Moomin World, Naantali
Tove Jansson’s Moomins, created by her in the 1940s, have been popular with children and adults worldwide (but particularly in Scandinavia and Japan) ever since. In Jansson’s native Finland, a theme park was opened with her blessing in 1993, with the understanding that it would be non-traditional, close to nature and made of stone and wood.
Located on the island of Kailo (the original choice, Ruissalo, is now home instead to the Ruisrock music festival), Moomin World (Muumimaailma) is accessible via a bridge from the harbour of the old town of Naantali.
There are no rides in Moomin World and while there is no shortage of places to buy snacks and Moomin merchandise, these don’t seem to be the park’s raison d’être. Instead visitors can visit buildings featured in the Moomin stories such as the many-storied Moominhouse, Sniff’s Summer Cottage, the Snork’s Workshop and the Witch’s Hut.
Where Moominworld does resemble traditional theme parks is in the abundance of teenagers dressed in character costumes. We saw Moominmamma, Little My, Too Ticky, the Hemulen and many more swarmed by adoring children (and one little girl whose curiosity lead her to try to unzip the Snork Maiden!).
Some of the characters also appear on stage at Theatre Emma, which gives regular performances in Swedish and Finnish. As English speakers the dialogue may have been lost on us but we enjoyed the spirited dancing of the octopus, Little My’s impudent faces and the revolving stage sets.
The park’s key demographic, families with small children wearing headscarves, loved the play together with walks through attractions like the Hattifatteners’ maze, the Whispering Woods and the Barefoot Trail, stopping in the many picnic areas and swimming in the sea at the secluded beach area. (Otherwise scarily well-behaved Scandinavian
children do splash each other!)
Moomin World is a gentle, friendly place, which reflects the imaginative landscape and idealism of the Moomin stories and can be enjoyed by children, adults, Moomin fans and Moomin neophytes.