Lux Korkeasaari ENG

LUX Korkeasaari



Lux Korkeasaari, a satellite event for the renowned and beloved Lux Helsinki light art festival, lights up the zoo during the darkest days of the year: 25.12.2021 – 9.1.2022. At the same time it brings light to the future of the endangered snow leopards: one euro per purchased ticket or an annual card visit will be donated towards conserving snow leopards in the wild.


Normal ticket prices and annual cards are valid during the event. During Lux Korkeasaari the zoo is open from 10 to 19 o’clock. Last entrance is an hour before closing time.

The safety of a visit will be increased through limiting the number of visitors with an online reservation process.
Book your visit!

Route and installations

The atmospheric Lux Korkeasaari route circles the island, bringing the surrounding maritime nature and nearly one-hundred-year-history of the zoo to life through light art. A free map is available at the entrance during the event.


Avian Electronics is a series consisting of four audio works placed along the route at Korkeasaari Zoo. In the works, a sine wave is transformed into the song of a willow warbler, a finch’s quiet call becomes an electronic warning sound and a digital loon sings on the beach, calling in vain to his fellow loons. Synthetic nature sounds mix with electronic signals; the boundary between genuine and artificial is vague and imprecise.

Sound artist Ville Aalto hopes the electronic, realistic yet lifeless sounds of nature will focus attention on the importance of preserving biodiversity and both the threats and opportunities created by technology.

“By imitating the sounds of nature, I want to highlight man’s ability to experience empathy towards other species, but also concern about man’s faith in his own abilities to control, destroy and subsequently replace or repair the surrounding nature. A sound can warn of impending destruction, but it can also build faith in a future where threats have been avoided,” the artist says.

Lux Korkeasaari / PIILOPAIKKA

HIDEOUTJuha Forsander
Hideout is a video installation in which Finland’s nocturnal nature, depicted in the light of a flashlight, appears exotic and jungle-like. The video allows viewers to observe the shoreline along the Kallahdenniemi bay from a new and different perspective – that of a frog. The soundscape for the video has been created by the insects that inhabit the reeds.

Hideout was inspired by a nocturnal and rare encounter that the artist had along the Kuoshdenniemi nature trail in Vuosaari.
“I was fiddling with the settings on my camera when I heard the soft footsteps of little paws approaching. The little dark figure walked almost directly in front of me before he noticed that I was standing there. It was a raccoon dog. We stared at each other for a few seconds until the animal darted away and hid in the reeds,” says Juha Forsander.

SLEEPYHEADOlivia Pohjola
Sleepyhead depicts a warm heap formed by sleeping animals and humans who press against each other to form a safe formation for falling asleep. The hibernating animals of Korkeasaari Zoo and humans sleep amid the island’s winter climate. The installation combines delicate and even fragile drawings with heavy lighting equipment, creating a strong contrast.

Sleepyhead conveys a message of love, touch and care in which the boundaries between human and non-human are blurred and love for nature and each other can flourish.

Lux Korkeasaari / VIOLET

VIOLETMaikki Pekkala & Lari Suominen
Violet lives in a cave and loves light. Rescued from bad circus conditions, Violet is a sympathetic light-eating monster who has moved to Korkeasaari Zoo to enjoy a serene life. Violet both observes and consumes light while bears and many other animals hibernate.

Made from UV lamps, textiles, wood, reflectors and motors, the installation combines light, drama, movement and sound. Violet also featured in Lux Helsinki 2019.

How do the animals react to lights?

The wellbeing of animals is the corner stone of Korkeasaari Zoo’s operations. It guides our processes and work every day, also in event planning. The lights and installations have been planned so that they do not disturb the animals. We keep a close eye on the wellbeing and behaviour of the animals, and if necessary, the lighting will be adjusted.

Almost all animals at Korkeasaari have been born in zoos, hence they are used to humans and the sounds of the city. In case they want to, the animals have the option to hide. Some of the animals will retire when darkness falls, as is typical behaviour for the species. However, other species are the most acitve especially during dusk and when the weather is cooler.

Energy efficiency

Korkeasaari uses green electricity, which is based on renewable energy sources. The estimated energy consuption of Lux Korkeasaari light installations is 75 kWh. The installations are made using safe and energy effecient light sources.

