Rovaniemi with kids: things to see and do, winter and summer activities for a family vacation in Finnish Lapland

04.10.2015 8564

What are the best ways to spend time in Rovaniemi with kids? Well, visit Joulupukki, the Finnish Santa Clause, cross the Arctic Circle and see the arctic lights, take a seat behind the wheel of a log harvester, go for a ride in a deer or husky sled, and have a game of winter golf – all that and much more in our review of fun winter and summer activities for families with kids in Rovaniemi.  



Christmas and New Year’s Holidays with kids in Rovaniemi: Santa Park and the Santa Claus Villiage 

The Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi is open year round. Even during the summer, it is possible to send a postcard from Santa’s Main Post Office, stop by Joulupukki’s Office and take a picture with him. Visitors will also get the chance to buy some souvenirs, hang out in a Sami Restaurant, feed some northern deer, and cross the Arctic Circle marked by a broad stripe right on the ground. In the Winter, there are deer sledding rides and snowmobile safaris available in the village and about. In the Snowman World it is possible to enjoy a tube ride, try all kinds of Sami dishes in the restaurant, and lodge for the night at the Snowman World Igloo Hotel. 



Santa Park is in operation only during the summer and winter school breaks. Inside a gigantic cave with underground halls and tunnels there are several attractions: the throne hall of the Winter Princess and other forms of entertainment. At Santa Park it is also possible to take pictures with Joulupukki, decorate a ginger cookie in Mrs. Gingerbread's Bakery, send a Christmas card from the post office, attend the Elves School (schooling is available in various languages, upon request) and to become one of Santa’s helpers. Also open for the rugrats is an Angry Birds Activity Playground. In the middle of action it is possible to sit down for some lunch and sip some hot chocolate with a bun at Santa Park’s central café. 

Read about other places to meet Joulupukki in Finland in our Winter review.



Rovaniemi Attractions and Museums for Kids

It is a good idea to begin acquaintance with the finer points of Northern culture and its history by stopping by Arcticum Museum. Displayed in its collection are knives made out of deer antlers, canoes, Sami clothing, and effigies of bears, deer, and other types of animals that call Sapmi (Lapland) home. There are interactive at the museum too, such as a multimedia dome hall with soft cozy seats, where it is possible to lay back and look up at the “night sky” with the overflow of northern lights.


Situated next to Arcticum is the Pilke Science Learning Center dedicated to the history of Finnish logging. Here, kids get the chance to control a forest cutting machine or shoot with a hunting gun on virtual simulators, sit behind the wheel of a real harvester combine, take a picture with a forest ranger’s gear on, play on a metallophone, closely examine the seeds of different kinds of plants under a microscope, or “get lost in the night forest” in the form of a dark corridor with various sounds of nature.  



Get to listen to and learn about the lives of lumberjacks from the 1870’s up to the 1970’s at the Lapland Forest Museum (Lapin Metsämuseo). At a real operation settlement with historic buildings brought from all over Lapland, visitors have the opportunity to get acquainted with the traditions of chopping and log driving, as well as see a collection of old inventory and a steam boat named Samperi, which was used in the past century for transporting logs. The museum is open starting in the beginning of June until the end of August. 


The Rovaniemi Local History Museum (Pöykkölä museo) is open on a country estate from the second half of the 20th century. Inside its reconstructed interior, visitors are offered to get to know that way that Lapland’s peasants used to live and what their main daily activities involved: herding deer and domesticated cattle, catching fish, and hunting for animals. The museum is open for the entire summer and several times a year crafts fairs and celebrate traditional holidays are organized here. 


Temporary exhibitions and installations of Finnish artists are held at Korundi Modern Arts Center. The expositions are constantly changing, so each time one visits the center - it is possible to see something new, like an apple garden made out of metal or a huge cube with a video projection playing on one of its sides. The Lapland chamber orchestra concerts are held at the Korundi concert hall.



In 80 kilometers to the south of Rovaniemi is the Ranua Zoo. Visitors can see various owls, boars, brown bears, polar bears, wolves, deer, mooses, and other northen animals and birds that inhabit the region. In the winter guests can rent out a little sleigh for kids and join organize cross country skiing trips as well as snowmobile or quad safaris with a visit to the deer farm or the Husky Park


Outdoor Activities for Kids and Indoor Family Fun in Rovaniemi

The Santasport Center calls on the entire family to come splash around in a pool with a separate paddling pool and small slide for children, or start a bowling tournament. Open for children as well is the Lappset Funpark with a trampoline, multi-level maze, slides, transparent tubes, rope ladders, and a dry pool along with a playing field for soccer or hockey with a ball. During the summer season, the Arctic Adventure Park Huima is open on the territory of the sports complex, it has eight different courses of various difficulty levels for visitors above 4 years of age. On the courses, kids and parents alike have to overcome various obstacles (ropes, nets, logs, and boards, roll inside a barrel) in 1 to 7 meters above ground, and then, finally, ride a cable slide to the bottom. 



In fair weather, tourists with children might consider visiting the Angry Birds Activity Park outdoor playground in the center of Rovaniemi. A giant catapult, tube slides, swings, and play centers with statues and images of the Angry Birds are situated on the shore of the Kemijoki River. Visiting the playground is free of charge.  


Operating year round is the Rovaniemi HopLop Entertainment Center, which is an indoor play zone with a labyrinth, bouncy castles, and video games. Located in the same building as Rollohalli Indoor Freestyle Park with trampolines and the Big Air ramp for skating and biking. At the Rollohalli Center, kids can practice acrobatic jumps on trampolines with foam pits, bust out some parkour, do bouldering. 



Located at the Polar Circle is the Husky Park, where it is possible to meet, learn about the life of, and get a ride in a sled or carriage, led by husky dogs. Inhabiting the park are about 100 Siberian huskies, some of whom the visitors are allowed to pet. Keepers of the park can share information on the proper ways for taking after the dogs, and it is possible to organize short trips as well as more lengthy ones on sleigh safaris. Riders of at least 15 years and older are able to join the ride in a sledge of their own. After the trip, all riders get a hot beverage and various snacks in a cabin. 


Ounasvaara Mountain Skiing Resort (Ounasvaaran hiihtokeskus) is located at the aptly named bald peak nearby Rovaniemi center. The slope is pretty small as its maximum height is 140 meters, while the longest slope is 600 meters. Nevertheless, there are 8 courses there with 5 lifts, a snowboarding park with a half pipe and a street. Meanwhile, for children there is a separate slope at Werneri Park, which is less steep and has a rope lift. In the winter, it is also possible to go cross country skiing and have a tube ride at the Ounasvaara resort, and in the summer -  ride a bicycle or play golf. 




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