Save it for a rainy day

Sorry Helsinki – I seem to have made it rain. My parents are visiting and asked yesterday if it rains very often here. I laughed and said ‘No! Hardly at all,’ and it hasn’t stopped raining since. Luckily Helsinki is not only set up for outdoor fun but inside adventures too.

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There are a few indoor playgrounds in the city but the one we’ve been to the most is Snadi Stadi. Based five floors underground in the suburb of Ruoholahti, it boasts 3000 square metres of games and activities for children.

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There’s an area for children under 3 and the rest of the place is for kids of all ages to basically go nuts.

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We first went with Miko’s paternal grandmother who kept accidentally beating him very convincingly at air hockey, no matter how hard she tried to lose.

Miko can't understand why his grandmother keeps beating him at air hockey

As well as arcade games and floor hockey, there’s also a big bike path that runs around the centre of the arena. Some of the bikes have room for two kids, which is great for the little ones who want to hitch a ride.

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Miko’s favourite thing is the skate ramp which has scooters and skateboards and basketballs to shoot hoops.

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There are also these crazy horses that you ride by pushing down on the stirrups with your feet, which propels them around the room.

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There’s even a place for children’s hair cuts, complete with distractions for the wriggliest child.

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To be honest the worst thing about Snadi Stadi is that it’s a bit boring for adults as your child will just run off and play for four hours and leave you sitting to the side. Take a friend or take a book and take some money for coffee (although your first is free with entry).

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Perhaps my favourite thing about the place is this crazy picture near the ball pit of a child, dressed as a bear, walking an inflatable whale on a lead.

Hopefully we won’t be seeing too much of it over the next few months as I have realised the power of my words and their direct impact on meteorological events….*

Snadi Stadi – summer tickets are now 32€, which will get you entry throughout June & July

* I don’t actually believe I made it rain **

** well, maybe a little bit

Where a dragon guards a ship near the sea

According to Helsinki’s official tourism website, “Kaivopuisto is one of the oldest, most beautiful and popular parks in Helsinki.” So far it’s definitely been one of our faves and like most things in Helsinki, very easy to get to.

Kaivopuisto playground is guarded by a large dragon

Kaivopuisto playground is guarded by a large dragon

Miko and I were in the city and caught the number 3 tram from Aleksanterinkatu to the park. A short walk later and we spotted the dragon we had been told would identify the playground. Wooden seats and tables were spread out under the trees and not far away was another play area for younger children.

Miko atop the mighty dragon

Miko atop the mighty dragon

The dragon is great fun for climbing on and there are crocodiles  set in the ground too which are great accessories for pirate adventures on the large ship-like fortress.

Looking for pirates

Looking for pirates

The ship-fort has lots of fun accessories like binoculars and a steering wheel as well as slides and ladders. Nearby is a crows nest which Miko used as a look-out spot for sharks.

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Kaivopuisto (Kaivo park) itself is very large and a very popular place in summer. It is the favourite spot for May Day picnics and where we spent Vappu. It’s a short walk to the sea as the park borders the Gulf of Finland and the surrounding streets are home to many of the international ambassadors to Finland. Apparently the largest hill in the park is a very popular place for tobogganing in winter which will make this a park we can use all year round.

Tiring work this captaining

Tiring work this captaining

Kaivopuisto Playground

Puistokatu 4

www.visithelsinki.fi

Playing in the puisto (park)

Living in an apartment is a good incentive to get out and try the many playgrounds that Helsinki has to offer.

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The first thing that stands out is how big they are – Topeliuksenpuisto is about the size of half a rugby field – and dusty. Of course this will change with the weather but it makes kicking a ball around very easy.

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And the great thing is you don’t have to take a ball. At first I thought someone had left their scooter behind when we went to Lastenlehtopuisto and kept half an eye on it to see who would claim it. And then it dawned on me that these toys are for everyone.

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There a toys at every park that get packed up at night, either by the adjoining kindergarten or by the public at the end of the day. They go into large plastic tubs that are sometimes locked and include a huge range of trucks, spades, buckets and ride on toys likes scooters and bikes. Today Miko got kitted up and shot goals with the hockey gear we found at Tehtaanpuisto.

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Each park has slightly different features and although familiar (a slide is a slide after all) each is slightly different to what we have at home in New Zealand. The swing seats are different; the slides may have a big hill to climb to get to the top, instead of a ladder; and today we saw some awesome tandem trikes.

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I have a feeling we are going to become very familiar with these features of Helsinki and this won’t be my last post on puistot.