Fun things to do with kids and activities for the whole family in the Helsinki metropolitan area, Vantaa and Espoo

16.08.2017 16232


What is there to do in Helsinki that your kid will enjoy? Our review provides you information on cool and unusual places, free museums, entertainment, parks and gardens in Helsinki where you can go with your whole family in the winter and the summer. 

 

 

Kids History Museums in Helsinki

 

You can get a better understanding of Finnish history and culture at the National Museum of Finland. Presented at the exhibition are traditional attire, silverware, weapons, and awards in chronological order from ancient labor tools and pictures from the scenes of Kalevala to the kitchen furniture of the 1970s. On the third floor of the museum, you can also visit Vintti Workshop where you can build a wall out of brick and chopped wood, grind corn into flour, work on a typewriter, and have a seat on a horse. Admission is free for kids under 18. 

 

 

You can get to Suomenlinna Fortress, or Sveaborg as it’s called in Swedish, on a ferry from Market Square (Kauppatori). Beyond the walls of the fortress on 8 different islands are museums, open-air theaters, and glass and ceramic factories. You can also visit one of the observation decks at the fortress, check out the strongholds there, and stop by Suomenlinna Museum.   

Located in Suomenlinna is a Submarine called Vessiko that you can climb on and check out how the marines used to live (this museum is open from the middle of May until the end of August). Also in the fortress is a Toy Museum with a collection of old puppets and puppet houses, teddy bears, wind-up toys, and board games.  

Seurassari Open-Air Museum is located on Seurassari Island. This ethnographic museum complex features over 80 different constructions from all over Finland: peasant estates, a church, a mill, a school, a post house, shops, and workshops. You can get inside any of the buildings and check out how the craftsmen work during the warm season from May 15th to September 15th; an adult ticket costs 8 euros, 2 and a half euros for kids between 7 and 17; and preschoolers are admitted free of charge. Also during holidays – on Easter, Ivan Kupala Day, and Christmas, they do national celebrations on Seurassari Island with singing and dancing.   

 

 

At the Natural History Museum, they tell you about the history of the development of various species and nature in Finland. With an audio guide in English, you can check out all the exhibits of the museum by yourself. Presented at the Bones Tell exhibit, are animal skeletons and ancient fossils and at the World Nature exhibit are dioramas of various nature zones: coniferous forests, taigas, mountain ranges, savannas, and tropics. 

At the Finnish Nature exhibition, you get to see the animals, birds, and fish of Finland and in the Life History hall you get to become more familiar with prehistoric nature and see the skeletons of different dinosaurs.

 

 

Interactive and unusual museums in Helsinki

Heureka Interactive Center is located in Tikkurila in the suburb of Vantaa. There you get to see a flying carpet, lift an automobile, shoot an air gun, and ride a bike along a rope. Also open at Heureka is a stadium where there are rats playing basketball, a planetarium with space movies, and a café.

 

 

Located in the suburbs of Espoo is WeeGee Exhibition Center with EMMA modern arts museum, a clock museum, an ethnographic exhibition, and KAMU – a museum of Espoo. You can also take your kids to Horseshoe Finnish Toy Museum with a collection of teddy bears, dolls, and a big railroad that kids can ride down a hill or find themselves in a magical castle.

 

Another thing you get to see at WeeGee is how people imagined houses of the future in the beginning of the 1970s: located in the complex is Futuro, a mobile home out of plastic that was modeled in 1968. In the yellow building, which looks like a UFO, you’ll find a kitchen, a bathroom, a fireplace, and beds for 6 people. You can get inside between May 15 and September 1 every year.  Admission to all of the WeeGee museums is free for kids under 18.

 

 

You get to catch a sneak peek and check out different stage outfits that people wear in different countries at the Theater Museum. There they let you try on outfits, dub different famous movies, participate in an ad, read a breaking news story, adjust the lighting on a stage, and become an actor on the platforms of traditional and contemporary theater. 

Gathered at the Technical Museum at the mouth of the Vantaa River is a collection of old telephones, radio receivers, music players, TVs, and other instruments and electronics. There you get to see tractor and racecar Formula-1, models of houses and factories, visit the cabin of a cruise ship, make a call using a switch-board, and go for a ride on an old elevator. Located in the next building is a Power plant museum with all the different equipment: a mill, pumps, water motors, and a steam station. 

 

 

You can check out the prototype of Donald Duck’s car at the Automobile museum in Espoo. Included in its collection are old Soviet and American automobiles, a circus motorcycle with a sidecar painted with flowers, motorcycles, mopeds, and even bicycles.

