Safartica Northern Lights Picnic
Seeing the Northern Lights was on top of our wish list for our visit to Lapland. Choosing to book on our own meant we could tailor the trip to the best experiences for the kids. We chose an evening picnic with Safartica thinking we would (hopefully) see some Northern Lights and do something the kids would enjoy.
As it turned out we did see the Northern Lights, but our typically “up for anything” children completely melted down and spent most of our “Arctic Picnic” screaming. Like truly screaming. But I digress…
Safartica is a bit disorganized. We had a few booking issues. We e-mailed back and forth and we wouldn’t hear from them for a week or more until we got an e-mail saying they were going to cancel our booking if we didn’t confirm. Um… ok.
The Safartica office is on the main road in Rovaniemi. We easily walked from our hotel. They had a giant snow pile from the plow out front and this fun cut-out in front of their store.
We checked in and started the long process of getting suited up. Although, we had the kids in every piece of warm weather clothing we had we were advised to also wear the gear they provided. The temps were hovering around -25C. This is where the meltdowns started. Our kids were not pleased to be stuffed inside yet another snowsuit. I think i had both big kids on the floor crying inside the store at the same time.
In hindsight this is the moment I should have cut our losses and taken the three littles back to the hotel and let Jeff go on his own. Safartica also offers a program where you float in a pond in a protective suit to see the lights. They even offered to transfer Jeff to this program, which is what we should have done! However, we pressed on.
Safartica had a large bus for the group, but arranged for a small van with car seats to take our family! This was completely unexpected and a huge bonus for the company. We got the kids all buckled in and headed on our way to see the Northern Lights.
Once we arrived we unloaded and walked a bit through the woods to an opening. The two guides made sandwiches, glogi (juice), hotdogs and passed out cookies as we waited for the clouds to clear and the Northern Lights to come out.
As we sat near the fire the kids started to get cold and then the tears started. We got keys to the van, where a couple was already sitting and loaded the kids up. They continued to scream. The van didn’t have any heat, so all it did was shield us from the elements. A guide popped his head in to say that the lights were visible so Jeff headed back out to check them out. I stayed with the screaming kids. I wish I could tell you it got better, but it really didn’t. After about 45min of screaming one by one they all passed out.
The Northern Lights were visible to the naked eye, but only able to be photographed with the correct equipment. We snapped a few photos of other cameras to show what you’re actually able to see when the KP Index was a 3-4.
Jeff ran back to the van to let me hop out and see the lights just before we left.
The van was so cold that we had to stop a few times on our drive home so that the driver could clear the window of the frost that was forming on the inside. He did drop the littles and I off right at our hotel, so we didn’t have to go back to the store. Jeff went back to return the gear. When he got back to the hotel all three littles were passed out.
Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. We are usually triggered to pull the plug on things when the kids are melting down, but the allure of the Northern Lights got us!