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Finland’s nature on display

November 8, 2013

For anyone who is a nature lover like I am, I can highly recommend two places in the capital area to visit to get your fix. Whether you are a visitor to Finland or living here, there is always an opportunity to learn.

Earlier this year Haltia, The Finnish Nature Centre opened its doors to the public. Since its grand opening in Nuuksio National Park (in Espoo) at the end of May 2013, the centre has seen more than 80,000 visitors – including thousands of foreign tourists who have found this little jewel in the middle of the forest. It is by no means large, but it presents Finnish nature and wildlife in a modern, artsy, hi-tech kind of way. There are permanent exhibitions including an excellent multi-media exhibit of all Finland’s national parks and wildlife tucked into the floors and the walls! Currently there is an exhibition called Luonnus featuring the works of Finnish designers who have been inspired by the nature of Lapland. The ambiance of the building is enhanced by the fact that it is constructed out of wood (designed by Rainer Mahlamäki). Admission is a modest EUR 7, but I think I’ll be purchasing my annual EUR 15 membership come January. I’ve been there twice already and I’ll be going again – dragging any willing participants with me! (I wish I had some better photos – I’ll try and take better ones next time.)

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Long ago I visited the Finnish Museum of Natural History (Luomus) in Helsinki. My memories of the place are faint: animal specimens preserved in jars… and it was dark. Luomus underwent extensive renovations a couple of years ago and reopened to the public. When my mom was here, we made a visit there because she wanted to see it. For EUR 10 you can spend hours observing animal species from around the world and get a great handle on the massive variety of wildlife in Finland. The exhibits are superb. I really enjoyed it. Admission is EUR 10, but admission is free for a few hours on certain days of the week. Check the website to see more! Luomus is associated with the University of Helsinki and other institutions dedicated to the study of natural science – good stuff! It gives Luomus and its partners a smart synergy needed to get their work done and the word out.

The temporary exhibition on bats was great. And I learned something new: there are 13 species of bats in Finland. Who knew?!

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