The Institute of Museum and Library Services Provides San Diego Zoo Kids TV to 75 U.S. Children’s Hospitals and Ronald McDonald House Charities

Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities® of South Louisiana Are First Recipients of this Gift

The Institute of Museum and Library Services recently 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 across the nation over the next three years. San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative television channel with family-friendly, animal-oriented programming produced primarily for medical facilities that serve pediatric patients and their families.

As part of this grant, San Diego Zoo Global is collaborating with U.S. zoos and aquariums to inspire children and families in their local area. The first IMLS-funded San Diego Zoo Kids TV launch took place earlier today (Nov. 6) at Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, where young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors—including a serval, a hawk, a bunny, and a ferret— from Audubon Nature Institute.

The creation and development of San Diego Zoo Kids TV has been funded by businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford. The generous grant from IMLS has made the channel available on TV monitors in every patient room, as well as in the waiting area at Children’s Hospital and in the children’s play area at Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana.

“Children’s Hospital is proud to partner with Audubon Nature Institute, Ronald McDonald House Charities and the San Diego Zoo to offer fun, entertaining and educational programming for our patients,” said Greg Feirn, chief executive officer of LCMC Health. “Through our long-standing Pet Therapy and Zoo/Bug Mobile Visitation programs, we have seen firsthand how interaction between an animal and a child in the hospital can foster healing. Having the San Diego Zoo Kids Channel at Children’s Hospital helps our patients learn more about different and endangered animal species, and is a welcome distraction for the kids and their families during their hospital stay.”

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. 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 and IMLS for making this programming available to children’s health facilities.”

The channel also features animal stories from Audubon Nature Institute. “We are proud to partner with San Diego Zoo to share our passion for animal care, education and conservation with families at Children’s Hospital,” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “We believe this collaboration to showcase the wonders of nature will inspire and bring smiles to young patients and families spending time in the hospital.”

The service is also making its debut at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana. “We are so thankful for the San Diego Zoo Kids Channel. The programming is fun and a great introduction to animals our kids may not get to see otherwise,” said Corey Staehle, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana. “It fits perfectly with our vision of providing a comfortable environment where families can be together and put aside the difficult situations they are facing, if even for a few minutes.”

San Diego Zoo Kids debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 117 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 30 states across the U.S., and the District of Columbia, and in facilities in Mexico, Canada, Australia and Pakistan.

About Children’s Hospital of New Orleans
Since its opening in 1955, Children’s Hospital has continually offered the most advanced pediatric care. With more than 40 specialties, 247 beds and nearly 400 physicians, it is the only full-service hospital exclusively for children in Louisiana and the Gulf South. Visit to learn more. 

About Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana
Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Louisiana provides housing, meals, transportation, and support in a comforting home environment to families of pediatric patients who have traveled to the New Orleans area for their child’s treatment. Families from across Louisiana, the Gulf Coast — and all over the country and the world — are sent to New Orleans-area health care providers when their children are seriously ill or injured. Finding themselves so far from home, families often have no place to stay and have limited resources to care for their families. RMHC serves to help with the things that are part of everyday living back home but could be insurmountable burdens while caring for a seriously ill child in a strange town. Where to stay, where to eat, how to get around an unfamiliar city, where to do laundry, and where to find people who can offer support.  These are the things RMHC provides for our families. Whether a child comes to New Orleans overnight for one doctor’s visit or is being treated for a year or more, RMHC-SLA strives to have a place for them and their caretakers.

About Audubon Nature Institute
Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.

About The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums and related organizations. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.

 IMLS Community Anchors Program
IMLS promotes the role of museums as essential partners in addressing the needs of their communities by leveraging their expertise, knowledge, physical space, technology, and other resources to identify and implement solutions. By strengthening museums’ capacities for civic engagement, these projects contribute to the creation of livable, sustainable communities. IMLS welcomes applications for projects that empower museums to transform their roles in their communities from being community resources to being community catalysts. Museums have a role to play providing civic and cultural engagement, facilitating lifelong learning, promoting digital inclusion, and supporting economic vitality through programming and services. We encourage projects that demonstrate collaboration, adopt co-creating strategies, and engage with a wide variety of cross-sector stakeholders to accomplish a sustained collective impact goal.

About San Diego Zoo Global
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.