John Ball Zoo critters popped in for their monthly visit to check in on the children at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. They coaxed smiles and shrieks of glee.

Zoo volunteers Betty Sobel and Sunny Sjaarda’s daughter, Vickie Sjaarda, who filled in for her mother this month, brought an entourage that consisted of a scorpion, hedgehog and screech owl.

Grand Rapids resident Saydee Vasquez, 5, practiced her “hoo-hoo” sound while she learned about the screech owl from Sobel.

Aside from Saydee, dozens of children had the opportunity to visit, ask questions and learn fun facts.