top of page

International Artist Brings Larger Than Life Trolls to the Miami Valley

“The Troll That Hatched an Egg” Exhibition on Display at Aullwood Audubon

Story by Rebecca BaymanAll photos shown here from Thomas Dambo's Facebook page.

DAYTON - The Miami Valley has been given a special chance to view internationally renowned artist Thomas Dambo’s ‘larger-than-life’ work with “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” at Aullwood Audubon in Dayton.

   “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” consists of a family of three trolls who now reside at Aullwood Audubon, and is one of only nine exhibitions of Denmark-based Dambo’s work in the United States and Puerto Rico.


   Dambo, the world’s leading recycle artist, strives to create art from old, thrown away materials. In doing so he hopes to “inspire others to play with the world’s leftovers, see the possibilities and have fun,” according to his Facebook page.

   To bring the trolls to life at the nature and discovery center, Dambo worked with local volunteers as well as members of his team, and used locally sourced materials.

   “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 (quoted on Aullwood Audobon’s website). The site goes on to say “Dambo hopes that his trolls bring people into nature to explore. He also wants people to see how scraps and garbage can be recycled into something meaningful and beautiful.”

   In addition to crafting and bringing these enormous structures to life, Dambo also writes the stories of ‘who these trolls are and what they’re doing’.


   Tying into Dayton’s aviation history, the tale of “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” is the story of the family of three: Bo, Bodil and Bibbi, and their troll-sized bird nest. The curious daughter Bibbi is told by her parents “It’s safe here in the forest. Stay here. Beneath the leaves, amongst the trees, is where you belong.” But one day as Bibbi is looking to the sky she sees a “giant metal bird with stiff wings” fly over the forest. Interested in finding the “metal bird” Bibbi builds a giant set of wings and teaches herself to fly.

   According to Aullwood Audobon: “Birds, nature, ecosystems and conservation are all central to Aullwood Audubon’s mission, which is reflected in the trolls’ story. The exhibition also pays tribute to Dayton’s place in the history of aviation and the wonder of so many children who see birds (and airplanes) fly for the first time. In fact, the Wright Brothers studied the flight of birds as they worked to design the first airplane. It makes sense that a young troll would also choose birds as her teachers.”

   The story of “The Troll That Hatched an Egg” is posted in the lobby of the nature center and farm discovery center and can also be read online at

   It takes roughly three hours to view all 3 trolls, and the nest, located at multiple sites throughout Aullwood's nature sanctuary and farm (it’s an approximately 3-mile round trip on foot). Two of the sites are accessed starting at the Nature Center (Bibbi and the Troll Nest) and the other two sites starting at Aullwood Farm (Bo and Bodil). A short drive from the nature center to the farm is needed.

   While "The Troll that Hatched an Egg" is a permanent exhibit, these wooden structures will not last forever. They are expected to remain intact for at least 5 years and Thomas expects that “the trolls will eventually return to the earth from whence they came”.

   Aullwood Audubon is located at 1000 Aullwood Rd. and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday). Aullwood's trails are only open during business hours. Regular admission fees apply. Visit them online HERE.

   If you would like to learn more about Thomas Dambo and his work visit From there visit the interactive map to see his trolls around the world.

Mamma Wok Pyunggang Botanical Garden South Korea.jpg

Mamma Wok, Pyunggang Botanical Garden, South Korea

Little Elsa Edelwies, Neukirchen, Germany.jpg

Little Elsa Edelwies, Neukirchen, Germany

bottom of page