Special Event

The Troll That Hatched an Egg: An Exhibition by Thomas Dambo

*** IMPORTANT UPDATE: Starting Wednesday, May 29, the Nest portion of our Thomas Dambo "The Troll That Hatched an Egg" exhibition will be temporarily closed to the public until further notice while we treat and remove extensive poison ivy. Note that all three of the trolls at Aullwood Audubon remain available to visitors! Stay tuned for updates on when the Nest will reopen. Thank you for your patience! ***

Aullwood Audubon is proud to announce the arrival of Bo, Bodil and Bibbi, and their troll-sized bird nest. These giant trolls by internationally renowned artist Thomas Dambo have come to life at Aullwood Audubon and are ready for your visit. “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” is one of only a few Dambo-created exhibitions in the United States and Puerto Rico. Discover the tale of Aullwood's trolls in their story “The Troll That Hatched an Egg”. Scroll down to see a few photos and read some informative Frequently Asked Questions about the exhibit.

When visiting our new exhibition, please adhere to the following guidelines:
 * Please stay on the trails to protect our plants and wildlife.
 * Please do not climb, sit or stand on any part of the trolls, especially their hands and feet. The trolls want everyone to be safe.
 * Please do hug the trolls. All trolls love to be hugged!
 * Please do not collect anything from the property. Leaves, moss, lichens, twigs, branches, and fungus provide habitat and food for hundreds of animals and insects that live in our sanctuary.
 * Please do not climb on the troll nest or remove any decorations or pieces from it.
 * Please do play in the troll nest. The trolls want everyone to have fun!    
Bibbi from "The Troll That Hatched an Egg", December 2021. Photo: Aullwood Audubon / Ken Fasimpaur
Detail of Bo from "The Troll That Hatched an Egg", October 2021. Photo: Aullwood Audubon
Bo from "The Troll That Hatched an Egg", October 2021. Photo: Aullwood Audubon / Ken Fasimpaur
Bodil from "The Troll That Hatched an Egg", November 2021. Photo: Aullwood Audubon
Detail of the Bird Nest from "The Troll That Hatched an Egg", October 2021. Photo: Aullwood Audubon

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(Last updated 5/24/2024)

Who is Thomas Dambo?

Thomas Dambo is from Copenhagen, Denmark and is the world’s leading recycle artist. Thomas has been helping giant trolls come to life around the world for over 10 years. He worked with a team of local volunteers as well as members of his artistic team to prepare for the trolls’ arrival at Aullwood using locally sourced materials to create the sculptures.

“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,” says Dambo.

Dambo hopes that his trolls bring people into nature to explore. He also wants people see how scraps and garbage can be recycled into something meaningful and beautiful. He designs the trolls and writes the stories that explain who they are and what they’re doing. You can learn more about Thomas Dambo and his work on his website, www.thomasdambo.com

How does the troll exhibition relate to Aullwood?

Thomas Dambo has a unique vision as a world renowned creator and recycle art activist. His use of reclaimed and repurposed materials and his goal to help people reconsider what they regard as 'trash' is central to that vision, and is an important conservation message that Aullwood shares. In Aullwood's specific “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” exhibition, birds, nature and conservation are all reflected in the trolls’ story as written by Thomas Dambo. The “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” story is posted in the lobby of the nature center and farm discovery center, as well as being available online and available for purchase with a commemorative troll map for $5.00. These are of course central to Aullwood Audubon’s mission as well. The exhibition also pays tribute to Dayton’s history of aviation and the wonder of children who see birds (and airplanes) fly for the first time.

Dambo hopes that his trolls bring people into nature to explore, and likewise we hope that the influx of new visitors to Aullwood are inspired to appreciate the natural world in new ways. We also hope the trolls raise the visibility of our bird mission from fresh and imaginative angles with their themes of flights, nests and eggs, and lead to a long lasting appreciation of our world and its natural wonders. As in the troll's story, we hope the little red Cardinal singing songs about the great outside will be a lasting inspiration.

Is there a charge to visit Aullwood Audubon?

Aullwood Audubon is a private 501c3 nonprofit organization. Aullwood Audubon is not a part of Five Rivers MetroParks and does not receive tax dollars. Admission or membership is required to visit our nature center, farm, sanctuary and trails. General admission is free for children 3 and under, $8.00 for children 4 to 12, $12.00 for adults 13 to 64, and $10.00 for seniors age 65 and over, active duty military members and veterans with military ID. Members of Friends of Aullwood (our support group), National Audubon Society and ANCA affiliated organizations receive free admission with membership card. Find out more about getting unlimited visits with our trolls and other benefits of being a Friends of Aullwood member on our membership pageWe have improved signage and closed informal entrances to our site from other properties to clarify the admission requirement.

Your admission fees and memberships cover a crucial part of our operational expenses. Please make sure to stop in at the nature center or farm discovery center building to pay admission or purchase a Friends of Aullwood membership before visiting. Your support allows us to stay open to the public. Thank you!

When is Aullwood Audubon open? Is Aullwood Audubon open during the holiday?