Conservation of snow leopards

Cold and rugged mountains of the Central Asia is the habitat of the endangered snow leopard (Panthera uncia). About 5500 snow leopards live in the wild on an area of 2 million km2, extending through 12 countries. As temperatures rise, vegetation, livestock and people move higher on the mountains, fragmenting the habitat of the snow leopard.


Korkeasaari Zoo has supported the work of the Snow Leopard Trust since 2012. With the donations Snow Leopard Trust has bought GPS tracking collars to gain insight about snow leopard habitat, wild prey species, and the cats themselves and done research to discover information about the diseases and illnesses of the snow leopards in the wild.

Since the 1960s over a hundred cubs have been born in Korkeasaari, more than in any other zoo in the world. Snow leopards in Korkeasaari are part of the EAZA Ex-situ programme or EEP. The purpose of the EEP and the studbook containing information about the individuals, is to maintain a healthy and genetically diverse population in zoos, in case the population in the wild is threatened with extinction. For snow leopards the studbook was established in 1976 and was first kept at Korkeasaari Zoo. Research done in the zoos supports the research and conservation of the animals in the wild.

Make a donation for snow leopard conservation!

Conservation products

You can also support snow leopard conservation by buying conservation products at Korkeasaari! Reflectors and plush toys are sold at Mustikkamaa ticket sales and at the zoo’s restaurants during Lux Korkeasaari. The price is 9,50 € / product, of which 5 € goes to snow leopard conservation. We’ll also donate 1 € per salmon soup portion sold in restaurant Karhu.

Lumileopardi-pehmolelu Lumileopardi-heijastin Salmon soup


Feeding times

During the feeding times a guide will tell the news about the animals at the Zoo and their conspecifics in the wild. Inhabitants of the Zoo are most visible at daytime as some of the animals will retire for the night during dusk. Guides will walk around the zoo and talk about animals and installations the whole evening.

13:00 European bison
14:00 Takin
15:00 Camel

Animal houses

All animal houses are closed for COVID-19 safety reasons.

Restaurants & picnic areas

Salmon soup, á la carte meals and snacks are available at restaurant Karhu by the Bear Castle, and pizza and snacks at Bistro Bron at the zoo entrance. Both restaurants are open according to zoo opening hours. Last orders from the kitchen are taken an hour before the zoo closes, alcohol serving ends at 5 pm. Snacks are available until closing time.

Restaurant Karhu: open 10 am – 6 pm
Restaurant Pukki: open 3 pm – 6 pm
Bistro Bron: open 10 am – 6 pm

An indoor snack area with microwave ovens can be found at the Bear Castle.

Arriving to the Zoo

Local Helsinki region bus no. 16 from and to the Central Railway Station (Rautatientori) runs all year round three times an hour. Travel time is 20–25 minutes. AB-region public transport tickets are valid for the bus. Notice that there is no ticket machine nor a cash machine at the zoo; please have a valid return ticket before visiting, or download the HSL mobile app for ticket purcase.

Kalasatama metro station is about 15 minutes (1 km) away by foot from the zoo gate at Mustikkamaa. The metro runs every 2,5 to 5 minutes. Exit the metro station or REDI shopping mall to Leonkatu. AB-region public transport tickets are valid for the metro.

The number of parking spots is limited, therefore we recommend using public transport. Parking is available at the Mustikkamaa recreation area, some 400 meters from the zoo entrance. The parking is free of charge during winter. Parking outside of the parking lot is forbidden, as it will block the bus and emergency vehicle routes.
Visiting address: Mustikkamaanpolku 12
GPS address for parking lot: Mustikkamaantie 10

Enjoy your visit and respect the zoo etiquette

Please stay on the route 
During daytime the whole zoo is open, but when it gets dark, please stay on the route as the rocky terrain can be dangerous in the dark.

Respect the animals
Animals have sensitive eyes, so do not use flashlights and do not take photos with flash. Drones are also not allowed.
Some animals seek shelter at night and may be out of sight after sunset. If you wish the see the animals and then stay to enjoy the lights, come latest at 2 pm.

Do not feed or disturb the animals, cross the fences, knock on the windows or put your fingers in the enclosures. Pets are not allowed at the zoo.

Do you need help?
For lost property inquiries please contact the zoo ticket office at number +358 50 3525989. The same number is also the zoos emergency and customer service number. First aid is at the ticket office.



Korkeasaari Zoo reserves the right to schedule, price and program changes.