Lisa, Coby, Rex and Cesar Torres stand in front of one of their favorite dinosaurs in front of their Dunwoody Club Drive home.

A young boy’s love for dinosaurs has become an inspiration and a beacon of hope for Dunwoody residents.

The Torres’ family – Cesar, Lisa and their children Coby, 6, and Rex, 3 – have become known for their holiday-inspired dinosaur inflatables in front of their Dunwoody Club Drive home, a project that evolved during the pandemic.

“In 2020, during these troubled times, we took my son’s curiosity and fascination with dinosaurs and turned it into a family project,” Lisa said. “At the time, I was going through some post-partum issues [after the birth of Rex] and the confidence and safety that Coby felt when he talked about dinosaurs was something I couldn’t give him.”

Seeing the smiles that the world of dinosaurs brought to her children inspired Lisa and Cesar to try to extend that feeling to people in the neighborhood, many of whom were going through the same isolation that the Torres’ family was experiencing.

The first dinosaur installation was put up around Halloween of 2020, with a lot of positive feedback, Lisa said, so the family ordered some Christmas-themed dinosaurs, then then moved onto Valentine’s Day, Easter, and on and on.

Lisa said she then started adding encouraging messages to the display with large cutout letters. For Valentine’s Day, she installed “Smile” to the mix, and people started commenting that they looked forward to the new displays at the newly minted “Dunwoody Dino House.”

“Whatever I was feeling at the time was what the signs said,” she said. “During April, which was Mental Health Awareness Month, we had a sign that said, ‘Your life matters,’ and we got a lot of great feedback from people.”

The Torres family just completed decorating the yard for Fourth of July.

Lisa said her husband, who was working at home at the time, would see school buses stop in front of the house to check out the latest installation.

“It was so great to see the kids go nuts on the bus,” she said. “And my husband would take pictures of parents and grandparents walking their kids by the house and stopping to see what we had up.”

Lisa called the experience “spiritually fulfilling” for the entire family, and said the love for dinosaurs has extended to the entire family.

“I was afraid that as Coby got older that his love for dinosaurs would fade, but that hasn’t been the case, and now it’s all of our identities,” she said. “Part of it is the realization that what we are doing has the power to make someone’s day better.”

That point was illustrated last November when the Torres family was out of town and the dinosaur exhibit was temporarily taken down. An anonymous note appeared in their mailbox inquiring about whether everyone was okay, and putting in a request to have a birthday dinosaur appear on May 23, the writer’s birthday.

“We had no idea who that person was, but we remembered and on May 23, we had a Happy Birthday dinosaur for the person’s birthday,” Lisa said. “We didn’t even know if he or she would see it, but we had to keep the promise.”

The author, who turned out to be a woman named Rebecca, wrote another note  after seeing the birthday installation.

“I drove past your house and my heart skipped a beat when I saw the birthday dinos in the yard,” she said. “If these we meant for me, you made my birthday so special. Thank you for spreading so much joy and happiness with your dinos.”

Rebecca’s note is not the only positive affirmation the family has received. The pictures they have posted on the Next Door website and the Dunwoody Area Community Forum’s Facebook page have garnered hundred of likes and admiring messages.

“My son and I frequently drive past and always look to see what fun new displays you’ve put up,” one neighbor wrote. “My son is 22 and is on the autism spectrum, and dinosaurs are a huge interest of his and he tries to fully celebrate every holiday, so your displays are a great attention grabber for him! It’s fun to have neighbors who love celebrating and do it in such a way that is so… well… neighborly!”

The Torres family has been so inspired by the encouraging messages they have received that they have decided to take it to a new level by participating in Dunwoody’s Fourth of July parade with as many dinosaurs as they can include.

“We feel incredibly blessed to be alive – together and in this space,” Lisa said.

Cathy Cobbs covers Dunwoody for Reporter Newspapers and Rough Draft Atlanta. She can be reached at