Palm Beach Children’s Hospital, DinoSOAR garden
With a brachiosaurus that is two stories high and a child-size baby t-rex, the healing garden at Palm Beach Children’s Hospital is not your regular hospital garden and is pretty spectacular. The garden began with several dinosaur sculptures, designed to give patients and families somewhere to visit and provide a welcome distraction from hospital life. It has subsequently evolved since its creation in 2012, and today the healing garden is filled with the sound of music after outdoor musical instruments were installed to help provide more interactivity for visitors.
In 2012, the President of the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital Foundation had an idea to create a pediatric garden for children and families to get out into the garden and play. She decided what was needed was a dinosaur garden – this was apt considering Florida’s tropical weather - and began with a sidewalk circling the area and seven giant dinosaurs. A small waterfall and plants were quickly included for sensory impact, and patients soon began to enjoy the benefits of the healing garden. The garden aimed to help reduce the trauma associated with a hospital stay and provide a positive hospital experience.
While there was a lot to see in the garden, the Child Life team at the hospital realized that interactive, playful items would enhance the area further. As Lisa Barron, Pediatric Office Supervisor for the Child Life Dept, says, “a child’s job is to play, so we quickly knew we had to add in something fun to play with.”
In 2019, the Palm Beach Children’s Hospital Foundation was gifted with a toy telescope, a flower xylophone, and a dinosaur-themed hand-painted mural from the Matthew Lehrman Osteosarcoma Foundation.
Then three years later, another donor, For a Bright Future, Inc, said they wanted to add instruments from Percussion Play. Lisa worked with Daniel Fry at Percussion Play to help envision what they could put in the garden – Rainbow Sambas, Harmony Bell Flowers, and the Bell Lyre that could be engraved with the donor’s logo.
Lisa says, “working with Percussion Play was so brilliant. The team helped us choose the instruments, and when we went to install them, the website had all the exact instructions for every piece of equipment, so it was easy for the contractor”.
The instruments have been a big hit with children and also adults from the rehab unit at the hospital next door. With picnic tables, tranquil music, and lights at night, this is a space everyone at the hospital enjoys. It allows patients and families to forget about their treatment and escape into a magical garden.