest in museums or fine restaurants. But child-oriented science museums or playgrounds aren’t what the adults traveled so far to see.
But there’s a great alternative in Helsinki: the Linnanmäki Amusement Park. It’s fun for ‘kids’ from one to a hundred.
The Linnanmäki Amusement Park has been amusing visitors since 1950. To date, over 46 million of them. Founded to raise money for children orphaned by WWII, it wasn’t expected to last more than a few years.
Construction was done in a short two months on land that no one saw any use for, leased from the city for only three years. Nevertheless, the park has been a continuing major attraction in Helsinki since it opened.
Castle Hill, as the name Linnanmäki translates, is the oldest amusement park in the city. The name was derived from the water tower that still forms the center of the attractions. It sits in beautiful parkland atop a hill, so there’s plenty to see even if you don’t want to ride the rides. But, you really should try them.
There are dozens of different rides, including a roller coaster set on wooden rails. Not the largest or fastest, and comparatively mild by U.S. standards, but since it’s made from wood you really get the feeling of the track. Built in 1951 it was expected to last about 20 years, but it’s still going strong.
Besides the rides, there are arcade games, a Fairytale Valley, live stage shows, and a lot more. In other words, something for everyone. You can wander around for free, then pay only when you want to try one of the great games. There’s also a one-price wristband option that lets you ride anything and everything without paying separately for each.
There are a dance hall and a hall of mirrors. Sideshows abound and there are many concession stands full of traditional amusement park food and trinkets. There’s a Ferris wheel, a monorail, bumper cars, and a whole lot more. The bumper cars have been operating since the park’s opening day.
A real nostalgia trip!