Public Art Sculptures Your Kids Will Love (Beans, Blue Bears + Trolls)

If your kids aren’t up for art galleries and exhibitions, why not check out the public art sculptures that can be found in so many cities across the country. Here are just a few that I know will turn their heads. They may not even believe they’re works of art.

  • The Awakening (Washington, DC): Your kids will be in awe just looking at this 70-ft statue of a giant embedded in the earth, struggling to free himself. In DC for more than 30 years, The Awakening moved to the National Harbor in 2008. A second casting was unveiled in 2009 and can be found in Chesterfield, MO.
  • The Bean (Chicago): Its formal name may be Cloud Gate, but this public sculpture, which sits in Millennium Park, has been called The Bean since it was unveiled in 2006. At 33 feet tall, this sculpture was selected in a design competition and earned its nickname for its leguminous shape.
  • Big Blue Bear (Denver): If you find yourself near the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, you must check out the 40-ft high blue bear sculpture that’s been peering into the center’s lobby since 2005. The sculpture is technically called “I See What You Mean,” but most everyone in the Mile High City calls it simply the Big Blue Bear.
  • The Fremont Troll (Seattle): Not so much a grumpy old troll as a friendly giant who’s been living under the Aurora Bridge in Seattle since 1990. He may be clutching a Volkswagen Beetle, but don’t worry, he’s harmless.
  • Make Way for Ducklings (Boston): The Make Way for Ducklings statue in Boston’s Public Garden is a must if you have little ones. Based on one of my favorite children’s books of the same name, this bronze sculpture is of Mrs. Mallard and her eight little ducklings.
  • Traveling Man (Dallas): At 38 feet tall and weighing in at 35,000 pounds, the Traveling Man sculpture is made entirely out of steel and sits just outside the Deep Ellum rail station. His guitar-shaped head is a nod to the community’s musical presence. Keep your eyes open because three separate sculptures sit within blocks of the Deep Ellum station.

In addition to fun and funky sculptures that sit in many cities across the country, your kids may also get a kick out of the sculpture gardens throughout the U.S., like the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which offers free guided tours through August (don’t miss Spoonbridge and Cherry).

Two in Washington, DC within just blocks of each other are the Sculpture Garden at the National Gallery of Art (check out Typewriter Eraser) and the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, which displays over 60 sculptures year-round on a one-and-a-half acre site.

So, have you checked out many public art sculptures? Let me know which ones are your favorites.