Santa Park Rovaniemi Reviews
A Child's Dream - A Parent's Nightmare Dec 19, 2009
Included in our itinerary with our holiday package with First Choice was a visit to Santa Park. In the written information that we were given it seemed that we were in for a couple of hours of fun.
Making our way through the snowy scenery we eventually pulled into a rather large car park and proceeded to walk the rest of the way on foot. I have to say that the park itself is situated amongst the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. Trees twinkling with the freshly fallen snow, and paper lanterns were illuminating the pathway upto the entrance as it was still dark - a truly magical experience especially for the children.
Upon entering the main door you have to walk down a very long darkened tunnel which gives the impression that you are entering into a cave. The ticket booth is situated at the end of this long walkway and this is where I received my first shock - the admission price, Adults 28 euros, Children 23 euros. However, we did not have to pay as it was included in our holiday package. (It did state,however, that the ticket was valid for two full days)
As we continued further down the walkway Santa's workshop came into view - a great marketing ploy if there ever was one, basically it's a room with overpriced cuddly toys - no child is going to pass this without asking their parents for some sort of souvenir to take home, the smallest cuddly toys were nigh on 10 euros each and the prices just escalated as the toys got bigger - what parent is going to deny their child a cuddly reindeer or husky though??
We were particularly interested in visiting the ice bar - surprise surprise their was an admission fee here also, you had to purchase a glass for the price of 7 euros before being allowed into the ice bar to be served your drink. Needless to say we gave that a miss also.
We headed to the Ice Sculpture gallery next - correct, admission price required here also - given that you could see the majority of the sculptures from the window we decided that it was not worth the money either.
Wandered a little further into the 'cave' and came across signs for 'Elf School' mainly for the kids - they hold three classes daily and the admission is free, however, at the end of the class there is an option to graduate from the school with an Elf certificate - again at a price!
In the very centre of the building is the cafe area where you can purchase various snacks and drinks whilst watching the free show - the show takes place three times during the day.
Further along - the smell of gingerbread lingers in the air - here we came across the Gingerbread kitchen where Mrs Claus and her elves help the children to decorate gingerbread biscuits, all well and good until your child wants to take their biscuit with them - a charge of 2.50 euros!!
We did find something that was free, however, and took full advantage of the sleigh ride. Basically it's a little train that takes you through Santa's workshop with moving toys and fairyland scenery, passed three minutes of our time there.
Obviously the main attraction for the under 9's is Santa Claus's office, where you get to queue for ages to meet the big guy in red and then part with 25 euros to have your children photographed with him. Another great marketing ploy!!
We were given two hours to explore Santa Park and after an hour my sister and I had seen everything. Quite a number of our fellow coach passengers must have had the same experience - either that or they had run out of euros, as we were all wandering around the snowy forest for the remaining hour before we could board our coach back to the hotel. How anyone could go back and spend a second day there is beyond me.
I don't want to sound like Bah Humbug - at the end of the day I love Christmas but to be honest the one word that I would use to sum up this attraction is 'exploitation'. Having to pay extortionate prices for nearly every attraction within the building after paying an initial admission fee is just so wrong in my opinion.
Like I said 'A child's dream - a parent's nightmare' - you have been warned.
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