‘TROLLS’ will be taking over the Philadelphia Zoo

Trolls Philadelphia Zoo
Ibbi Pip
Courtesy Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Philadelphia Zoo is adding another pop-up exhibit throughout its grounds, and this one comes from Imagine Exhibitions. Thomas Dambo’s ‘TROLLS: Save the Humans‘ is making its East Coast debut in Philadelphia on Feb. 1, and what it features is a collection of the mystical creatures made out of repurposed wood.

Philadelphians who buy a ticket to the Zoo from the activation’s opening date through April 15 will be able to check out the 15-foot folklore-inspired creations for free (TROLLS is included with admission), and to accompany this exhibit, guests are also encouraged to bring their old Zoo Keys (or purchase one at any of the Zoo’s retail locations) to hear stories from the Trolls themselves.

“As the region’s foremost conservation and education destination, we are excited to welcome these enormous Trolls to the Zoo and have them help us tell the story of how we can all make a difference for the planet,” said Director of Marketing Patrick McMaster in a statement. “Thomas Dambo’s trolls can be found around the world in some of the most beautiful places in nature, and we’re honored to have the Zoo be their next destination.”

Trolls Philadelphia Zoo
Ronja RedeyeCourtesey Atlanta Botanical Garden

The trolls were created by Artist Thomas Dambo, who currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. Born in Odense, Denmark in 1979, Dambo’s mission is to “create art that inspires people to explore, have adventures in nature, and show that recycled goods can be turned into something beautiful”, a release states.

The artist graduated from the Kolding Design School in Kolding, Denmark, with a master’s degree in interactive design. He then used recycled materials to create colorful art installations through street art and scenic designs before landing on the exhibit today.

The troll sculptures range in height from 16 to 50 feet and “live” as permanent or semi-permanent installations in parks, greenspaces, industrial parks, and in other site-specific locations around the world. Each folklore-inspired sculpture dons distinct expressions and characterizations, and for many of the installations, Dambo additionally wrote folk tales to address the complex problems of our world in a fun and approachable way.

‘TROLLS’ was released as a temporary exhibit in 2018 at The Morton Arboretum just outside of Chicago, Illinois. The exhibition was an enormous success, leading to the garden’s two highest attended years in its nearly 100-year history and during the run of the exhibition, 1.26 million people visited the arboretum, the release notes. Inspired by the enthusiasm of the visitors and compelled to find a way to enable Dambo’s work to have a longer lifespan in the spirit of reducing, reusing, and recycling, Imagine Exhibitions then partnered with Dambo to develop this evergreen traveling exhibition.

Each troll has its own name and identity, but all of them aim to help educate visitors on how we live our daily lives and how that could help save the planet for all animals, including humans, by encouraging people to reduce trash, reuse everything, and recycle when they can.

Trolls Philadelphia Zoo
Courtesey Atlanta Botanical Garden

For example, Ronja Redeye’s mission is to encourage guests to rethink ways to minimize trash, while Rosa Sunfinger wants guests to find ways to renew the habitats around them and plant native plants wherever they can to create habitats for pollinators. There’s also Sofus Lotus who inspires guests to reconnect and learn from nature and Basse Buller, who’s on a mission to motivate people to refuse the habits humans have that hurt nature. Other larger-than-life trolls will be sprinkled throughout the venue as well.

To learn more information about TROLLS and for tickets (included with admission which is $19-$25) visit philadelphiazoo.org