The time has now come to move on to a more Christmassy topic in this blog. Last summer we visited Rovaniemi in Finland, and we went to see Santa Claus in SantaPark Arctic World. And it was quite an experience! In my opinion SantaPark is a small piece of America in Finland. It was well made, well designed and entertaining. The entrance fee was a little bit pricey, but it was worth it. And I would go again if I get a chance.
SantaPark is inside a cavern which was quarried into the bedrock, 50 metres underground. To get into the park, one must walk through a long walkway where different kinds of elf shadows are reflected on the walls and noises echo in the air. It was very exciting, if a little bit scary for the kids. But we did make it to the entrance and got our tickets. SantaPark was first opened in 1998, and it is open from June to the first week of August, and from November to the beginning of January. Even while visiting in the summer time, we found the Christmas feeling again quickly at the park. And in the chilly, dark cavern, we totally forgot that it was warm and sunny outside.
CHRISTMAS MAGIC SHOW AND THE ELF SCHOOL
When purchasing the tickets one should definitely check the schedule for the day in order to know what is going on. We happened to arrive right when the elves were starting their Christmas Magic Show on the main stage, so we stayed and watched it first. The show was a lot of fun and very entertaining. these elves of SantaPark are quite the acrobats, I would say! When the show ended, they walked in front of the stage to greet and pose for photos with the kids.
Right after the show ended there was an announcement that the Elf School was starting soon, so we headed there next. The Elf School was kind of cute, but pretty long. Even so, the kids seemed to enjoy it a lot. There were two elves who ran it; one spoke Finnish and the other English. The elves told us about their lives and duties, then we sang and at the end everyone got a diploma and an elf hat. I guess I graduated then, since I also got myself an Elf School diploma! Woohoo!
DOUBLE TROUBLE on the MAGIC TRAIN
The only real ride in SantaPark is the Magic Train which takes people into a snowy forest to see its animals, and then on to the elf workshop. The ride is not very long and will work well for smaller kids. Since there were no lines to the train while we visited, we rode it twice. It actually reminded me of Disneyland rides which are always well made. I wish that real train trips would be this much fun!
UNDERCROSSING OF THE ARCTIC CIRCLE AND MEETING THE ICE PRINCESS AND SANTA
SantaPark is said to be the only place in the world where instead of cross over the Arctic Circle, one can cross beneath it. One cool thing to do after that is to visit the Ice Princess in the Ice Gallery. Before going in, one can bundle up with a long white coat which is much needed. At least I was really chilly since I was dressed for the summer weather. The gallery is full of ice sculptures and there is also an ice bar. We didn’t stay very long, since it was so cold there, but we did talk a little bit with the Ice Princess and took a couple photos with her.
After that we went to meet the star of the park; Santa Claus. He was sitting in his office waiting for kids to come see him. Meeting Santa is always exciting, and the kids are able to tell him their wishes already during the summer. He promised he would come all the way to California to visit us! And of course we got our picture together with Santa. We did not purchase the photo package they were selling, but Santa Claus didn’t seem to mind that we took few pictures ourselves.
The last thing we did before leaving was a visit to the Elf’s Workshop. I loved it that they actually had this old fashioned arts and crafts corner where kids were able to make Christmas ornaments. It actually seemed to be the only place that was a little bit crowded there. We painted some elves and we nailed them on the wall of the workshop room. It was all part of the activity. We also got some elves to take home with us.
This time we didn’t eat at SantaPark, but we did have some coffee and local pastries. While we adults were still sitting there and sipping our coffee, the kids ran upstairs to the Angry Birds Activity Park. Then it was time to say our goodbyes to the elves and start waiting for the return of Christmas. And here it is again, it came faster than we thought!
If you would like to read about Santa Claus Village in Rovaniemi, you can find the post from here.