Another option for you is to take your kids to the Game Cave (LeikkiLuola) on Hakaniemi Square in Helsinki. Year round there your kid can jump on trampolines, build stuff out of Legos, climb on a wall, and explore a maze with a dry pool. For children under 3 years old they have a soft play room as well. 2-hour tickets cost 8 euros for children under 3 years old and 12 euros for kids between 3 and 14 years old. Adults are also required to go with their kids, but they are admitted for free.


Mazes with slides, dry pools and trampolines for toddlers and children up to 12 years are opened in the entertainment center HopLop in Helsinki, as well as in HopLop Espoo and HopLop Vantaa.

At the family Mumin Kaffe both parents and children can have lunch or drink tea with cakes, flick through the picture books about the Moomin-trolls in different languages ​​and buy souvenirs with characters from Tove Jansson’s fairy tales. And in Vantaa, at the Fazer Visitor center it is possible to learn and see how the famous chocolates and pastries are made, how the plant embraces new technologies and preserves old recipes (there is a cafe and a candy shop as well).

Free museums in Helsinki

You can visit Helsinki City Museum and any of its branches for free: the Sederholm HouseThe street train museumHakasalmi VillaBurgher’s House, and the Workers house.

 

 

Since 2016, several interactive exhibitions have been opened in the Söderholm House on the Senate Square. In the Time Machine room, visitors are invited to travel to the past and watch the city life a hundred years ago through the eyes of Signe Brander, a Finnish documentary photographer. And at the Children's City exhibition it is possible to become a captain of a ship or a shopkeeper of the 18th century, sit at a school desk from the 1930s and visit the Grandmother’s Home back the 1970s, with all appropriate interiors, furniture and toys.

Activities in Helsinki with children

Outdoor pool Allas is open all year round in the heart of Helsinki. Three pools are located on a large wooden pontoon; the 25-meter bowl and the 17-meter children's pool are both heated and filled with fresh water, and another 25-meter pool has sea water (with current sea water temperature), which has been purified with ultraviolet.

The Snadi Stadi Activity park and the Rush trampoline center are made for those who are obsessed with jumps, rolls, twists and flips; kids can be also active indoors at the Super Parks in Espoo and Vantaa. The Megazone laser tag arena invites children and adults to roam its dark corridors, painted with luminous patterns and play games. The trampoline park Get Air Espoo with a separate zone for kids aged 1 to 3, as well as the Duudsonit indoor sports complex with trampolines, a climbing wall, a rollerdrome and a skate park are expected to open in the Fall of 2017.

The Leppävaara sports complex with an outdoor 50-meter pool and inflatable children's paddling pool, playgrounds for volleyball, basketball and badminton, is located in Espoo, but not far from Helsinki. Leppävaara visitors can go horse riding, or ride a zip-line at the Huippu rope park from mid-April to October. The Angry Birds playground in Leppävaara is free for all to enjoy; and another Angry Birds playground is to be found in the Oittaa area.

 

Linnanmaki Theme Park and Sea Life Helsinki

At Linnanmaki Amusement Park are over 60 different attractions, including roller coasters, an old carousel, swings, and a Ferris wheel. The park has a lot of carousels, swings, and play stations in particular. During the warm season, they do concerts, shows, and circus performances on the stage as well.

There is also an observation deck called Panorama there as well with a view of Helsinki 50 meters high. Admission is free. Admission to the amusement park is free too, but to go on a ride, you need a ticket for each ride or a bracelet for the whole day. The attractions operate from the end of April until the middle of October.

 

 

SEA LIFE Helsinki Oceanarium in Linnanmaki Park is open year round. Living there are rays, piranhas, sea horses, and fish. You can check out sharks and tropical fish in the underwater tunnel.

 

 

Korkeasaari Zoo and Tropicario Zoo in Helsinki

Korkeasaari Zoo operates year round on an island with the same name. Inhabiting Amazonia, Africasia, Borealia, and the other theme rooms are over 150 species of animals. Living in Cat Valley are leopards, lynxes, snow leopards, lions, and tigers and it also features manul cat and red panda cages. There are peacocks walking around the zoo and you can rent a stroller for your child at the entrance. Every winter they have an ice sculpture festival at the zoo as well. 

At Tropicario, you get to check out snakes and lizards. Calling this museum home are poisonous snakes, pythons, Komodo dragons, crocodiles, and turtles. They also have a fish aquarium there as well as exotic birds. 

