The Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital circle drive recently transformed into the Mesozoic era when two life-like dinosaurs showed up roaming, roaring and playing with young patients.

“He was almost licking me!” Korbyn Chinevere, 5, said.

The Allosaurus, named Allie, and Tyrannosaurus, called Ripley, that visited are part of the Dino Stroll show that features realistic animatronic dinosaurs created with moving heads, necks, tails, wings, blinking eyes and more details that bring them to life.

“Korbyn was excited from the moment he heard dinos were coming,” Child Life specialist Rhys Vandemark said. “He told everyone he met on the ninth floor that the dinos were coming. He was better than the flyer.”

For every child who made it down to the circle driveway, 10 more watched from their windows above. As the dinosaurs walked down Michigan Street, they paused to look up and roar for the children with a view.

“We know that there are kids here at the hospital for weeks or even months and if our dinosaurs can be a bright spot in their day and lift their spirits, we are happy,” Colton Flynn, Dino Stroll marketing specialist, said. “It was great to see them laughing and playing. Just being kids for a minute.”

Because of recent visitor restrictions, hospital patients and staff haven’t had a smile-making occasion like this one in quite some time.

“This is the first in-person event we have been able to host in months,” Child Life team member Alyssa Cosier said. “It’s great to feel like we are kind of getting back to normal.”

Cosier described the hour-long dinosaur visit as “pure happiness.” She loved seeing so many smiles and hearing so many laughs.

“I would say that Korbyn had a blast playing fetch and roaring with the dinos,” his mom, Toni, said. “On a scale of 1-10 he was at a 10 or 15 in terms of excitement for sure.”


Rick Jensen contributed to this post.