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Erik & Smisty & TPR do Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland

Part 25: Sampo Circus

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At last we come to the final park of the trip, Linnanmäki. The name means Water Castle Hill, but I think they should've included the word "rocky" in there somewhere, personally.


25: Sampo Circus



The park was founded, and is still run, by the non-profit Children's Day Foundation. Entry is free, though one must of course pay for the attractions. Can you guess what year it first opened?



The first ride of the day was Taiga, an Intamin LSM launch coaster not completely dissimilar in style to VelociCoaster. I think I like this one slightly more, though it does lack the theming of IOA's ride. Both are smooth and aggressive, but VelociCoster's first half feels like it's made up of smaller, more compact elements (which I guess I'm saying is less good).

A pretty great ride, in any case.



Taken through the window of the gift shop, because I'm artsy.



Next door to Taiga is Kyöpelinvuoren Hotelli, the exterior of which is "shown" here, in this shot from the queue for the Ferris wheel--because, again, artsy.



I had no idea this dark ride existed, and it was spectacular. It reminded me a lot of Blue Train, except where Blue Train is a celebration of random mix-and-match horror theming, Kyöpelinvuoren Hotelli has a consistent theme throughout--which might sound less interesting, in a way, but isn't because that theme is, "What if witches ran a hotel but a wizard showed up to fight them and got killed almost immediately and they also live in the hotel and there are werewolves too sometimes I guess."





Yes, the park has a fun house. But, it's a fairground-style trailer-mounted one. Better than not having a fun house though, to be sure!



I'm not afraid to punch a seagull.



I don't know what this is, but I appear to be having fun. I suppose you could classify it as a powered coaster, but I'm not sure what the point would be since no one should be counting powered coasters anyway.



Goldballs modelling the next "what the hell is this?" ride.



This dark ride I did know about.

I had no idea so many coaster enthusiasts were coulrophobic.



I thought it was great! (Giving Linnanmäki the best 1-2 dark ride punch of the trip.)

Let me know if you want more pictures of terrifying dark ride clowns!

Or witches!

Or that one wizard guy who died.






Next door to the Clown Circus is this walk-through haunted house and mirror maze. Well lit and family-ish, but I really enjoyed it. They give you 3-D glasses, but they feel pretty unnecessary, to be honest.



Some cool effects in the mirror maze, like glass that "breaks" to reveal monsters when triggered by passers-by.



Some areas of Linnanmäki are themed and some aren't--or I just don't understand what those areas are themed to.

Or, to put it another way, Linnanmäki is circus-themed except when it isn't, which is frequently.

Don't tell me that doesn't make sense unless you've been there.



There is no other theming of this kind in the park. Enjoy your pee!



I think this photo was taken from the "sky cabin" style observation tower, Panoraama.



Vuoristorata has a similar layout to Bakken's Rutschebanen, but this one is still breakman operated.

(Er...brake-person operated?)

Unfortunately, this one was rather rough and dull. Of course, I only rode it once (because it was rough and dull), and by its nature, one would expect some variation from ride to ride--but I can only judge by what I experienced. And what I experienced was pointless.

RMC it!




Why, bug?

Linnanmäki, that's why.



There's something weirdly interesting about a monorail built through a multi-level park in such a way that it travels directly alongside pathways.



In case it wasn't obvious, I fell in love with this park when we walked in.



Hot dog, lunch!



The train (which has a tiny graphic of a train on the front of it, presumably so that you'll know what it is once you get up close) travels around this water tower that doesn't have water in it, but can't be torn down for historic reasons.



It can apparently have a roller coaster built inside of it, though.



Linnunrata eXtra

Linnunrata means "Milky Way" and eXtra means "stupid VR goggles that you shouldn't use because the inside of this ride is actually really nicely themed!"

To space, obviously.


Oh, and hey, Barry's back!

He's been back for awhile actually. In fact, think he only missed, like, one park.

Don't rely on me for news updates is what I'm saying.



That looks cool. How do we get down there?



For an extra thrill, ride your horsy along the edge of a rocky cliff.



It's a walk-around character. Of some sort. Quick, walk around her!

Quickly googles "Linnanmaki mascot."

Oh, Rolle the Clown. Which, yeah, don't google that. She's not it. She's waaaaay less horrifying.



Yes, Smisty and Goldballs are on this thing. Photo by me.



Maybe this is more common than I think, but I've never seen a swinging ship ride with restraints that come down over your body and rows that face one another.

We rode just because it seemed weird.



The park's spinning coaster, Salama, was quite alarming in that the ride was janky and rough leaving the station and all the way to the top of the lift hill. But then it was fine and smooth and enjoyable. It was almost a feature. Like, let's make people think this ride is going to be horrible, but then it's fun actually!



This area of the park is largely themed to the Finnish epic, Kalevala. And if you don't know what this, there's a chance you actually do. At least, if you've ever seen the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring the Finnish/Russian film based on that mythology, "The Day the Earth Froze."

That's right. The big metal thing shooting water and fire is, in fact, meant to be a Sampo.


Wait...MST3K paired that film with a short called, "Here Comes the Circus."

Oh. Your. God.

That means that Linnanmäki is entirely themed after Episode 422 of Mystery Science Theater 3000.



Pikajuna is a Mack powered coaster that was primarily interesting for how it intertwined with some of the park's other coasters.



Speaking of Mack, we were warned that there's a reason Tulireki is the world's only Mack E-Motion Coaster. And during the first third, it didn't seem too bad. But oh that second third, the jack-hammering begins! And then the last third is kind of in-between, where it's just a little bit terrible.

I am not an engineer, but I have to suspect that the drunken elves that move the seats a bit in relation to the chassis just don't have the magic to maintain their composure at the bottom of the drops.



The park also has an upcharge Sea Life Aquarium. Well, not an upcharge, really, as the park is free to enter. So, just a charge, I guess. Maybe it's even weird to say, "the park has," since there's also an entrance from outside the park. Not that having to enter the park would be any great hindrance.

Anyway, naked dudes eating ice cream. And one has a bird on his head.

Just try that sh!t with me, gull. I'll mess you up.



Can verify that the aquarium has an underwater tunnel, making it officially legitimate.



It also put a little hat on a sea urchin, making it fun in a way that's kind of dubious.



"Just try putting a hat on me, aquarium. I'll mess you up."



I like Sea Life Aquariums. Maybe not quite as much as most city-run aquariums, but they'll do!



Linnanmäki. It's great. Maybe their overall coaster collection is just okay, on average--but Taiga was really good and Salama and Linnunrata are both fun. Two wonderful dark rides, plus a walk-though and a fun house. An observation tower, monorail, Ferris wheel, aquarium. Some interesting flat rides and lots and lots of weirdness. Yeah, this is an Erik park.

Score: 10



And so we say goodbye to TPR (here represented entirely by Robb).


But--and I apologize in advance--this is not the last update, as we spent two more full days in Helsinki doing Erik & Smisty stuff. So stay tuned for:


The elevator of death!

A drab office building full of snakes!

A really big store!

An observation tower that's part of a stadium!

A really tiny power plant!

Baby ribs!

Um...the airport!

And more!


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That means that Linnanmäki is entirely themed after Episode 422 of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

The prophecy is fulfilled!



Or maybe not. But isn't it pretty to think so?



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