San Diego Zoo Kids TV Celebrates 100th Facility Milestone

Broadcasting Begins at Children’s Minnesota and Ronald McDonald House Charities® Upper Midwest

Young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors—including an armadillo, a fennec fox, a chinchilla and a great-horned owl—and a special musical performance by Children’s Minnesota choir, at a gathering at Children’s Minnesota St. Paul today (Aug. 9, 2017). This special event was held to announce the arrival of a closed-circuit television adventure channel, San Diego Zoo Kids, at Children’s Minnesota and Ronald McDonald House Charities® Upper Midwest.

Celebrating its 100th facility milestone at Children’s Minnesota, San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative television channel with programs produced primarily for medical facilities that serve pediatric patients and their families. The creation and development of the channel has been funded by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, a native of St. Paul.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational. The channel is now available on TV monitors in every patient room, as well as in waiting areas at Children’s Minnesota and at Ronald McDonald House Charities Upper Midwest.

“We are thrilled to join together with San Diego Zoo Global, the Minnesota Zoo and Ronald McDonald House Charities Upper Midwest to bring the San Diego Zoo Kids TV channel to our patients, their siblings and their families,” said Roxanne Fernandes, chief nursing officer and vice president, clinical services, at Children’s Minnesota. “This program will provide patients with unique experiences they may not be able to get, due to their health, and spread joy in what may be a scary and uncertain situation. We’re grateful for the opportunity to bring this program to Children’s Minnesota, thanks to our generous sponsors.”

The San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers up-close video encounters with animals, stories about caring for animals, quizzes about animals and their habitats, and a wide variety of short video vignettes. Stories are hosted by San Diego Zoo Kids host Olivia Degn and San Diego Zoo Kids child host (and former patient at MUSC Children’s Health in Charleston, South Carolina) Mia (pronounced My-a) McCullough. Viewers can see video from the San Diego Zoo’s famous Panda Cam and other online cameras, as well as content from other zoos across the country.

“The stories we tell on San Diego Zoo Kids TV 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,” said Douglas G. Myers, president and chief executive officer, San Diego Zoo Global. “We have heard from several doctors, nurses and families that providing these animal stories has been a resource of calm and comfort for their young patients. We are very grateful to Denny Sanford for making this programming available to children’s health facilities.”

The channel also features animal stories from the Minnesota Zoo. “The Minnesota Zoo is always working to serve all Minnesotans, especially children, as they are our future wildlife heroes,” said John Frawley, president and chief executive officer of the Minnesota Zoo. “Partnering with other amazing conservation organizations like the San Diego Zoo helps to make a huge impact.”

San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 107 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 29 states across the U.S., and in facilities in Mexico, Canada, Australia and Pakistan.