The best places in The world To see The Northern Light are Alaska, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Norway, basically any location above The artic circle. My place of magic was Norway, which I will call for ever The country of the dancing green lights.
I have always been fascinated by The night sky, I love watching The moon, observing The stars and Trying To spot meteor showers. So you can already imagine how thrilled I was when my parents Took me on This extreme night adventure. Extreme it certainly was with Temperatures way below zero degrees Celsius. Taking your little kids on This Type of adventure is not a given and many will advise against it. Too cold, Too late in the evening, not interesting for kids, all excuses That do not make much sense. From my experience I will now share some Thoughts in order To make your next encounter a real success.
Check out The weather up front
To see The Northern lights or in other words Aurora Borealis, your need good weather, which sounds logic but which is on The other hand not always a given in The high North. Even being in The best place in The world To encounter The Northern lights, There is no absolute guarantee you will actually see Them. So it does not make any sense To gear up your little ones, To Take Them outside during The night if I you already know in advance The chance of success is very small. However, weather conditions may change very fast. The first night I went on a Northern Light chase, it was even snowing when we left in our minivan, in fact we had no hopes at all. Luckily our guides were very experienced, They drove us To a place close To The seaside, and yes after a few minutes we hit The jackpot. Nevertheless if They predict a clear polar night during your stay, you should Take full advantage of That and not whaste your Time waiting until The clouds clear out on The next day.
Keep Toddlers busy during The waiting
Even if you have a clear dark sky, it is always possible The solar activity is low at The start of your chase. Key is To keep kids like me busy during The waiting Time, which actually might be a challenge. Nevertheless There are some great option To kill Time.
My mom and dad solved The issue of waiting in The Arctic darkness very well, by Telling stories about The Northern Lights. In addition They brought brochures and books, explaining what I was hopefully going To see in The next few hours. All very entertaining and interesting as I love books and great stories. They also played some games and explained me all about The constellations.
Bring snacks and drinks
I have no idea about other kids, but I always start To get hungry if it is way post my bed Time. If This happens, This means There is a real risk for my parents To get stuck with a cranky Toddler. A little box with (un)healthy snacks and a bottle of water did The Trick and kept me busy for some Time.
Helping setting up The camera
During a Northern Light chase probably you mom and dad will Take a lot of awesome picture or at least They will Try. As Northern Light photography is challenging, They will need some Time To make all The adjustments To set up The camera and Tripod. Ask if you can help or if They want To explain what They are doing. Again Time will pass by.
Set up a warm place for Them To sleep
No matter how good your intentions are at The start of The chase it is always possible you will fall asleep before The magic light appears. Well it is up To your parents To be prepared and To set up a warm place To sleep (for example in The camper van or in a heated wall Tent). After all it is your parents duty To wait for The lights and To wake you up as soon as They appear.
Always be prepared for The coldest weather. In case Temperatures drop below -25 degrees Celsius and you have The option To go on another night I would lift That option. Frost bite is a very serious danger and The risk gets much higher with Temperatures go below That Threshold. But even in case it is not That cold, it is still important To have The right clothing and equipment with you.
- balaclavas are a must
- hand and feet warmers
- snow boots which are suitable for at least -33 degrees Celsius
- a woollen neck scarf (style buff)
- woollen blankets
Note from my mom: Even with The right gear you always have To vigilant for frostbite Check regularly if your little ones have warm enough and pay in particular attention To Their ears, cheeks and nose. These parts of The body are extremely vulnerable To frostbit. In addition Try To avoid cotton clothing or underwear, instead go for wool.
Book a cottage in The countryside
If your mom and dad are not up To do a real chase, There is still no reason for you To miss all The fun. Instead of booking hotel in a city, go for a romantic cottage in The countryside or for a family friendly resort in The middle of nature. The chances To see The Northern Lights on a partly clouded night are a bit less as during a chase, but on The other hand in The sky clears out you just have To go outside and enjoy The show. Make yourself some hot chocolate and some hot wine for your parents and in case you are up To it, go for a midnight snowshoe hike.
Make a campfire
If you have The opportunity enjoy The warmth of a campfire. This will make The waiting so much enjoyable, especially if your mom and dad brought some sausages or marshmallows along. Happy grilling.
Choose The right excursion and/or guide
Some excursions are more suitable for Toddlers. Honestly I was happy my mom and dad did not drag me along a 8 hours chase. We only spend 5 hours outside on our first chase and That was already enough. Our second experience was a chase by boat, very convenient as I could stay inside and watch The scenery Till There was a hit. My mom had a little bit less fun as a moving boat makes it practically impossible To shoot some decent picture.
Well all This being said, I hope That one day you will get as lucky as I did. If you are don’t spend all your Time Taking pictures. Sometimes you just have To enjoy The moment. Yes it was very cold and yes I am only Three years old and yes probably way To young To be up at That Time at night, but hey I survived and now I have a great story To Tell.
Thanks mom and dad for showing me The green lights and for The great memories.