Explore the Enchanted World of Seattle's Trolls

Last updated: October 30, 2023, at 4:13 p.m. PT

Originally published: October 30, 2023, at 1:01 p.m. PT

Left: Kids pose in front of the troll in West Seattle. Right: Families walk down a wooden staircase in the park


If you go down to the woods today …you're in for a big surprise.  

Our city's Fremont Troll had some younger siblings spring up this summer. They've been brought to life by Danish environmental artist Thomas Dambo out of recycled and reclaimed materials and, with help from members of the Muckleshoot tribe, to embody the care for the environment that is central to both Coast Salish communities and Scandinavian traditions.  

The enormous "Bruun Idun" can be found playing her flute somewhere in Lincoln Park, summoning the orcas back home. Their exact location isn't disclosed. Why? To provide a geocaching adventure for any intrepid enough to seek her.  


In the night, there was a storm 

There, at the beach where she was born 

And Iden felt a feeling wrong, and so she  

Walked into the dawn 

And in a flute, the magic horn, a tune so 

Passionate and strong 

She played for them an orca song 

To ask them where they all have gone  


Earlier this month, seven of the YMCA's Early Education families from our Seattle Preschool Program at Hallows in West Seattle followed the notes from Idun's flute into her world. And this bold band of Y families managed to track her down. Just like all the best adventures, this is one best braved together. That's why Center Director Noreen started getting West Seattle families together for weekend group hikes. The idea started last spring.  

"I want families to get to know each other and get out and active. People can be intimidated by the thought of getting out and hiking with kids, and I think it's a great activity to do!" said Noreen. This trip was a magical way to spend family time with 1 ½ to 2 hours of nature exploration. As Noreen pointed out, it's these shared experiences that are a huge part of what builds community. Not only are kids getting family, outdoor, and social time, but so are their hardworking caregivers. 

As well as helping to overcome isolation, time spent in groups and families in nature helps combat feelings of intimidation or doubt in the outdoors. Getting outside gives your physical health a boost, and there's also an undeniable improvement in our mood, mental health, and emotional well-being when we spend time out in the natural world.  

Getting people tuned in to the wonder of the wilderness in ways like this is just the beginning. Here at the Y, there are all kinds of opportunities for outdoor leadership and environmental education, from early education to career and college prep