Scandinavia is a place full of exciting adventures for all ages. If you are looking for inspiration for a trip here with your kids, or you are just a big kid at heart like me and want to enjoy a fun vacation, I have collected my top places to visit. Most of these I remember from when I was young and have fond memories of, so I am sure you and your kids will have a great time!
Keep reading to discover the best child-friendly experiences in Scandinavia:
Kristiansand Zoo & Amusement Park
The Kristiansand Zoo and Amusement Park (or Dyreparken as we say in Norwegian) is a zoological garden and amusement park in Norway open all year round. It is the countries most frequently visited attraction, covering an area of 60 hectares, and it also has Norway’s largest collection of animals. The park contains over hundred species from around the world, which move freely on a relatively large area. What I remember best from my many visits here as a kid is Cardamom Town (Kardemommeby). For those who know Thorbjørn Egner’s story about this picturesque small town, it is very easy to recognise and will bring back lots of memories. The small town as it appears in the book, with everything from the weather forecast tower, the robber’s house, the police office with the jail, the bakery, small shops and a tram line with a singing tram driver. It is even possible to sleep over in this part of the park in one of the many cute houses, but there are other accommodation possibilities around the park such as a safari tent and a pirate hotel. In addition to the zoo and amusement park there is also a water park affiliated with the area with water slides in many varieties, swimming pools and a separate beach, but it requires a separate ticket. The park has so much to offer, so you can easily spend a few days here!
Legoland Billund Resort is Denmark’s most famous and popular amusement park for families and children of all ages based on the world famous building blocks. When I was young we traveled to Legoland a few times and we had such an amazing time there. It is not only fun but also very educational and a great way to get your creative juices flowing. The park is located next to the original Lego factory and Billund Airport, so very convenient. If your kids love building lego this is the place to go – you can walk though a miniature lego world (the Miniland area which is made up of millions of plastic Lego bricks) as well as enjoy a great variety of rides and exciting events. In fact, the park hosts many special events throughout the season, including a Halloween celebration, firework shows, and Star Wars days. Legoland is divided into nine themed areas; including Duplo Land, Imagination Zone, LEGOREDO Town, Adventure Land, Lego City, Knight’s Kingdom, Mini Land, Pirate Land, and Polar Land so make sure you have lots of time to explore it all.
If you are not living near Denmark, or planning a trip there anytime soon, there are in addition other Legoland’s around the world: Legoland Windsor Resort, Legoland California, Legoland Deutschland Resort, Legoland Florida, Legoland Malaysia Resort, Legoland Dubai Resort and Legoland Japan Resort.
Talking about Legoland, I can’t not talk about the Lego House which is a separate attraction (although you can get a ticket to visit both). Lego House is the world’s best play date for the whole family – adults, children at heart and actual children. Here you can unleash your imagination among 25 million lego bricks, build your own creations and watch them come to life, and eat in one of the lego inspired restaurants. Lego House has six Experience Zones, a cozy Lego Square and topnotch outdoor playgrounds. You can for instance start the day at the 15.68 metres tall Tree of Creativity, then move on to the Masterpiece Gallery to see some of the craziest lego masterpieces before you continue into the Experience Zones. Tip: make sure you buy tickets and book entry time in advance, in order to be guaranteed entry to the Experience Zones on the day of your visit.
Astrid Lindgren’s World
Another place I have fond memories from as a child is Astrid Lindgren’s World (Astrid Lindgrens Värld) – a theme park located in author Astrid Lindgren’s native city Vimmerby in Sweden. If the name Astrid Lindgren doesn’t ring a bell, her books and characters might do; for instance Pippi Longstocking, Emil I Lönneberga and Karlsson-on-the-Roof. In its 130,000 square metres, visitors meet all the beloved characters from her books and enter into their stories. All the environments are built as prescribed in the books and are all built on a 1:3 scale. It is such a magical and fun place to visit, and I especially remember the various performances by the characters including Pippi at her home, Villa Villekulla.
As a kid I loved watching Moomin and in recent years I discovered that there is a world dedicated to these charming characters. I have never been, but it is on my list for sure. Moomin World is a theme park based on the Moomin books by Tove Jansson. It was designed by Dennis Livson, and located on the island of Kailo next to the old town of Naantali, in Southwest Finland. The blueberry-coloured Moomin House is the main attraction of the park, where guests can enter and explore. Hemulen’s house is located next to the Moomin House, and it is also possible to go to, for example, Moominmamma’s kitchen, the fire station, Snufkin’s camp, and Moominpappa’s boat. Visitors can meet Moomin characters around the park but Moomin World is not a traditional amusement park as it does not have any rides. There are however many fantastical paths including Toffle’s Path with the Witch’s Labyrinth, The Hattifatteners’ Cave and The Groke’s House. There are also performances in the covered outdoor Moomin theatre Emma.
Hunderfossen Family Park
Known as a fairy-tale park and one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions, Hunderfossen Family Park (Hunderfossen Eventyrpark) has over 60 rides and places of interest for the whole family to enjoy. Here you can rediscover Ivo Caprino’s folk tales and stories like experience the magical fairy-tale palace or taking a mind-blowing ride in the spectacular Il Tempo Extra Gigante race-car. As a park full of trolls and charming characters from traditional Norwegian folk stories, I recommend experience an unforgettable meal in the Troll restaurant – a cave inside a giant troll with trolls holding up the walls. The show ‘The Night of the Trolls’ takes place on 16 evenings in July in the Family Park and requires separate tickets. Right next to the park, you will find Hunderfossen Children’s Farm, the Norwegian Road Museum, Hunderfossen Hotel and Resort and Hunderfossen Camping. In addition, the Winter Park offers a lot of entertainment in wintertime and includes Scandinavia’s southernmost snow hotel and a beautiful ice cathedral… One day is not enough here.
Tivoli is an amusement park in Copenhagen, Denmark. The park opened all the way back in 1843 and is actually the second-oldest operating amusement park in the world and the most-visited theme park in Scandinavia. It is located directly in downtown Copenhagen, next to the Central rail station for the city, so very convenient to get to wen visiting. Magical and fun all year, it is truly wonderful during winter and Christmas time when all the lights are on and the hygge atmosphere is at full swing. The snow-covered gardens glisten with crystal-clear colours, and as twilight falls, you can enjoy the glittering winter light and astoundingly beautiful lighting… beautiful!
The Viking Museum
In the vivid exhibition at the Viking Museum (Vikingaliv) in Sweden you will meet the Vikings through movies, scenery, projections and sound effects as well as archaeological objects. Knowledgeable guides in Viking gear will answer all your questions and the many replicas let you explore life as a Viking with all your senses. You will learn about everything from the Viking raids, journeys and mastery in ship building as well as the everyday life at the farm. The adventure ride Ragnfrid’s Saga takes you along on a captivating journey through Viking age Europe. With sounds, light and atmospheric environments you travel through an 11-minute journey discovering a story told by an ageing Ragnfrid, built on historical characters and events. (The ride is recommended from 7 years up).
Frozen tour of Norway
Bonus: Is your kids obsessed with Frozen (as most are nowadays)? Well, then Norway is the place to go! You might not know, but the popular Disney classic is heavily influenced by Norwegian nature, culture and traditions, and Visit Norway have presented 10 tips to help you create your own enchanted adventure in Norway which is worth checking out.
Hope these places will help you get some inspiration for future holidays with your kids. Where will your next family adventure in Scandinavia be?