LINNANMAKI AMUSEMENT PARK
Updated 11.08.00Contact details
The Linnanmaki amusement park is the oldest and the most popular amusement park in Finland. More than one million visitors enjoy this beautiful park on top of the hill every year, in the heart of Helsinki City. There are plenty of rides, both brand new and popular oldies. Linnanmaki is the classic amusement park in it's finest form. The park has got only one major disadvantage: The area is full. You can't bring new rides in unless you remove the old ones.
In the park you'll also find plenty of midway games, several games arcades, a free playarea for the kids called the Fairytale Valley, and there are live shows every day in the outdoor stage. Pay one price wrist bands are available inside the park.
The park is owned by the Children's Day Foundation that is controlled by the six Finnish charity organisations:Mannerheimin lastensuojeluliitto
The owners finance their operations by the profits from the park. The land is leased from the city of Helsinki. The foundation owns also the Tykkimaki amusement park in Kouvola, which is the sister park of Linnanmaki. Many of the classic rides from the Linnanmaki have found a new home in Kouvola.
Address: Tivolikuja 1, 00510 Helsinki, Finland
Information: +358 9 77399400
Phone: +358 9 773991
Telefax: +358 9 768152
The origin of the park dates back in Children's Day charity events that were held for the first time in early 1900's, but mainly after the WW2. These fairs were held around the country and the aim was to raise money for the charity. These fairs included amusement rides and the charity organisations purchased their own rides for the purpose. Some of these rides were self made, because of the war there was a deppression in the country and the organisations simply had no money for the rides.
Organizing the fairs was a difficult job, so the charity organisations calculated that they could gain more money by founding the permanent amusement park in the capital Helsinki. The original plan was that the park would operate only for a couple of years since the city of Helsinki had plans to open its own park soon afterwards.
The Helsinki town leased a land in the early months of 1950. No one was happy with the area that was nothing but a wasteland on top of the steep hill. However, the construction took only two months and the park was ready for a grand opening!
The park was opened 27.5.1950. The name of the park, Linnanmaki, means The Castle Hill in English. The name comes after the water tower that still stands in the middle of the park. The area of the park was much smaller than today, and the constructions were temporary. Most of the organizers did not believe that the park would survive more than 3 years that was the lease time of the land.
However, the park turned out to be an immediate success. There were only a handful of rides and they were quite poor in modern standards. There were two Waltzers, one carousel, one chair-o-plane and the bumper cars. Naturally there were also midway games, penny arcades, a dance hall, hall of mirrors, side shows and a large number of concession stands. Even the dark ride arrived in Linnanmaki by the end of the first summer.
The symbol of the park, wooden roller coaster, was built for the second season, 1951. It was designed in Denmark, but erected by the Finns. The park expected the ride to last no more than 20 years. It is still operating. In the US there are many wooden coasters that were built decades earlier and are still going strong.
The roller coaster was owned by the Danish ride operator, Svend Jarlstrom, who also owned some other rides in the park. As a matter of fact, the most of the rides, games and stands were first owned by the private showmen who paid a portion of the incomes to the park. When the financial situation of charity organisations got better, they simply bought out the private operators.
The park was mainly developed after mid-1950's. The temporary buildings were removed and the new constructed. The oldest of the buildings, the Peacock variety, dates from 1956. In the same year the ownership of the park was transferred under the present foundation.
Today Linnanmaki is the result of the long and continuous development. The only original constructions are the water tower and the roller coaster. For example the funhouse was constructed in 1961 and the other symbol of the park, ferris wheel in 1964. The most visible renewal of the park was the construction of the water flume 1998. Some rides were relocated under the ride. Unfortunately the most beautiful spot of the park was sacrified under the flume. Once there was a peaceful oasis in the middle of the park with fountains, now there is a chaos. The ride is fun but not worth the sacrifices it required.
The rides are classified in four categories:
1) Major rides (children are not allowed alone or not allowed at all)
2) Family rides (children are allowed alone, but adults are also permitted. The line between the major rides is usually a matter of opinion)
3) Children's rides (adults are not allowed)
4) Attractions (other than rides)
|Major rides||Family rides||Children's rides||Attractions|
|Roller Coaster||Chair-o-Plane||Hocus-pocus||Fun House|
|Viking Boat||Dragon||Drums||Hall of Mirrors|
|Polyp||Samba balloons||Miniature Carousel||Toy Museum|
|Break Dance||Derby||Bumper Cars|
|Space Shot||Animal Carousel||Truck Convoy|
|Top Spin||HipHop||Rio Grande|
|Ferris Wheel||Pirate boat|
|Around the World|
The images are placed on the order by year, when the rides appeared to the park. Thanks to Pia Lindstrom, Michael Pantenburg and Teemu Tolvanen for the ride information.
Bumper Cars, 1950
The Bumper Cars have been on the park since the opening day.
The building has located in the same spot all the time, but it's been
replaced by the new version on two occasions.
