Family Vacation in Jyväskylä, Finland: activities and things to see with Kids
The oldest building in Jyvaskyla, a planetarium chiseled inside a cliff, Circus World, retro planes, a train tour, boat rides, sports fields, attractions, and more – it’s all included in our family guide to Jyvaskyla.
Jyvaskyla Entertainment for the Kids
During the summer season, Jyvaskyla hosts a family tourism program called Lasten Loytoretket (or “Voyage of Discovery for Kids”). Children are offered the opportunity to become real explorers and make their way down a path provided with a special “Explorer’s Passport”. At each point that kids reach - they will receive a checkpoint stamp in their passport. Also, certain services are offered to passport holders with a discount, for instance, at Nokkakivi Amusement Park, two bracelets (for two days of unlimited access to all attractions) are sold for the price of one. Also, with the purchase of a family ticket for a cruise along Lake Paijanne, parents and kids get to be treated to free ice cream. In order to receive the “Explorer’s Passport”, please stop by the Information Center in the city of Jyvaskyla (Asemakatu 7). It is also possible to view the attractions map of Jyvaskyla in greater detail on the official website at visit.jyvaskyla.fi/lastenloytoretket/in-english/order-the-voyages-of-discovery-pass.
n 20 kilometers away from Jyvaskyla is the the Nokkakivi Amusement Park. The park has a racetrack, some carousels and bounce castles, a dry pool, and a play station for small children. It is also possibe to feed and pet little sheep in the mobile petting zoo. The park’s Circus World features all kinds of old-time video games, mini carousels, and a Ferris wheel for the smallest of children. Nokkaviki’s attractions operate all summer long rain or shine (but not in the event of lightening). Entrance to the park is free, but in order to go on a ride, visitors need to buy a ticket or an unlimited rides bracelet.
One other place worth noting, which is open year round, is the indoor Hoplop Amusement Park, which features a maze for small children with cannons, slides, and a dry pool along with trampolines and video games for older kids. Ther is a café at Hoplop Jyvaskyla and it is possible to hold a kids’ birthday party here.
Kids entertainment programs on cruises down the Paijanne Lake are organized by the Paijanne Risteilyt Hilden Oy cruise company. The beautiful views of the rocky shores are complimented by dinner onboard, while kids get to meet the ship’s Star Captain. The company also organizes one-day cruises between Jyvaskyla and Lahti, as well as boat trips down the five channels between Jyvaskyla and Suolahti. Tickets are sold online at the company’s website as well as at the port’s ticket offices (Satamakatu 8).
The Kids Traffic Center at Viitaniemi Park is open during the summer and operates every day regardless of the weather. Children get to learn and practice the traffic rules on rented bikes, while smaller children can ride on tricycles. Kids can also ride along with parents on two-person car-bikes, and visiting the kids traffic center is free of charge.
Lillijuna - the tourist train - courses between the city center and the harbor. The sightseeing tour around the city lasts 45 minutes. In order to visit all the attractions on the route, the Lillijuna train should be boarded at the end station, which is located on the intersection of Kauppakatu and Vainonkatu streets. Strollers can be left at a special “parking” center for the course of the tour.
Jyvaskyla Museums and Attractions for Kids
It is possible to see retro planes and trace back the history of aircraft engineering in the 20th century at the Central Finnish Aviation Museum, located near the Jyvaskyla Airport. The exhibition has bombers from World War I, “Focke”, the “Messerschmitts”, along with a collection of other military and transportation models from the times of the Second World War. The museum’s pride and joy is their preservation of the only remaining Brewster B-239 fighter jet in the world, which participated in the Winter War and there are also collections of hydroplanes, helicopters, and jet planes from the second half of the 20th century. Visitors are allowed to climb inside the cockpit of an old MiG and have their pictures taken in the pilot’s seat.
The oldest surviving buildings in Jyvaskyla (dated 1837), along with other wooden constructions of the 19th century are open to visitors in the Old District of Toivolan Vanha Piha. In the neighborhood are the house of the Toivolan family, a private maternity clinic, a blacksmith workshop, a medic’s house, and a carpenter’s house. The district features souvenir shops and a café with craftsmen festivities there on holidays.
Presented at the Finnish Fine Arts Museum are national costumes, dishes, baskets, caskets, and hundreds of other types of handiwork. In the workshop on the second floor, visitors can try crafting a souvenir modeled after an established form or get creative with own ideas. For children under 18 years of age, entrance to the museum is free, while Fridays are a free visiting days for everybody.
Dioramas of various eras with effigies of bears, mooses, and other animals are presented at the Central Finnish Nature Museum on Harju Hill. Visitors touring the museum are accompanied by “sounds of nature”, and children get to play with special interactive screens in the halls. After visiting the museum, it might be a good idea to stop by the restaurant with a panoramic terrace, or visit the observation deck on the Vesilinna Tower. Guests can make their way uphill to the museum by walking along one of the foot trails, or by going up the Stairs of Knowledge cut out of stone. In the summer and the Holiday Season various tunes by Finnish composers are played at the tower.
