So you may ask yourself what are the things to do in Helsinki with kids? Finland’s capital is a beautiful city located on the south side of the country facing Tallinn with the Gulf of Finland in between. It might not be the obvious or popular choice of Scandinavian cities to explore vs Stockholm or Copenhagen. However, the Finnish city has so much to offer for families willing to take the time to understand the culture and its history.
Winter months can get very cold in Finland, and your little ones might be too young to enjoy the traditional saunas but need a break from the great outdoors. No problem, whether they are interested by the city’s history or love interactive museums, Helsinki offers plenty of indoor activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
However, the summer months opens up to amusement parks, outdoor swimming pools, beautiful parks and much more. And let’s not forget the richness of the surroundings of the city with an archipelago of 300 islands including one with a great zoo.
So without further do, let’s explore all the great things to do in Helsinki with kids. Go!
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1. Finnish Toy Museum
Toy and game museum located in the WeeGee Exhibition Centre in Espoo, less than 30 minutes from the city centre by public transport.
Here you can learn about the history of toys and games in Finland from the late 19th century to today. Fun for both grown-ups, who will love going down memory lane. And also for kids who will see how toys have evolved over the years. There are also regular workshops and a play area.
2. Museum of National History
This museum is not just about stuffed animals and skeletons. It is a great experimental and educational museum set in a beautiful old building in Helsinki’s city centre.
The permanent exhibition offers you 5 different sections through which you can interact and learn about Finnish nature Animals, history of life, dinosaurs bones and more. Fascinating place to visit as a family.
Amazing underground playground for kids that has been renovated in 2016. It is conveniently located in the city centre and open all year round. Mostly for kids age 3 to 14 years old.
There are all sorts of activities from the huge adventure maze to trampolines, bouncy castles and more. Indoor fun at its best.
4.Heureka Science Center
This fantastic interactive exhibition centre for the whole family, where is it all all about science learning through play and experiments.
Heureka has permanent exhibitions as well as themed ones that change regularly. All showcasing different physical phenomena, which can be tested using one’s entire body.
The science centre also features a planetarium where you can enjoy a unique visual 3D experience without glasses. All the films shown are in Finnish but you can get headphones with English translations.
5. Linnanmäki Amusement Park
Linnanmäki is above all Finland’s oldest theme park. Featuring over 60 different attractions, 3 children’s playgrounds and in addition, dozens of arcade games. The park has also a Panorama with a view of Helsinki from 50 meters high.
Not afraid to be sugar high? Then head to the Cotton Candy School. You can learn how to transform the fluffy sugar into delicious cotton candy.
6. Fire Museum
Your kids will love this activity from arrival when they are being given a plastic fire helmet before the visit. The museum is located in a beautiful old building, home of a fire station that is still operational.
You will learn about the fire and rescue service in Helsinki as well as the history and development of ambulance services and emergency medical services.
Visit Website (only in Finnish)
7. SkyWheel Helsinki
Located in Katajanokka on Helsinki’s southern harbour, this 40-meter-high SkyWheel offers fantastic 360° views of the city. Each cabin fits 4 people, with a full ride taking around 10 minutes.
In others words, the perfect way to see the city from higher up.
8. Suomenlinna a Maritime Fortress
Jump on a ferry from Market Square and head to the Unesco World Heritage Site called Suomenlinna. It is certainly the most popular attraction in Finland but also the most impressive one.
With its cobbled streets, tunnels, to walk around the fortress is to sum up quite magical. Beyond the walls you’ll also find museums, open-air theatres, glass and ceramic factories.
The kids will also enjoy visiting theToy Museum with old toys from the 19th century.
If you get tired or hungry, there are a few places to eat around the island. From small cafes to finer dining including traditional Finnish dishes.
Address: 00190 Helsinki, Finland
9. Vintage Tram Ride
About experiencing a 20-minute tour of the city centre like in the olden days.
It is a short ride, perfect to rest the little legs of your youngest ones whilst exploring the city.
However, this is a summer activity operating during the weekend and the tram won’t run during bad weather.
10. Allas Sea Pool
Finally, this is the perfect activity to enjoy traditional Finnish wellness. This family-friendly swimming and sauna centre is located right next to the Helsinki’s Market Square.
There are indeed three open swimming pools located on the pool deck, floating on top of the sea. The sea water pool, warm water pool and children’s pool are all open.
Please note that Allas is open every day all year round, however keep in mind that the children’s pool is closed during winter.
11. Sea Life Helsinki
You’ve probably familiar with Sea Life aquariums in England, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a branch in Helsinki which makes a perfect activity to do with your children. There is the traditional ray tank to check out where you can spot rays hidden under the sand. You will also learn about different marine creatures such as sea urchins or sea stars available at the discovery pool.
Moreover, you and your kids will be able to observe dangerous animals such as piranhas or electric eels that you certainly don’t want to have in your own aquarium at home. And don’t forget to ask the staff about feeding times where you can ask as many questions to aquarists available on your day of visit.
12. Troll’s Trail in Sipoonkorpi National Park
If you feel like explorers with grown up kids and teenagers, why not spending a day out in the wild with a biology guide. This intimate tour of 5 hours will take you on a beautiful trail in Sipoonkorpi National Park. You will see amazing lakes in the park and a diverse population of plants and fauna. Make sure you bring appropriate clothes depending of the weather and season you will visit Helsinki with kids.
The transfer from Helsinki to Sipoonkorpi will be done by public transport which takes about 45 min and costs 11 EUR per person.
Also bear in mind that children won’t pay anything under 16 years old if they are joined by paying adults.
13. Korkeasaari Zoo
I don’t know about you but I have rarely seen a zoo like Korkeasaari Zoo built on a small island. Located not too far from Helsinki city centre, you will take a small ferry to access the island and discover up to 150 animal species such as tigers, bisons or monkeys.
Your little ones will enjoy different playgrounds available on site with also a restaurant and café to have your lunch or a snack during your visit.
If you are coming with a pram or stroller, beware that parts of the island can be hilly. As you would expect, Finland can be very cold in the Winter but how magical could it be to visit a zoo with snow?
14. HopLop Pasila at Tripla
Located at Tripla shopping centre, HopLog is a fantastic indoor play area with lots of activities and rides for children. This venue has different levels with huge slides, tunnels, trampolines and climbing nets. Your kids will love this place and I am sure you will follow them in their exploratory journey at this amazing venue.
Young children under 4 have also their dedicated area so no worries if your toddler is a bit shy to play with older kids.
Address: 00520 Helsinki, Finland
15. Design Museum
Time to explore the creative part of your little brood? Why not visiting the Design Museum in Helsinki and learn about Finnish design with thousands objects thought through the mind of more than 1,000 designers. One designer that you might already know is Marimekko who has created these beautiful flower artwork you can find on plates, bowls or napkins.
One exhibition to spend some time with the kids is Utopia which traces back the history of well know Finnish designed products such as Nokia mobile phones or lately Angry Birds games. Make sure to check the website for days and time for English guided tours
That’s a wrap! I hope you have found this mini guide on the best things to do in Helsinki with kids useful for your next trip in Scandinavia. Visiting the city just once doesn’t give it any justice as winter season vs summer season feel like a totally different experience. Happy Travels!
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