Did you know that you can see two different types of trolls in Dayton, Ohio?
I’m sharing a troll themed itinerary that’s a fun adventure for all ages.
Where to See Giant Trolls by Renowned Artist Thomas Dambo
You can see the giant trolls at Aullwood Audubon Center and Aullwood Audubon Farm in Dayton, OH.
Danish artist Thomas Dambo is based in Copenhegan, Denmark and has nine exhibitions in the United States and Puerto Rico, the site of his first troll “Hector the Protector.“
Dambo says, “Everything I make I try to make out of things laying around. This way I can build really big things with a very small footprint or impact.”
The Dayton exhibit ties in Dayton’s aviation history and the Wright brothers with the fascination of the flight of birds. In fact, the Wright Brothers observed birds in flight to help with the design of their first airplane.
Dambo uses natural materials for his giant sculptures. He worked with members of his artistic team and a team of local volunteers creating the giants with locally sourced materials.
Check out the troll map to see Dambo exhibitions featuring giant trolls located all over the world.
How Many Giant Trolls Are There to See?
The family of trolls consists of 3 trolls named Bo, Bodil, and Bibbi and a giant nest to see during your visit.
How Much Time Should You Allow to See the Giant Trolls?
These are the following recommendations from the exhibit
- 30 minutes to view 1 giant troll
- 60 minutes to view 2 giant trolls
- 3 hours to view all 3 giant trolls and the nest (approximately 3 miles round trip on foot)
You can read more about the origin story of the trolls in this exhibit here.
See a Family of Trolls at Two Nearby Locations
There is an admission fee to see the giant trolls that gives you access to both Aullwood Audubon Nature Center AND Aullwood Audubon Farm along with the sanctuary and trails.
There are parking lots for guests at both locations.
The giant trolls’ arrival was in late 2021 and this is where is the trolls live and fairy tales are reimagined.
Visitors can see “The Troll That Hatched an Egg: An Exhibition by Thomas Dambo” spread between two nearby locations. During our visit the connecting trails between the two properties were closed so we drove the short drive to the second location.
Guest pay a daily admission fee inside at the gift shop at either location and are given a sticker to wear to show proof of purchase. (Credit cards are accepted)
I kept my receipt in my pocket and wore my sticker on the inside of my jacket because stickers always end up in my hair.
If you think that your family will want to return, you might want to consider an annual family pass for a greater value.
Admission Fees to See the Giant Trolls in Dayton
General admission includes access to see the trolls and includes admission to both the Aullwood Audubon Nature Center and Aullwood Audubon Farm.
- Free for children 3 and under
- $8.00 for children 4 to 12
- $12.00 for adults 13 to 64
- $10.00 for seniors age 65 and over and active duty military members
- Members of Friends of Aullwood (their support group), National Audubon Society and ANCA receive free admission with membership card.
Giant Troll Etiquette You Need to Know
We learned a few things about engaging with the art that’s important to know when you visit the troll sculptures the first time.
The etiquette signs were not posted at each troll during our visit.
Confession: we sat on a troll for a picture near the creek and didn’t know that it was against the rules until we saw the sign by the last troll that we visited that day.
I’m letting you know so that you don’t do something that could negatively impact the large sculptures unintentionally.
Etiquette for the Giant Troll Exhibits during your visit:
- Stay on the trails to protect their plants and wildlife
- Don’t climb, sit or stand on the trolls. Especially their hands and feet.
- All trolls LOVE hugs so feel free to hug each troll that you encounter
- Don’t collect anything from the property. Leave twigs, leaves, fungus, etc. exactly where you found it for the insects and animals to enjoy.
- Don’t climb on the troll’s nest or remove anything from the nest.
- Play in the troll nest and have fun!
How long will the Giant Trolls be at Aullwood Audubon?
The trolls are expected to last about 5 years before they eventually decompose and return back to the earth.
See Giant Trolls at Aullwood Audubon Nature Center
1000 Aullwood Road, Dayton, OH
Aullwood Nature Center has Bibbi the troll and a troll-sized bird nest.
