Zones by Särkänniemi

8th June 2019

Zones by Särkänniemi is a respectable large Family Entertainment Center located on the upper floor of the Ideapark Commercial City shopping mall south of Tampere. It is divided into four distinct sections: the Kid Zone, the Family Fun Zone, the Action Zone, and the Game Zone. There are no individual ride tickets available; instead, would-be guests are required to purchase a wristband covering one or more of the available zones. Those visiting only for the coaster will therefore need to be prepared to part with €14.90, a timely reminder (for those who still need it) that this truly is a ridiculous hobby.

Zones

Lohikäärme-rata (#2686) is a non-spinning figure eight coaster from SBF Rides located in the Family Fun Zone to the left of the main entrance. There were no other guests in the vicinity, which may well explain why I was treated to an incredible twenty lap cycle of the short track, easily the longest programme I've experienced/enjoyed/endured (delete as appropriate!) on a ride of this type. It's tempting to describe the layout as life changing and worthy of industry accolades, but that would be truly ridiculous; it was a credit to be ticked off and nothing more than that.

The accurately named Spinni was more than I felt like dealing with in the immediate aftermath of breakfast, and I was over the maximum height limit for the Tähtitorni frog hopper. I had more luck at the XD Dark Ride, which turned out to be a glorified version of Desperados, a dated yet entertaining target shooting game that is always fun (if possibly not in the way that the designers intended). There was also a 6D Cinema with three movie choices: Future Bike, Lost World, and Kapadokya Coaster. Needless to say I went for the latter, and though the footage completely ignored the laws of physics the experience was still enjoyable thanks to a range of different special effects.

 

Tivoli Seitera Forssa

8th June 2019

In the planning stages of my trip I discovered a small funfair in the town of Forssa, but chose not to buid it into my itinerary as it would have taken a chunk of the time that I'd allocated to Särkänniemi. The late decision to visit that park yesterday left me with several spare hours, and I decided to divide them between the Ilmailumuseo, HopLop Helsinki, and a pathetic bonus powered non-credit.

Tivoli Seitera events are somewhat smaller than those promoted by Suomen Tivoli. The group operates a total of twenty attractions, though most of them are geared at younger visitors. The few exceptions are a Fun House, a Miami, Paratrooper, a Twist, a Waltzer, and Xtreme, a Technical Park Street Fighter. The staff today were wearing a rather splendid uniform with branded white shirts, bow ties, and luminous green hats dramatic enough to be visible from space.

Tivoli Seitera

The show in Forssa was built up in a car park belonging to Prisma, a hypermarket chain that can be thought of as the local equivalent of Walmart. The various attractions were laid out in a roughly square shape, with an improvised exterior wall made up from truck bodies. I quickly located the Family Ride (Tivoli Seitera), and soon after had handed over €5 for around a dozen shameless laps on a commutator-driven Dragon. Readers will be pleased to know that the operator wasn't even remotely bothered by the prospect of having an adult on board.

 

HopLop Helsinki

8th June 2019

HopLop is a chain of Family Entertainment Centers located all over Finland. The majority of branches are run-of-the-mill children's play areas, but the outlet on the top floor of the Ristikko Shopping Mall has a few other attractions, including miniature golf and a zipline coaster. Those wishing to partake of the latter are required to purchase a €25 climbing ticket; if I'd known that prior to arrival I would probably have given it a miss.

Liitorata is an installation of a Walltopia Roll Glider with a height differential of around ten metres and a ride time of twenty seconds. The layout starts with a drop of two metres, followed by a continuous angled descent that stretches from one end of the facility to the other and back again, turning from side to side to avoid building supports. I found that the last few turns were particularly dramatic, though it's only fair to note that I was at the upper end of the permitted weight range. I rode three times before departing for a dinner of traditional Finnish cuisine.