Little Ranua is famous for its excellent zoo, focused almost entirely on Finnish animals, although there are also polar bears and musk oxen. A boardwalk runs past all the creatures, which include minks and stoats, impressive owls and eagles, wild reindeer, elk, a big bear paddock (they hibernate from November to March), lynx and wolverines. There’s plenty more for kids, with horse rides, mini-karts, pettable domestic animals and assault courses. Ice-cream stops dot the route, and there’s a cafe and lunch restaurant.
Ranua, 82km south of Rovaniemi on Rd 78, has hotel, cottage and camping accommodation; there are three to six daily buses from Rovaniemi (€17.30, 1¼ hours) as well as connections from Kajaani and Oulu.