Fun for the whole family in Helsinki at Christmas time

A mammoth, a spiced plant walk, an exhibition to show what animals do in winter and a LEGO workshop will keep the family entertained during the holiday.

You can feel Christmas in the air at Kaisaniemi Botanic Garden, where a spiced plant walk is open to the public until January 6. The greenhouses are decorated with seasonal flowers, from amaryllis to hellebore and hyacinth. Lights twinkle in the afternoon twilight, and the Christmas cabin creates a festive mood. There are even a few tasty recipes along the way.

Even though Helsinki has been snow-free this year, The Finnish Museum of Natural History offers a glimpse of what animals do in the winter. The Finnish Nature exhibition takes visitors through our natural landscapes to see the different ways animals get through the winter. In addition to observing animal behaviour, visitors can escape the cold in a snow tunnel, write a wintry greeting for their favourite animal, or see what animals eat during the cold season. The exhibition’s advent calendar will open a new surprise every day until Christmas Eve.

While at the Museum, make sure to visit the Change in the Air exhibition, which offers a trip back in time to billions of years in the past. Change in the Air tells the story of the most pressing issue of our time and stands as a tribute to climate change research at Luomus and elsewhere at the University of Helsinki. The youngest visitors are sure to be delighted by the woolly mammoths, the stone-age abode and the tableau of a wolf pack hunting a European bison.

If you would like to turn your gaze to the stars, head to Tähtitorninvuori to the historic Helsinki Observatory. Until the end of the year, the Observatory is hosting an exhibit of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe as it surveys the very beginnings of our Solar System on the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in addition to the permanent exhibition. The new miniature exhibit “Space in the LEGO universe” will open at the Observatory on Saturday, 9 January 2016. On opening day, a LEGO workshop will be organised for children, who can come and build their very own space fighter or a robotic probe.

Finnish Museum of Natural History and exceptional opening hours

Helsinki Observatory and exceptional opening hours