Here it is. My big indoor entertainment centre review. I think our family has now conquered almost all of them – the indoor play parks, adventure parks, family leisure centres – what ever you want to call the. Please let me know, if you know a place that is not included in the list below!
1. Hop Lop (Espoo, Vantaa, Helsinki)
The car racing track was the only calm area in HopLop, because you pay extra to use the cars.
Hop Lop is the biggest indoor adventure park chain in Finland. In the capital region, they have three spots: a play area on the bottom floor of the huge indoor sports hall Esport Arena, a place close to the aiport in Vantaa and one in Eastern Helsinki at the Kivikko indoor wintersport center.
The Hop Lops we have tested in Espoo and Vantaa have high three-level climbing structures, slides, trampolines, jumping castles of all sizes and a rather big car racing track, that you pay separately. Bigger kids love it, but for parents with children younger than four or five, visiting Hop Lop can be a rather stressful experience.
Yes, they have a small playareas for toddlers, but the small kid area is right next to the much more interesting activities for older children – so wear sports clothes. You are going to run and climb after your child.
Both Hop Lops are very loud spaces, since the ceiling is high and the accoustics is terrible. It is not confortable to spend there more than an hour, maximum two. There is a cafeteria that serves the regular sausages and fries, but I would rather go home and eat.
Having said all this, Hop Lops are a great way to get your kid tired on a rainy fall day.
Entrance: Adults and babies under 1 year get in for free, 1-2-year-olds 9 euro, over 3-years 14 e
Extra charges for the car track.
2. Huimala (Espoo)
Huimala is a big hall. The cafeteria is in the middle of all the crazyness.
Huimala has the same idea as Hop Lops, but it has put a little bit more effort in the appearance. The play park has a jungle theme, wich makes it a lot more inviting compared to the rough warehouse feeling of, for example, the Vantaa Hop Lop. Huimala’s area for bigger kids is a bit smaller than the ones in Hop Lops, but it has a whole floor dedicated to toddlers. Bigger kids are not allowed to run around there, and there is even a toddler gate on the door!
Our smaller child, 2,loved it, but the 3,5-year-old prefered the area for the older children, where he, however, spent most of the time lining up for the car racing track.
We were in Huimala on a rainy Saturday and the place was packed. I actually had to leave the smaller kids’ floor, because it got too warm there and bad smelling greasy fumes from the kitchen below started filling the rooms. (Dear Huimala, please do something to the ventilation there. Opening the window doesn’t help!)
Huimala has a big separate play area for smaller kids.
For us, Huimala is a bit far away, and wouldn’t be our first choise, but I understand that some people would prefer it over Hop Lop. It is a bit smaller, it is more beautiful and I think (but am not 100% sure) that their restaurant serves better food.
Entrance: babies under 1 years for free, children 1-2 years 12 e, children 3-17 years 18 e, adults 5 e (with a S-card one adult for free with one child). Ticket includes two tokens per child for the electric car track and the laser cave.
3. Snadi Stadi (Ruoholahti, Helsinki)
The bike track is fun for kids but scary for parents with toddlers…
I have reviewed Snadi Stadi in a previous posting. Even though not perfect, it is in my opinion the nicest indoor playgrounds especially for smaller kids. There are many reasons why.
First of all, Snadi Stadi doesn’t get so loud and chaotic as Hop Lop and Huimala, because instead of having a high ceiling and many big climbing structures, Snadi Stadi’s space is long and there is only one big climbing area for older children.
I also like the way Snadi Stadi tries to offer children a variety of activities: there is a big sandbox, a scateboarding ramp, a stage for playing in a band and a lots of pedaling bikes to bike around the whole area. (This makes it a bit crazy to walk around Snadi Stadi with a toddler…)
Smaller kids have a nice smaller climbing area and separated space for playing. However, my kids have never stayed in that part of Snadi Stadi for long, so in that sense, Huimala’s gated small children floor is perfect.
You can reach Snadi Stadi by taking the metro to Ruoholahti, which is really convenient.
Entrance: children under 1 year for free, under 4 years 12 e, over 4 years 16 e, adults 2 e (includes a coffee or tea)
4. Helsingin Leikkiluola (Hakaniemi, Helsinki)
Leikkiluola is a no-frills place, but enough for a rainy day, when you need a place for your kids to jump and run.
Leikkiluola is a place, where one adult can manage to take two active kids alone. It is compact and doesn’t have too many places to hide. There are trampolines, bouncy castles and a small climbing structure, but my kids have always loved the games and the coin operated firetruck (the entrance fee includes some coins).
The playground is located underground the Hakaniemi outdoor marketplace by the entrance to a big indoor sport centre. You take an elevatore down by the market and follow a line on the floor to a cafeteria where you buy the tickets. The cafeteria has a gas station style selection of buns and meat pies, so you are better off eating up at the much nicer Hakaniemi Markethall.
Entrance: children under 1 year and adults for free, 1-2 years 8 e, over 2 years 12 e, tickets include two coins for the coin operated games and cars.
5. Murulandia (Sörnäinen, Helsinki)
Murulandia is unique. It is hard to describe the amount of toys and decorations they have been able to fit in one gymnastic hall.
Murulandia is the newest indoor playarea in Helsinki and it is something different. Picture a school gymnastic hall filled with all the toys you can imagine. That is basically Murulandia’s idea.
In the middle of the toy paradise, there is a Santa’s hut (but no Santa). Behind two small rooms represent the “traditional” play park entertainment with a home-made-style climbing area and a tiny ball pit. Murulandia’s speciality is a microscope room, where kids are able investigate dried animals and get to know about biology.
I visited Murulandia recently with my 2,5- and 4-years-old children. We were the only customers that moment. My kids loved the little playhouse and the playstore, but mostly they ran around touching toy after toy unable to concentrate in anything for longer than five minutes. The wooden climbing area didn’t look very safe – didn’t let my younger one try it. We also took a look at the biology room, but it is clearly for a little bit older children.
Murulandia’s cafeteria is separated from the playroom. When we were there, it was already closed. If I would be the owner, I would developed Murulandia to be a meeting place for the mothers and kids. It would serve coffee (preferable good latte and espresso), nice fresh snacks like berry pies and smoothies, that you could enjoy, while you watch your kids play. There is certainly enough room for this. I would also lower the price considerably and make profit by selling expensive coffee for Kallio moms.
The original entrance fee was really high, but I don’t remember it. At the moment Murulandia’s website has only information about their September promotion: children 6 months – under 2 years 10e, 2 – 13 years 14 e, 14 – 17 years 6 e, one adult for free per child, extra adults 6 e.
6. Children’s town
The city of Helsinki is currently renovating the lovely Children’s town museum by the Senate Square. The renewed Children’s town will only open in 2016.