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Up Close with Arctic Animals at Ranua Wildlife Park

Arctic animals are ones many of us will never see in the wild in our lifetimes. My very first experience with Arctic animals was at Ranua Wildlife Park in Arctic Finland. I first visited in December 2011 during Finland’s Polar night, when the sun just barely rises above the horizon. Winter at Ranua Wildlife Park is a magical time though; it’s when Arctic animals are most in their element. That first visit was the inspiration for our trip to Svalbard, so Ranua Wildlife Park holds a special place in my heart. I was thrilled to get to visit again and finally show the park to Tim on our trip to Finland with LappOne.

Ranua Wildlife ParkRanua Wildlife Park Ranua Wildlife ParkRanua Wildlife Park has around 50 species of Arctic animals. If you’ve been following our blog for a while now, it’s probably no surprise that both Tim and I’s favorite animal at Ranua is the polar bear. When I visited in 2011, only the male polar bear was active. The female was in her den and had given birth to a polar bear cub within days of my visit. I watched the male use his sheer power and weight to break ice and retrieve the treats I had tossed in as I got a VIP guided tour with one of Ranua’s caretakers. On our return visit, Tim and I had to literally be dragged away as we watched momma and cub (who is already as big as his mom!) play and roll in the snow.

Ranua Wildlife Park Ranua Wildlife ParkThe brown bears were still hibernating on my first visit, so I was delighted to see that they had just woken up days before and were full of energy after their long winter’s nap. The brown bears chased one another, impressively running and pouncing with agility through several feet of snow before climbing the trees.

Ranua Wildlife ParkThe snowy owls are incredibly beautiful with their white plumage, though they are only white in winter to help them blend in to their surrounding. I also think it is interesting that the snowy owl is active in daylight, unlike other owls that are strictly night owls. This is because the snowy owl has to adapt to the 24 hours of sunlight in the Arctic summer.

Ranua Wildlife ParkLynx are common on some of the islands near Kemi and though we didn’t spot one there, this beauty was napping and soaking up the warmth from the sun. We learned that the lynx actually shares many features of a house cat; it can even purr!

We could go on and on about the muskox, reindeer, wolves, and all the other animals that only live in the Arctic. But we won’t give away all the secrets of the Arctic animals – you’ll just have to visit for yourself to learn more!

Know Before You Go

  • A visit to Ranua Wildlife Park can be booked as part of your LappOne holiday. Use the promo code JDOMB when making your inquiry for 10% off any LappOne tour. Promo code valid until May 31, 2013.
  • Ranua Wildlife Park is open daily September 1 – May 31 from 10am – 4pm and June 1 – August 31 from 9am – 7pm.
  • Be sure to stop by the Karl Fazer chocolate outlet and the Virvatulet Wine Shop (where you can purchase unique Finnish wines made from Arctic berries), both located just outside of Ranua Wildlife Park.

Our time in Finland and Sweden was hosted by LappOne, who offers a variety of holidays to Lapland. As always, all opinions are entirely our own.

Jennifer Dombrowski

Jennifer Dombrowski is a location independent globe trotter who is based in Prata di Pordenone, Italy. She works as a social media and communications strategist and is an award-winning travel writer. She is also a travel correspondent on Traveling on the American Forces Radio Network. Jdomb's Travels was named one of the top travel blogs to watch by the Huffington Post and has been featured by top publications such as CNN, Buzzfeed , and The Telegraph. Her iPhoneograpy has also been featured on publications such as USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Google+

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18 comments

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  1. Kimberly Davis

    Awwww, so precious, and excellent photography!

    [Reply]

    Jdomb's Travels Reply:

    Thanks, Kimberly!

    [Reply]

    Jdomb's Travels Reply:

    Thanks, Kimberly!

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  2. Ali

    It would be so awesome to see these animals in the wild! I can’t pick one!

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    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    My favorites are the bears! We could have watched them all day.

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  3. memographer

    Love bears! Top two photos look like Coca-Cola ad to me. So great!
    Thanks for the introduction. My To-Do-Go list got a new item- Ranua Wildlife Park in Arctic Finland.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Most definitely visit Ranua if you visit Finland! We loved watching the animals and learning some interesting facts about them.

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  4. Sofie

    You got some pretty neat pictures!
    Amazing to see hose big brown bears climb up those trees.

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    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Isn’t it incredible, Sophie? And they were so fast climbing the trees too!

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  5. Andrea

    Polar bears are adorable. Love your pics!

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Thanks, Andrea! Polar bears are my favorite.

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  6. Laurel

    Very cool! Love the idea of an Arctic Wildlife Park. I could watch polar bears for hours.

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    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Me too, Laurel! Polar bears fascinate me.

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  7. Leigh

    Fantastic set of photos. Looks like a place well worth a visit. Finland is calling after reading your posts.

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    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    Thanks, Leigh! I think you’d like Finland. Tons of cross country skiing and even biking in winter.

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  8. Andrea

    How come every time I see polar bears they are doing something cute?

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    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    I know, right?! I love polar bears. One of the bears in our photos was born right around my first visit in December 2011. He’s so big already you can hardly tell the difference between mom and cub!

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  9. Freya

    Stunning photos ! I just love polar bears as well. I always try to visit parks where they have polar bears. High on my bucket list is to see one in their natural environment one day.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    I agree, Freya! We went to Svalbard hoping to see polar bears but didn’t spot any. Hopefully we will see them one day in the wild.

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  10. Lauren@GreenGlobalTravel

    Glad to hear about Finland’s Ranua Wildlife Park giving arctic animals a natural habitat as a home. Way to go Finland for helping others learn about the creatures that other humans would rarely see in a lifetime. I can not believe that the lynx is so similar to a house cat and even purrs! Too cute. Thanks for sharing and good luck in future travels!

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    Jennifer Dombrowski Reply:

    I love this educational wildlife park! They’ve really done a fantastic job of providing natural habitats and educating visitors on Arctic wildlife. Though it only inspires me to want to see Arctic wildlife in the wild even more. :)

    [Reply]

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