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San Diego Zoo Kids Channel begins broadcasting at Hendrick Children’s Hospital

San Diego Zoo Kids Channel begins broadcasting at Hendrick Children’s Hospital

Recently, young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors from the Abilene Zoo— including a black and white tegu and a three-banded armadillo — at a gathering at Hendrick Health. This special event was held to announce the arrival of San Diego Zoo Kids, a closed-circuit television adventure channel produced primarily for medical facilities that serve pediatric patients and their families.

“We are very pleased to partner with San Diego Zoo Global to provide San Diego Zoo Kids TV to our patients and their families,” said Brad Holland, president and CEO for Hendrick Health. “We know that children in the hospital feel better and heal faster when they turn their attention from the discomfort of their injury or illness, and focus instead on something that engages the mind and stimulates the imagination. That’s why we’re so excited to have been chosen to take part in this virtual adventure with the San Diego Zoo, in partnership, with our own Abilene Zoo.”

The creation and development of the San Diego Zoo Kids channel has been funded by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. In 2017, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded San Diego Zoo Global an outstanding Museums for America grant to bring San Diego Zoo Kids to 75 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald House Charities facilities across the nation over a three-year period. The generous grant from IMLS has made the channel available on television monitors at Hendrick Children’s Hospital and throughout Hendrick Medical Center.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational. The channel also features animal stories from the Abilene Zoo.

“The Abilene Zoo is very proud to team up with San Diego Zoo Kids to deliver educational programming featuring animal care to the kids at Hendrick Children's Hospital," said Chris Gibson, interim director for the Abilene Zoo. "We hope these connections build confidence in patients while connecting them and their families to the animal kingdom."

The San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers up-close video encounters with animals, stories about caring for animals, quizzes about animals and habitats and a wide variety of short video vignettes hosted by San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Schwartz and San Diego Zoo Kids hosts Olivia Degn and Michelle Myers. Viewers can see best-of videos from the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, as well as content from other zoos around the world.

“We continue to be humbled by the healing properties of San Diego Zoo Kids,” said Debra Erickson, director of communications, San Diego Zoo Global. “Parents and caregivers share that the channel, which has no commercials or inappropriate content, not only calms children but makes them happy.”

San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 223 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 39 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia, and in facilities in Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Pakistan, Qatar and Curaçao.