Weird to say “BUT THEY’RE SO CLOSE!!” when talking about two countries that are separated by a large body of water (and are only accessible by car/bus/train in the far northern regions, not applicable in our case)* but when I saw how cheap and easy it would be to, you know, just hop over to Helsinki from Stockholm, I started really drilling home my case for Linnanmaki, Helsinki’s amusement park.
*(I had to come back a day later and add this because in my head, I knew what I meant but I figured it was only a matter of time before someone called me out for being geographical ignorant, I mean, in a world where strangers still actually read this shit, you know what I mean?)
- It looks fucking precious in every video I watched;
- It has Taiga, an Intamin Blitz coaster that opened 2 years before what is arguably one of the best coasters in the world: VelociCoaster at Islands of Adventure. We are obvi huge fans of VelociCoaster, so I used that as a big selling point;
- I just really wanted to go to Finland in general and this seemed like a good “excuse”;
- It’s for a good cause, as Linnanmaki is “owned by the non-profit Children’s Day Foundation, which operates the park in order to raise funds for Finnish child welfare work. In 2019, the foundation donated €4.5 million, and so far has donated a total of over €120 million to this cause.” – Wiki
- Including Taiga, it has an impressive 8 coasters – not too shabby (ugh I actually hate that phrase so I have no idea why I used it and furthermore no idea why I didn’t just delete it?? My old boss at Olan Mills used to say that all of the time and it’s not like I didn’t like her, but it was so annoying) for a small city park!
Um, now that I’m really reading this Wiki page, I’m learning so much. Here’s a … fun? … fact:
Since its opening in 1950, two people have died in amusement ride accidents at Linnanmäki, both caused by negligence on the part of the rider. In 1953, an employee, a roller coaster brakeman* who was sitting in the front row after his shift on the last ride of the evening did not attach the safety bar, fell off and was hit by the train. In 1985, a guest, a boy, also sitting in the front row, had managed to open the safety bar and stood up to wave to his friends. The boy then fell in front of the train, which ran over him.
*Also, if you’re wondering what a coaster brakeman is, shame on you for not reading my Tivoli Garden post, where we rode our first ever brakeman-operated coaster!
Another fun fact, this one I already knew, is that the park is built on a hill about a mile outside of Helsinki, and derives its name from Vesilinnanmäki (lit. ’Water Castle Hill’), the name locals gave to the hill way back in the day since it had two water towers. Both towers are no longer in operation, but some kind of city zoning law prohibits the towers from being removed. One of them was converted to a maintenance shed for the park, and the other now houses an indoor family coaster!! I love that. That particular water tower especially is now an iconic landmark in the park. Also, thank god it doesn’t look like the gross kinds we have in America. I would never ride a roller coaster inside one of those. Fuck you.
NOT MY PHOTO, TAKEN FROM WIKI:
(Now I’m Googling Finnish water towers and all of their water towers are like sculptures, quirky architectural feats. Fill a coffee table book with ’em, they’re so photogenic and not GROSS AND LOOMING like ours. Ugh.)
Anyway, we took a tram from our apartment and then had to walk for maybe 10 minutes or so before reaching the park. I will never complain about walking while on vacation – it’s truly the best way to experience a new city! If we had taken a bus all the way there, Chooch couldn’t have mocked whoever this Paavo Nurmi pal is.
J/K guys, of course I know that he was a Finnish Olympic running man pal.
Totally without Googling just now.
Actually, guess where he was from, spefically?
TURKU, the city that Henry RUINEDU. That actually does a ring bell now, know that he’s from Turku because in one of the many travel videos I watched in preparation for our day in Turki that never happened, I remember seeing some monument to an Olympic runner and honestly, how many Olympic runners could Turku possibly have produced?
This underpass had cool murals and did not even have a HINT of a piss stench like Pgh underpasses.
I’m not sure we took the best walking route to the park, but after hiking up a hill (Vesilinnanmäki amirite??), we made it to the entrance! The timestamp on my phone says we arrived at 3:24PM.
Tervetulua! (One of the only words I remember from the one solid week of Finnish I limped through on Duolingo.)
After getting our wristbands, we went STRAIGHT for Taiga which is located near the entrance so good for us, etc. etc. The queue itself was amazing, but since there was barely a line at all, we didn’t really get to take much of it in. I mean, I’m not complaining! Apparently, “taiga” is a type of bird in Finland, I think.
There was a brief line that we had to wait in only because it was one-train ops, and right away, we noticed that SAM from our Norden Coaster Trip was in line for the front row! He spotted us too and actually left his spot to run back and say hi to us and my heart, you guys. My heart. He fist-bumped Chooch and me, and then also Henry which was an “ugh why” moment, but still – it was so fun to see a familiar face!
