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Santa Sets Up Shop in Lapland

November 29, 1998

It's not quite at the North Pole, but it's pretty close: Santapark opened this weekend within the Arctic Circle, deep in Finland's Lapland territory. A kind of Santa theme park, it features a Magic Sleigh Ride that designers say will let you "enjoy the scents, feel the temperatures and even the wind" of changing Lapland seasons and landscapes.

There's also a gigantic Christmas Carousel, a Reindeer Ride, a "multi-vision theater," a cafeteria and, of course, a Santa--or two or three.

The park is in a unique setting: burrowed inside a cavern in Syvasenvaara Mountain about three miles from Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. A shuttle operates between the park and Santa Claus village, about a mile from the Rovaniemi airport. For a real wintertime experience, you can also make the hop via snowmobile or ride a reindeer-drawn sleigh.

The park's holiday season hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is about $21 adults and $14 children 4-11; under 4 free. Information: Scandinavian Tourist Board at (212) 949-2333; or the park, telephone 011-358-16-333-0000, fax 011-358-16-333-0020.

Santapark is also being added to some tour itineraries. Among them are Norvista in New York, tel. (800) 677-6454, with five- to six-day trips starting at $1,299 per adult and $599 per child.

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