Zoos Bring Animal Kingdom to Children In Need

Young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a special visit by animals from Waco’s Cameron Park Zoo earlier this morning at McLane Children’s Hospital. The event announced a new collaboration between San Diego Zoo Global, Cameron Park Zoo, McLane Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Temple to bring the first installation of San Diego Zoo Kids to Texas.

Funded through a generous gift by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative closed-circuit television broadcast channel that provides family-friendly, animal-oriented programming that is entertaining and educational. The channel is available on TV monitors in every patient room, as well as in waiting areas at McLane Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Temple.

“We are very excited to team up with San Diego Zoo Global to provide San Diego Zoo Kids to our patients and their families,” stated Dr. John Boyd, president and chief medical officer, McLane Children’s Hospital. “Putting smiles on our patients’ faces always warms our hearts. These entertaining and educational animal stories can be a welcome distraction for our young patients who may be dealing with serious health challenges. We want to thank Denny Sanford for making this programming available and recognize our local partner, the Cameron Park Zoo, for their support in providing animals for today’s announcement.”

San Diego Zoo Kids offers up-close video encounters with animals, including a wide variety of short video vignettes hosted by the San Diego Zoo’s national spokesperson, Rick Schwartz. Viewers can observe the San Diego Zoo’s famous Panda Cam and the other online cameras as well as content from other zoos and aquariums across the country.

“San Diego Zoo Kids has the ability to bring the zoo to young patients who don’t have the opportunity to visit,” said Doug Myers, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Global. “The stories we tell through this channel not only entertain children and their families during what can be a stressful time, but hopefully inspire a new generation to appreciate wildlife and their natural habitats.”

The channel will also feature animal stories from Cameron Park Zoo. “We are so pleased to be a part of this collaboration,” said Jim Fleshman, Director, Cameron Park Zoo. “Connecting people with animals and nature is what we are all about; we hope this programming can bring smiles to the faces of the children who are dealing with health challenges.”

San Diego Zoo Kids is also making its debut at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Temple. “We are proud to offer San Diego Zoo Kids in our Ronald McDonald House,” said Susan Bolton, executive director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Temple. “This wildlife programming provides a wonderful activity that both children and their families can enjoy, making their stay in our ‘home away from home’ more positive, during what can be a difficult time.”

San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 54 other children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 17 states and two countries.