 

 

Helsinki parks and gardens

Kaivopuisto Park in the Helsinki city center is located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland. In the park, you can walk around, visit an observation deck, have a look at some attractions – foreign embassy buildings, an old observatory called Ursa, and a sell that you can drink from. In the summer time, Kaivopuisto hosts festivities and celebrations and a watch tower even opens up as well at a height of 150 meters that adults can bungee jump off of.

They do concerts and music festivals during the summer at Esplanade Park (Esplanadin puisto as the Fins call it, often also referred to as Espa). This park is rather small, but it is located right in the center of Helsinki. Espa Park also features a fountain and a restaurant.

The Yana Sibelius Monument, one of dozens of organ pipes, is located in the small, like-named Sibelius Park (Sibeliusken puisto). 

 

 

Located next to Linnanmaki Entertainment Park is Alppipuisto Park where they do an annual jazz festival. This park has a fountain pond and an observation deck as well.

The Botanical Garden (Kasvitieteellinen puutarha) of Helsinki University takes up half of Kaisaniemi Park. In the large, glass greenhouses of the garden you can see tropical plants, giant water lilies, lily pads, and lotuses and in the sports section of the park, you get to sit on the grass and play football, volleyball, or tennis.

Collected at the Winter garden (Talvipuutarha) are over 200 types of plants – pines, palm trees, cactuses, limes, magnolias, and camellias. In the winter garden you can also see parrots and carp in a pond. Entrance is free

You can check out tropical plants from Southeast Asia at Gardenia next to the Olympic Stadium. Growing in the greenhouse are orchids, palms, and bamboo trees and rice, mango, cotton and other crops in the high moisture garden.

Helsinki water parks

It’s easy to get from Helsinki to one of the nearby water parksSerena Water Park is located in Espoo and Flamingo is located in the suburb of Vantaa. You can find out more about these water parks as well as other Finnish water parks in our review.

 

 

Cost of transportation in Helsinki: Helsinki transportation and the Helsinki Card

The cost of transportation in the Finnish capitol is relatively high (minimum 2 euros per ride for an adult), so the best option for active tourist is the all-inclusive underground, bus, and street train ticket. The all-inclusive ride card may be acquired at the underground station machines or at the R-kiosks. Passes are valid from 2 hours to 7 days after they are first used, not after they are purchased. Transportation throughout Helsinki is free for children under 7 years old and a 50% discount is provided for kids between 7 and 16 years old.

 

 

Museum discounts and the cost of transportation around Helsinki are included with a purchase of the Helsinki Card. You can use this card to ride on city transport, take off to Suomenlinna Fortress on a ferry, get inside 20 museums, and get discounts for Sea Life Zoo and Oceanarium, Heureka Museum, as well as different shops, restaurants, and spa centers. And if you are going to visit Greater Helsinki or take a bus from or to the airport, there is a Helsinki Card Region, providing rides on the city transport, airport shuttle bus and commuter trains to Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen.

Listed below are the prices for the different prices of the cards in in 2017. For children under 7 years old, transportation around the city and entrance into almost all Helsinki museums is free. Passengers caught in transportation without a ticket will be fined 80 euros.

 

Validity

All-inclusive ride card for adults

All-inclusive ride card for kids between 7-16 years old

Helsinki Card/Helsinki Card Region for adults

Helsinki Card/Helsinki Card Region for kids 7-16 years old

2 hours

2,90 euros

1,90 euros

-

-

1 day

9 euros

4,50 euros

46/50 euros

23/25 euros

2 days

13,50 euros

6 euros

56/62 euros

28/31 euros

3 days

18 euros

8 euros

66/72 euros

33/36 euros

4 days

22,50 euros

10 euros

-

-

5 days

27 euros

12 euros

-

-

6 days

31,50 euros

14 euros

-

-

7 days

36 euros

16 euros

-

-

 

For an overview tour, you should consider 3T “Tourist” Street Train, which courses through loop route No. 3. You can get on at one of the bus stops in the city center and after that you can gaze at the views of Senate and Temple Squares, the National Opera building, and other sights in Helsinki. You can find an information brochure on the route at tourist information centers.  

 

 

Photos: familywithkids.com, wikipedia.org, facebook.com/seurasaarenulkomuseo, facebook.com/emmamuseum, facebook.com/Tropicariocom, facebook.com/vesipuistoserena

 

 


Comments and reviews (1)

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Bubble bath time
16 September 2015 15:01
There's many good ideas in my blog what to do in Helsinki with kids. http://rosebath.blogspot.com

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