Located on a hill not far from the centre of Helsinki you will find a theme park called Linnanmäki, translated into English this means ‘castle on the hill’. Unlike some theme parks where you have to buy a ticket to enter, at Linnanmäki viisitors can either purchase a wristband, a multi ride ticket or pay individually for rides. This means that you can just wander around the grounds taking a look at the action if fast rides aren’t for you.
The ride our family like best is the traditional wooden roller coaster Vuoristorata. This is the park’s most popular ride, it’s of Danish design but was manufactured in Finland in 1952. The ride operates 47,000 times each summer on average and each journey takes 2 minutes 15 seconds. There are two cars and each one is operated by a brake man who can be seen at the back of the car. It’s the only place that I’ve seen ‘brake men’ and I do think it’s so nice to have a real person operating the car than for it to be controlled electronically as is the usual case.
Another fun ride is the Vonkaputous roller coaster which has some very quick turns at the top then as the ride nears its end the roller coaster hurtles over a 20 metre slide into a pool of water leaving everyone soaked but happy! We noticed that there are some ‘drying booths’, four or five people can squeeze into a cubicle, place €2 in a slot and then dry off after the water splash rides, rather like a giant hairdryer. I’ve never seen these before but they seemed popular even though it was a warm, sunny day.
The ride on my feature photo is one that no one in our family dares to ride on even if it was free, it’s called the Ukko roller coaster and looks really scary, riders are spun upside down and plummet to the ground at 105 Km per hour – definitely only for thrill seekers and a ride only for me to take photos of!
The park has more than 40 other rides including a giant Ferris wheel and a white water rafting track where round rafts take you down a raging torrent leaving you wet. This ride isn’t too scary and its one I’m happy to take a ride on if it’s hot weather.
The park features one free ride ‘Panorama’ where you sit on seats around a large pillar and the ride gently revolves and ascends to the top of the tower providing everyone with some birds eye views of Helsinki. Surprisingly although this ride is free, there was never much of a queue to climb on board.
Linnanmäki is pleasantly landscaped with many flowers – hanging baskets and tubs of bright red geraniums everywhere. There are several cafes but we didn’t eat at any, we just bought ice creams and sat on a bench to eat them. Getting to Linnanmäki is simple as there is a tram stop (no.3) just outside the park and it’s just a short journey from the city centre.