Regardless of your interest in giant trolls, there are miles of walking trails for guests to enjoy.
The education center inside is really impressive with several classrooms for learning.
There is a paved trail and boardwalk for strollers and wheelchairs but the paths to see the giant trolls are not on the paved paths.
Trail maps are available at both of the visitor centers.
The trails to see Bibbi and the giant nest are relatively flat at the Aullwood Audbon Center.
Bibbi the Troll
Bibbi was my favorite of all of the trolls. I think it’s fair to say that he’s very popular with adults and kids because he captures the wonder of a kid trying to fly with homemade wings.
There is an observation platform if you want to check out the sculpture from another angle.
The Troll Nest
Kids will notice a few of the nature elements that are designed for play within the nest.
Just remember not to climb on or remove anything from the nest.
I would recommend walking around the structure so that you can appreciate all of the detail including the carvings on one of the entrances.
Giant Trolls at Aullwood Audubon Farm
9101 Frederick Pike, Dayton, OH
At Allwood Farm you can see two giant trolls (Bo and Bodil) AND farm animals!
Younger kids will enjoy the hands on play areas when you enter the farm discovery center.
The farm has a lot of animals that you can visit including chickens, cows, pigs, sheep and more.
The paths to see the two trolls are hillier if you are traveling with a stroller or guest in a wheelchair.
The Bodi troll near the front of the farm would be the easier of the two to try to see.
We observed little kids having a blast crawling under this sculpture.
The hike to see Bo troll was the farthest which still wasn’t super far.
There is so much detail to take in and appreciate on each troll.
Do you see the natural necklace? I also love how Bo has his hand wrapping around a real tree that looks like a stick in his hand.
The area near this sculpture can get muddy and slippery in spots if you are trying to see a few different angles of the troll.
Aullwood Nature Sanctuary
The 200-acre nature sanctuary has 8 miles of hiking trails including areas with marsh, meadows, prairies, and forest.
955 Aullwood Rd, Dayton, OH
While you are in the area, Aullwood Garden is also worth the stop.
Aullwood Garden is part of the Five Rivers Metropark system and is free to visit.
The 31- acre park was the former garden retreat of Marie Aull who was a conservationist and gardener.
There are nature trails, gardens and natural prairies to explore during your visit.
Dine at a Troll Themed Restaurant
216 Wayne Ave, Dayton, OH
If you want to continue the troll theme for a meal, I highly recommend a meal at the Troll Pub Restaurant. The restaurant is around 20 minutes from the giant trolls at Aullwood Arboretum.
As you approach the restaurant you will see a giant troll near the entrance.
There is also troll artwork on the side of the building.
*It’s important to note that this restaurant does NOT have free parking so if you park in a lot near the restaurant make sure that you pay at one of the stations.
The inside of the Troll Pub has a castle vibe and even a few bookcases that are hidden doors to other rooms in plain site.
Outside there is a nice area with string lights and a fire pit.
Menu Item Recommendations at The Troll Pub
On the menu you’ll find and assortment of pub food menu items including soups, salads, sandwiches, entries, burgers and more.
During our visit we tried Louie the Troll’s Signature Beer Cheese as our appetizer.
I would highly recommend ordering it! It’s made with Shiner Bock and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and served with four warm, soft pretzel sticks.
We ordered two entrees to split because we like to be able to try more than one entree.
We tried the Angry Alfredo. The dish is made with penne pasta with a spicy Alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, bacon, parmesan, spinach, and tomato and comes with garlic bread. It’s a very generous portion and it’s delicious!
We also tried the Fleur De Lis dip sandwich with french fries. The sandwich is made with marinated roast beef served on a hoagie with provolone. They caramelize the onions with brown sugar and Old Forester Bourbon and it’s served with a cup of herb Au Jus.
You can’t go wrong with either menu item.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have room left over for dessert but the Salted Caramel Pretzel Bites and Mokah Stout Brownie both sounded really good!
Looking for more Adventures in Dayton?
Learn more about Dayton’s Aviation History on a bike-themed adventure.
You can bike or drive between locations that includes opportunities to learn more about the Wright Brothers and the history of aviation.