He said he had been at the park all day and was just marathoning Taiga at this point, having already collected all of the other coaster creds. It was such a whirlwind – he IS SO HIGH ENERGY that all I remember was him just spraying us with excited sentiments while shaking his head in his That’s So Sam manner, telling us to look him up if we ever come to LA, and then running back to reclaim his spot. I didn’t even have a chance to ask him if he was with anyone! I guess not, because he was one of the singles on our trip. We somehow never saw him again after that so that was sad. :(
No^^^This one is a BIG NOPE. Imagine the most Wild Mouse-type of coaster you’ve been on, probably in like a mall parking lot for your local town’s traveling carnival, right? Where you’re thinking you’re gonna tip right over the edge every time it whips around a hairpin turn? Now imagine that same ride, but the car purposely tips and tilts as it careens along the track.
That’s this piece of shit ride.
IT WAS SO AWFUL.
Right next to it is the park’s power-coaster mine train which was fine! Henry was pissed though because Chooch and I left him in the dust and got on a train before him and he had to wait for the next one even though there was still room on ours?? He was acting like such a fucking martyr about it too. He PURPOSELY stayed back in line rather than follow us onto the platform. Well, his mistake because since he was on the train after ours, I was able to stand at the exit and film him riding a family coaster alone with a frown on his face :) Video compilation to come!
STAN LOONA! It’s still crazy to me how worldwide popular Kpop is now. Also is it weird that I want to join the Kosogang without knowing anything about it?? I just spent an absurd amount of time thinking about it.
This was in line for the park’s Mauer spinning crazy mouse – SALAMA. Um….did I enjoy this ride better than Taiga?? I THINK I DID?? Don’t get me wrong, Taiga was great – great layout, great launch – but am I becoming too snobby?? Too hard to impress?? I think what I want to say is, come for Taiga, stay for the rest. Because honestly, if it wasn’t for Taiga, I’m not sure this park would have even been on our radar, and what a PITY (lol, I will never say that in full seriousness, has to be backed by major drama kid emotion) that would have been because damn you guys, just DAMN, this ended up being one of my favorite places on the whole trip.
Linnanmaki, you are a fucking BABE AND A HALF. Be my forever Valentine.
Chooch Up Close.
The family that ignores each other….fights less together? I dunno. Still seems like we fight a lot. However, we were like besties the entire time we were at Linnanmaki. It was just that good. Totally brought us together. Aw, the audience says collectively.
The garbage and recycling bins!! Love you, Finland.
Each section of the park was themed so well. The landscaping was on point. Bathrooms were spotless. Employees were delightful. There weren’t even any annoying park guests!
This is the subject of my current gem art project, which is twice as big as the ones I’ve done in the past so RIP my back. But yeah, you know I’m always down to clown. This darkride was fun and the cars were like suspended half eggs, which was very cool (I have video, you’ll see!) but overall it was just one scene after another of clowns doing stuff, like cleaning up elephant shit? It was nice but not very memorable. Except for the elephant shit part, I guess.
There’s another dark ride over by Taiga and THAT one was a real treat though! It was themed after a haunted hotel and I loved it.
Not as death-trappy as some of the other fun houses we got banged up in on the trip, but idiot Chooch temporarily lost his phone in the exit slide because it fell out of his pocket and didn’t make it all the way down the slide. Someone had to fetch it for him, he’s so embarrassing.
Some of the brakemasters that have worked on the famous Vuoristorata coaster! Chooch and I sat in the back, and I thought it was rather delightful, but apparently he and Henry didn’t care for it. Please watch this video – I am so happy that we got to ride two of these (three if the one in Bakken hadn’t recently been updated to eliminate the need for a brakeman!) on this trip. It’s a slice of history! It’s things like this that make amusement parks worth visiting when you’re traveling abroad – you get to experience things you can’t here in the US and isn’t that a huge reason to travel?? I need to remember the next time someone mocks me for planning vacations around roller coasters because up to now, my only comeback has been, “Shut up.”
Fuck this ride too!! Ukko, more like F-Ukko, amirite fellow 5th graders on the same humor level as me. You go up a vertical lift hill and then travel upside down for way too many seconds before finally reaching that twist in the track way up there. I was screaming you guys. Fucking screaming. ONE AND DONE for this broad.
I think I will end on that note for now, since I actually packed this post with LITERAL FACTS and shit, can you believe it?? I always want to go into these posts with all of the 411 but then I get lazy and it’s like, “Here are pictures, we rode stuff, Henry was mean and wouldn’t buy me xyz.”