Troll Hunt at the Morton Arboretum

reclaimed wood art - Morton Arboretum

You can expect to find lots of interesting creatures at the Morton Arboretum – birds, ducks, squirrels, and now TROLLS.

Face of giant outstretched troll art

Trolls first made their appearance at the Morton Arboretum in the spring and rumor has it they’ll stick around through the end of 2018. Danish artist Thomas Dambo used reclaimed wood to create these colossal creatures that reach 15 to 30 feet in high; one is 60 feet long! The trolls love trees, but they’re a little unsure about humans; get to know them on a Troll Hunt on the grounds of the Arboretum.

Giant reclaimed wood troll - closeup of face and hair

Troll Hunt Details

The Troll Hunt is a temporary art exhibit at the Morton Arboretum, and there is no additional fee beyond the cost of general admission.

The trolls are scattered, but can be found with clues in the Troll Hunter’s Handbook, which is available at the Visitor’s Center, and they can be reached on foot, bike, or car. (Not much of a hunter? Have no fear – there’s a map available for those who don’t mind spoilers.) If you’re hiking to see each of the six trolls (and maybe stumble upon their hideout), you’ll likely cover six or seven miles on your journey. You can also take a ride on the Troll Tram. For $10 per adult and $8 per child (children under 2 are free) you can spend an hour and a half riding the tram to see all six trolls, and have a chance to walk up to four of them to explore them up close. Be aware that the tram only runs when weather permits, and discounts are available for Morton Arboretum members.

Giant troll with rock and crushed car

Trolls can be reached by on mown grass paths and wood-chip trails. They’re fairly easy to reach by foot, and all are less than a mile from a parking lot. Strollers can be used, but it might be a little bumpy. There is a Troll Hunt Accessibility page with specific information about each location for any guests with mobility issues.

Giant troll by tree at Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum always has plenty of exciting things happening so check out their Calendar of Events to see what else is happening when you plan to visit.

Giant troll by tree with boy

Tips for your Troll Hunt

  • Have a plan. Will you hike, ride, or drive? Use the hints from the Troll Hunter’s Handbook to hunt the trolls down, or plot your course with a map? There’s a lot to see and a lot of distance to cover so make a plan ahead of time.
  • Dress for the weather. Your Troll Hunt will take place outdoors, so dress for the weather. It’s always a good idea to bring plenty of sunscreen and bug spray along, and a poncho or umbrella if rain is a possibility.
  • Don’t forget the camera. It’s not often you see trolls in the wild, so you’re definitely going to want to document your Troll Hunt and share photos with friends and family.
  • Don’t be shy. While some of them might look a bit scary, the trolls don’t bite, so you can get up close to check them out. Please don’t climb on the trolls though – they don’t like it and we want them to remain uninjured so lots of other visitors can enjoy seeing them too.

Two boys posing with giant troll foot

  • Stop by the Sterling Morton Library. The Troll Archives at the library (located a short walk from the Visitor’s Center) include a one-of-a-kind book about the trolls and troll-related activities, like building a model hideout.
  • Don’t miss the Troll Hideout! Shhh! There’s no trolls here right now so you have a chance to explore the trolls’ hideout while they’re not around.

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For more information about the arboretum, visit my Morton Arboretum post. 

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