Ghost Train, 1950
The Ghost Train is the other of the two original rides in the
park. This one's too renewed several times.
Vuoristorata roller coaster is the oldest original
ride in the park. It has been built by the park itself. The construction
is figure-8 side friction. The best airtime can be experienced in the front seat.
Animal Carousel, 1954
The Animal Carousel has been built in Germany 1896.
Fun House, 1961
Fun House has been under constant modifications throughout it's history.Clik here if you would like to have a virtual ride through the Vekkula.
Ferris Wheel, 1964
Ferris Wheel is another German-made ride. The diameter
of the wheel is 24 meters (79ft).
Miniature Carousel, 1966
The manufacturer of the ride is Claudio Sartori from Italy.
Rio Grande Train, 1967
Rio Grande travels around the water tower. The original
train was replaced by the Zamperla-made train couple of years ago.
Hall of Mirrors, 1967
The Hall of Mirrors used to be in the middle of the park
near the Space Shot's site.
Chair-o-Plane was one of the original rides in the park,
but not this one. There has been several chair-o-planes in the park.
This ride used to be in the water flumes site until 1997.
Kiddie Bumper Cars, 1978
Kiddie Bumper Cars used to be next to roller coaster,
but was moved to the Fairytale Valley when Chair-O-Plane took it's place.
The track is made by Claudio Sartori, Italy.
The Monorail is yet another German-made rides of the park.
Viking Boat, 1981
All the manufacturers of the major rides have their own
version of the pirate ship. Manufactured by Zierer.
The Derby used to be next to City Express, but it was
relocated to present site 1997. It was another victim of the water flume.
Rainbow is one of the best rides in the park. There are
many similar rides around, but none of them can beat the Rainbow. The reason
is that the other rides have safety harrnesses. The Rainbow has a simple
lap bar which enables the sense of a free fall. The best seats are extreme
left and left rear seats. Manufactured by Huss.
Polyp (Monster 3) replaced the old Octopus, which was demolished.
Manufactured by Anton Schwarzkopf.
The observation tower was going to be more than
200 meters (650ft) tall, but the original plans were never realised.
The heigth of the tower is 70 meters (230ft). Panorama is Swiss-made.
Breakdance is the direct descendent of the Calypso, which
used to be on the Space Shot's site. Breakdance replaced Cortina-Jet, but
was moved to its present site when the park bought the Catapult ride.
The Catapult was replaced by the Top Spin in turn. Are you still with me? Manufactured
by Huss, Germany.
The kiddie Pirate Boat has been manufactured by
Modern Products, England.
City Express, 1990
City Express is a steel roller coaster, that gives faster
rides than the wooden Vuoristorata. The best seat is the last seat of the car.
You'll find the reason when the ride is about to end. Manufactured by Mack.
Please send me Email if you know the manufacturer of this ride.
Hocus-pokus Train, 1993
This train is a good example how you can build a ride
on the site that is practically impossible. Manufactured by Modern Products, England.
Top Spin, 1994
Top Spin replaced the Catapult ride that stayed in the
park just for two years. Top Spin is manufactured by Huss from Germany.
Truck Convoy, 1995
There were horns in the cars, but the juveniles drove
everyone crazy by constant honking. Manufactured by Zamperla, Italy.
Virtual theatre, 1996
This is a virtual ride with moving seats. The original film was
Dino Island in the years -96 and -97, Indiana Jones Lost Temple
in 1998, Superstition in 1999 and Canyon Coaster in 2000.
The equipment is really good, but the film (always a computer animation!) is
terrible, and definitely not realistic at all. This site used to host a racing
track for electric cars.
Around the World, 1997
This is yet another ride with
brilliant equipment but nothing interesting to watch. I hope they would
replace the boring dolls by human eating aliens. That would be fun!
Samba Balloons, 1997
This carousel used to be down in the Fairytale Valley
where the Dragon now stands.
High Chaparral, 1997
This Zamperla-made kiddie ferris wheel replaced the
Donald Duck ferris wheel that was much smaller.
Water Flume, 1998
This is the first water ride in the history of the park.
There are long lines to the ride but I don't like it because it destroyed
my favourite corner of the park.
In the early 1990's there was a Fanfaari amusement park in an
old industrial building. It housed a similar ride than this. The park is now gone.
Please send me mail if you know the
manufacturer of this ride.
Space Shot, 1999
The latest ride of the park concuered the site from the
Enterprise that was moved to Tykkimäki amusement park. The Space Shot
is manufactured by S&S Sports Power, USA. Space Shots have been around since 1994.
Space Express, 2000
Space Express is a junior roller coaster through
galaxies. It was built inside the water tower. Unfortunately it replaced
one of my favourite rides, Safari. This roller coaster is manufactured
by Zierer, Switcherland.
HipHop is a children's own Space Shot. Adults too can
enjoy this ride which is not as thrilling as it's big brother but certainly
lasts longer. HipHop is manufactured by Moser Rides, Italy.