Aullwood Audubon is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Aullwood's Nature Center, Farm Discovery Center, trails and property are closed on Mondays.  Please note that Aullwood's trails are closed when Aullwood is closed, and no access to the site is permitted after business hours. For the latest on our schedule, holiday closings, and other events, please visit our Events page

Aullwood Audubon is open rain or shine and year-around. General admission tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable. For this reason, we recommend you carefully plan your visit to allow for adequate time to explore our property and "The Troll that Hatched an Egg" exhibit by Thomas Dambo.

Do you have to pay extra to see the trolls?

No, “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” exhibition is included with paid daily admission or membership at Aullwood Audubon. General admission is free for children 3 and under, $8.00 for children 4 to 12, $12.00 for adults 13 to 64, and $10.00 for seniors age 65 and over, active duty military members and veterans with military ID. Admission to Aullwood is free for Friends of Aullwood members, National Audubon Society members and members of organizations who belong to the Association of Nature Center Administrators (ANCA). Find out more about getting unlimited visits with our trolls and other benefits of being a Friends of Aullwood member on our membership page.

How long does it take to see the trolls?

A 90-minute round trip walk will take you to all four installations that make up "The Troll That Hatched an Egg" exhibition, assuming the average walking pace of a child and allowing time to take pictures and enjoy the trolls.

If you're looking for shorter hikes, you can see the troll (Bodil) who is within a 7-minute walk of our Farm Discovery Center at 9101 Frederick Pike. The second troll near the Farm (Bo) can reached within 20 minutes from the farm parking lot. From the farm, a quick 5-minute drive takes you to our Nature Center at 1000 Aullwood Road, where the Troll Nest and the troll near the center (Bibbi) can be visited in a 30-minute walk. (You can start your visit at either the farm or the center.)

Aullwood has two exciting center facilities with hands-on displays to explore, wildlife and livestock ambassadors to observe and 8 miles of trails that wind through a variety of habitats, so we recommend allowing at least 2 hours for your visit. Please note, visitors who arrive at 4:00 p.m. or later will not be able to view the entire exhibit as Aullwood closes at 5:00 p.m.

How do I find the trolls?

Aullwood's trolls and nest are located at multiple sites throughout Aullwood's nature sanctuary and farm. For more details, see Aullwood's trail map. There are many different routes that can be taken to access the exhibition sites.  We suggest that you wear sturdy shoes or boots that can get muddy, and dress appropriately for the weather.

May I take photos of the trolls? 

You are welcome to take photos and videos of the trolls for personal use. To use any part of the Aullwood Audubon property including the Thomas Dambo trolls for commercial photography, videography or multimedia recording, you must obtain a commercial permit. See our Commercial Photography, Videography and Multimedia Policy for complete details.  Please note that the use of drones or other remote-controlled aerial vehicles is prohibited at Aullwood Audubon without written prior approval.

Are dogs permitted at Aullwood Audubon?

Dogs on leash are permitted at Aullwood Audubon, including on the trails leading to the troll exhibition. We do not allow retractable leashes on our property. Aullwood Farm features a variety of animals, so please keep this in mind if your dog doesn't always 'play well with others'. Please be careful to restrain your dogs from chewing or climbing on any part of the trolls or exhibit.

Are the trolls accessible?

The trolls and nest that make up Aullwood's Thomas Dambo exhibition are not accessible. The trolls and nest are reached via hiking trials that run throughout Aullwood's nature sanctuary and farm. These pre-existing hiking trails are primarily dirt with some wood chip and gravel areas. The trails are largely primitive and unimproved; some are steep, contain exposed roots and can be muddy. We are currently exploring options to improve accessibility to some of the exhibit sites in the future. A significant walk is required to see the trolls, which varies from 7 to 20 minutes based on the troll; they cannot be viewed directly from a vehicle or accessed from the adjacent Aullwood Garden MetroPark or Englewood MetroPark. You can view Aullwood's trail map for details on where the trolls are located on our property and more about our trail system. 

Aullwood’s Cardinal Trail next to the Nature Center at 1000 Aullwood Road is reasonably accessible. This trail is 4/10s of a mile and circular and consists of asphalt and pavers. There are benches located all along the trail for those who might enjoy observing nature or taking a rest. There is a steep grade to access part of this trail and a long grade uphill/downhill, that may be difficult for some wheelchair and walker users. This is primarily a nature trail and during a portion of the year hosts our Faerie Houses of Aullwood exhibit. However, the Dambo installations cannot be viewed from this trail.

Aullwood's main buildings, the Charity A. Krueger Farm Discovery Center and the Marie S. Aull Education Center, contain accessible restrooms. The Farm Discovery Center has automatic doors, but the Nature Center does not. Disabled parking is available at both locations and there are curb cuts from the parking area up to the buildings. The area behind the Farm Discovery Center includes a paved porch and short paved path to a roughly graveled drive that leads to the barns where many of Aullwood's farm animals reside. One entrance to the barn is level with the ground, the other has a step that needs to be navigated; the lower barn is one floor and level. Entrances to the Sheep Barn and Aviary are level.

If you need more information on accessibility, please contact us as AskUs@Aullwood.org

How long will the trolls be at Aullwood Audubon? 

"The Troll that Hatched an Egg" is a permanent exhibit created especially for Aullwood Audubon by Thomas Dambo. As wooden creations, they will of course not last forever, but we do anticipate them remaining intact for several years. Thomas expects that the trolls will eventually return to the earth from whence they came!

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