In the Callio Planetarium chiseled inside a cliff there is a sphere-shaped movie theater, which is open every day and plays movie about space and stars, as well as educational cartoons and musical programs. It is also possible to look at the starry sky in real time. The building in the cliff also features a café, a kids room, and even a sauna.
Kids shows, comedies, and dramatic performances are put on at the Jyvaskyla City Theater. Even those who don’t speak Finnish can go see a musical or a symphonic orchestra concert here. All kinds of licorice candy and chocolates can be found at the store in the Panda factory in Vaajakoski (7 kilometers from Jyvaskyla). Amongst the most popular tastes are chocolate candies with mint or cloudberry filling; cherry, blueberry, and raspberry licorice; the store also allows for some candy tasting before making a purchase. At the entrance to the shop is a panda statue - the symbol of the factory, and everybody is welcome to take photos with it.
Outdoor Family Activities in Jyvaskyla
Various hotels and spas located near Jyvaskyla are happy to take in guests with children. The Peurunka Complex has a waterpark with a large slide along with six pools: a “lazy river”, a jacuzzi, a swimming pool, a cold pool, a kids pool, as well as a paddling pool for the smallest of children. At the Rantasipi Laajavuori Hotel and Spa there are two pools with panoramic windows and a nice view of the forest. Jyvaskyla city pools welcome one-time family visitors as well. At the Aalto Alvari Swimming Center it is possible to go for a swim in a wave pool or sports pools 50 or 25 meters long, take a dip into cold water, ride down a slide, and go for a float down the “lazy river”. For small children there is also a paddling pool. At the Wellamo Complex there are two swimming pools 25 and 11 meters long, a cold pool, and a paddling pool.
Another venue open all year round for more outdoorsy families is Laaiis Laavuori Skiing Resort where in the winter it is possible to go skiing, snowboarding, and ice-skating. For children there are two separate slopes: Burton Kid’s Riglet Park for snowboarding and Ski Sport Finland Ski Stars with mini ramps for ski cross. In the summer season there is a rope park with 5 courses and 62 obstacles at the resort, as well as a bike park, and some racing tracks.
The largest bowling alley in Central Finland is located at the Hutunki Sports Complex in Vaajakoski. It is also possible to play pool, squash, field hockey, tennis, and badminton here, and the miniature golf course gets festive lights during the winter time. Hutunki visitors can also try climbing or getting the gist of korfball or intercross.
The indoor Jyvaskyla go-karting center in the Pavilionki exhibition complex is in operation year round. The hangar is equipped with a 280-meter long racetrack that has karts for kids and adults. To ride in kids’ karts children have to be between 125 and 140 cm tall. Children are also allowed to join an adult in a two-seat Dino Twin kart.
Located in the Salmiranta district is the Jyvaskyla Skate Park. In the winter season, visitors skate in an indoor basin and in the summer time there is also an outdoor skate park. Fans of extreme outdoor activities are advised to visit the parkour park in the Kangaslampi District. Constructed for the passion of skateboarders there are ramps, rails, stone obstacles, and tartan surface.
Jyvaskyla Parks and Kids’ Playgrounds
Jyvaskyla kids’ playgrounds are equipped with swings, sandboxes, wall bars, and slides, they also feature water fountains and sports recreation areas nearby. There is a total of 14 of kids’ play areas in Jyvaskyla:
Puistotorin leikkipuisto (Puistotori 1),
Mäkimatin perhepuisto (Oikokatu 7),
Mannilan toimintapuisto (Tiilitie),
Ilveksen toimintapuisto (Ilveskuja 31),
Emännäntien toimintapuisto (Emännäntie),
Kangaslammen toimintapuisto (Taimistontie 6a),
Lohikosken toimintapuisto (Turotie 3),
Pupuhuhdan toimintapuisto (Vemmelsääri 1),
Kotalammen toimintapuisto (Nääpikäntie 5),
Neulaskankaan toimintapuisto (Keljonkankaantie 66),
Sarvivuoren toimintapuisto (Sääkslahdentie 11),
Yrttisuon toimintapuisto (Kekkolantie 18),
Muuratsalon toimintapuisto (Vuorenlahdenkatu 38).
At the Kirkkopuisto Park, right in the city center, it is possible to set up a picnic, go for a walk - along the Harju Hill walking trails, enjoy some sun bathing - at the beaches of the Viitaniemi, Lutakko, and Naissaari parks. Jyvaskyla visitors must walk the city center at night, when the “City of Lights” is illuminated.
Please look for festivals, exhibitions, and other family-friendly events of Jyvaskyla and other parts of Finland in our What’s On section.
Photos: Joonas Lyytinen, nokkakivi.fi, paijanne-risteilythilden.fi, visit.jyvaskyla.fi, facebook.com/craftmuseum, facebook.com/jyvaskylanyliopistonmuseo, facebook.com/peurunkaru, laajis.fi, facebook.com/hutunki, wikipedia.org