Activities, museums and things to do with kids in Kotka, Southern Finland

17.02.2015 5539

Here is a review of the museums and places of interest in Kotka. Spend your trip the right way by reading where you can take a dip, go fishing, and surf warm water in winter and summer. Learn how to tie sea knots, man the helm of a yacht or an airplane, and bask in the beauty of organ music. While you’re at it, make sure to check out the shipbuilders and peer into the outskirts of the city with a pair of binoculars.

Places of interest in Kotka, Kotka museums for children

In Vellamo, the largest maritime center of Europe, you can play pirates on X-Box. Not only that, but you can play lifeguard too, and pull people out of the water on a watercraft simulator.


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In the static exhibitions halls are collections of ships, yachts, and hydroplanes. In one of the boats’ cabins they even let you sit behind the helm. On the mount with pieces of rope you can tie various sea knots and at the interactive display called Flow you can get acquainted with the history of the Kotka region. Temporary interactive exhibitions come and go in Vellamo center and in summer an observation deck opens on the roof of the building. Each Wednesday from 6:00 pm to 20:00 pm, admittance into Vellamo is free and children up to 18 years of age are always admitted free of charge.

You can get a good glimpse of all the dwellers of the Finnish lakes and rivers of in the Maretarium. There are a total of 22 thematic aquariums complete with sharp-toothed pikes, burbots, lampreys and crawfish along with those originating from the Kymi river, the Lapland reservoirs, and the Gulf of Finland. The large, seven-meter aquarium in the center of the hall provides a habitat for Baltic Sea fish and every day scuba divers showcase quite spectacle of a feeding session. For children under 4 years, entrance into the Maretarium is free.


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You can also check out the collection of airframes and planes offered for your viewing pleasure at Karhula Flying Club Museum. In the airplane shed at the Kymi aerial port is a collection of around 20 planes from the first half of the 20th century. You can take a look inside each one of the cabins and in some of them they even let you sit down. The airplane museum in Kotka is open in January and from May to September. Entrance is free.  

In the Finnish Wooden Boat Center, they have restored an old dock building and built a new one. In the workshop, they build wooden ships using old-time production techniques and visitors are allowed to stand and watch how it’s done. To see the boats you need, go up to the balcony on the second floor while the workshop is in operation or just look into the windows of the WBC. There’s also a café to have a rest in. In the summertime a terrace even opens up at the wharf.

On the Kymi river, you can find the Langinkoski Imperial Fishing Lodge Museum of Alexander III. You can take a walk by yourself through the estate with the emperor’s lodge, chapel, fishermen’s house, and coffee pavilion or you can have a tour guide accompany you (theatrical tours and held there in traditional apparel). It goes without saying that fishing is permitted there as well.


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To see Kotka from a height of 72 meters and catch a glimpse of the outskirts of the city through binoculars, climb up to the observation deck of the Haukkavuoren Lookout Tower. On the first tier is an Italian restaurant that works year-round and along with an exhibition hall. As for the deck of the tower, you can pay it a visit from May until the end of December.

Christmas concerts and music festivals are mostly held in the Kotka Church. An organ is located in the center of the neo-gothic hall with different-colored stained glass and carved wood. In summer, a guide provides its services to tourists in the church.  

Ferries depart from Kotka during the navigation season to the nearby islands featuring the ruins of the fortifications of Ruotsinsalmi. On Varisaari Island, you can take a walk through the remains of Fort Elizabeth and Fort Slava on the island of Kukouri. Fairies depart daily from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm from Sapokka wharf (from the middle of May up to the middle of August).


Active leisure in Kotka with your children

If you have children over 5 years old, you should consider visiting Sirius recreation center. Air shows are held for children and adults in a vertical wind tunnel (according to the February 2014 edition, the tunnel is temporary closed). Additionally, surfing is available to even children –those who are taller than 104 cm are able to surf while lying down and, if they are taller than 130, may surf standing on the board. Sirius Sport Resort is located in Pyhtaa on Helsinki-Kotka Highway (15-20 minutes by car from downtown Kotka).


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Freestyle swimming sessions are held in the Kotka pool. In Katarina swimming center is a large swimming pool with diving boards, a rehabilitation pool, and a warm paddling pool for small children. In the summertime an outdoor pool opens up too and admittance to the pool is paid (in December 2013, an adult ticket for 2 hours cost 5 euros) with no permits required.

In summertime, public beaches open to the public in Kotka. You can take a dive or get a tan on Mansikkalahti Beach in Katarina Park, on Aijanniemi Beach in the area of Suulisniemi and Santalahi on Mussalo Island, and on Tampsan Montuu Lake in the area of Huvila. At all public beaches in Kotka there are changing rooms and bathrooms.     


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Kotka gardens and parks

Kotka features several parks with beautiful landscapes. During the warm season, you can take a walk through waterfalls, pounds, flourishing meadows, and other vegetation in Sapokka Water Park in the middle of the city and in the new park Yokipuysto in the area of Karhula. Curiously, an herb garden is laid out in the restored Kotka redoubt, where you’re allowed to rip off a couple of the scent plants’ leaves to take with you.    

There are children’s playgrounds in Sibelius ParkIsopuisto, and Fuchsia Park as well as in Katarina Sea Park. An observation deck with a view of Kotka’s port is located at the top of the hill in Palotorninvuoren Hill Park and you can take a walk through the central street and take pictures with contemporary sculptures on the Kotka Promenade.


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In the winter, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to pack a meal to take with you on your way to Kotka – there are several hills in Kumparepuisto Park with a height of as much as 45 meters, where people ride down on snow slides in freezing weather. There are also courses paved there for cross-country skiing. In summertime in Kumparepuisto Park, you can have a picnic on the grass, play golf or Frisbee, or climb up top a viewing platform on the highest hill.  

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