How many trolls can a Troll Hole hold if a Troll Hole could hold trolls?
The answer is about 30,000, including a world-record setting 8,000 troll toys and another 22,000 pieces of troll memorabilia, if you’re talking about the Troll Hole Museum in Alliance, Ohio.
Yes, without realizing it, you probably live nearby the largest collection of troll toys in the universe.
That may mean nothing to you. You may be indifferent to the toys and the sugar-frosted Dreamworks movie they begat.
Or you may already be packing for Alliance.
Owner Sherry Groom started collecting toys when she was five years old. It was a hobby long before it was a destination. But the museum opened in 2014, and its troll-packed shelves have earned attention from Atlas Oscura, Drake Bell, and the Guinness Book of World Records.
The museum also makes for a unique day trip from Northeast Ohio, so here are five tips if you decide to descend down the Troll Hole.
1. The Troll Hole’s website needs to be updated, so don’t bother booking a tour online. Also, don’t be deterred if you see on its website that adult tickets cost $20. That pricing info is incorrect. Adults pay $10; seniors and students, $8; children 6 to 12 years old are $6; 3- to 5-year-olds are $3; and anybody younger than 3 is free.
And you don’t need to schedule a guided tour ahead of time. They run throughout the day, so you’ll never wait too long for the next one to begin. You can always spend a few minutes at the Grumpy Troll Café or gift shop.
2. Based on the context (you’re on a parenting website and reading about trolls), I’m assuming you have children and that they loved the movie Trolls. But Groom’s collection predates the film. In fact, one of her rare giraffe troll toys helped inspire the character Cooper.
So, yes, Poppy, Branch, and their friends get a room in the Troll Hole. And, yes, the guided tours accommodate young ones well with dancing and hug time. But the Troll Hole also incorporates decades of toys and centuries of troll myth.
3. Consequently, The Troll Hole has as much for fans of Tolkien as it does toy enthusiasts. The museum has themed rooms that explain troll mythology through the ages and depicts the habitats of earth, stone and water trolls.
The landscaping is also memorable with a bridge, waterfalls, and 10-foot troll living out back.
4. If you get peckish, the Grumpy Troll Café offers good coffee and specialized waffles. The Poppy – red velvet (with whipped cream, cream cheese and sprinkles) – is a tasty sugar high and the gastronomical equivalent of Anna Kendrick singing Earth, Wind & Fire.
5. If you’re bringing small children, you can probably see everything the Troll Hole offers in less than two hours.
That means you may need somewhere else to take them afterward, depending on how you time your car trip/nap break. May I recommend the nearby Beech Creek Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve?
It offers gorgeous gardens, hiking trails, a butterfly house, and the outdoor playground of your dreams with a tree house, zipline, tire swing, and a log cabin that kids can deconstruct and rebuild. Admission is $8 for almost everyone. Seniors are $7, and children younger than 3 are free.