You’ve probably heard of the Fremont Troll, one of the most famous art installations in Seattle (and a backdrop in the popular teen flick 10 Things I Hate About You). If you’re looking for a fun outing with young kids, I highly recommend checking out the troll — especially because you can combine your trip with an ice cream treat.

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My three-year-old was initially a bit freaked out by the troll, so after a quick drive-by we went to Bluebird Ice Cream just down the street. They specialize in small-batch artisan ice cream with awesome flavors like Theo Chocolate Chunk (made with pieces of locally made Theo chocolate bars), Horchata, and Salted Caramel — it was probably the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Bluebird has other locations in Capitol Hill and Greenwood. I’m already planning our next visit.

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Once we were happily full of ice cream, my boy decided he was ready to see the troll again so we walked up the road — it’s just a couple of blocks uphill from Bluebird, an easy hike for my three-year-old but it IS up a super steep hill so be aware. He was SO excited to check it out and ran all around, climbing up the troll’s arms and behind his head. He explored the VW bug in the troll’s clutches and ran up and down the steps to the Aurora Bridge (which creates the little cave of the troll’s home). I made him leave after 15 minutes because it was cold and we had other errands to run, but I think he could have stayed all day.

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This was the perfect little outing for a weekday afternoon and I think it would be fun with kids (or out-of-town visitors) of any age. Here are a couple fun facts about the troll to dazzle your friends, via Wikipedia:

  • The troll is made out of steel rebar, wire and concrete and was sculpted by four artists: Steve Badanes, Will Martin, Donna Walter, and Ross Whitehead
  • It was the winning idea from a 1990 competition sponsored by the Fremont Arts Council, with the goal of rehabilitating the area under the bridge after it had become a dumping ground and haven for drug dealers.
  • The idea of a troll living under a bridge was derived from the Scandinavian fairy tale Three Billy Goats Gruff.

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The Fremont Troll is located at N. 36th Street at Troll Ave. in Fremont.