San Diego Zoo Kids Channel Begins Broadcasting at UVA Children’s and Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville

Television Programming Features Wildlife Stories from Virginia Living Museum

Young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a virtual adventure, complete with meeting animal ambassadors from the Virginia Living Museum, at UVA Children’s earlier today (Nov. 6, 2020). This special virtual event was held to announce the arrival of San Diego Zoo Kids, a closed-circuit television adventure channel, at UVA Children’s and Ronald McDonald House of Charlottesville.

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.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational. “UVA Children’s is excited to partner with San Diego Zoo Global to offer our patients and families distraction through virtual adventures,” said Karin Skeen, administrator, UVA Children’s. “We know that healing involves more than innovative treatments and high-complexity care. Through experience with our successful Child Life programs, we have seen that the ability to turn attention away from discomfort related to illness or injury to an engaging distraction is an important part of helping kids to heal more quickly. The San Diego Zoo Kids channel offers just that kind of experience that both children and their families can enjoy.”

 The channel has also been installed at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charlottesville. “Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charlottesville is thrilled to partner with the San Diego Zoo, UVA Children’s and the Virginia Living Museum to provide this fabulous educational program,” said Rita Ralston, executive director. “This collaboration provides our families with a touch of consistency as they move back and forth between the House and the hospital. We could not be happier to be the recipient of such a wonderfully produced program from the world-acclaimed San Diego Zoo. Our families thank you!”

 The channel offers up-close video encounters with animals and stories about caring for animals—including stories from the Virginia Living Museum. “The Virginia Living Museum is excited to share our native animals with children who are unable to visit,” said Rebecca Kleinhample, executive director, Virginia Living Museum. “We are proud partners with San Diego Zoo Global, UVA Children’s and Ronald McDonald House Charities. When we share the natural wonders of our state and region, we connect our young people to the biodiversity of their local environment. This fun collaboration highlights how working together brings joy, inspiration and respect for all animals, both near and far.”

 In addition to wildlife stories, the San Diego Zoo Kids channel also offers quizzes about animals and habitats, and a wide variety of short video vignettes. Viewers can see best-of videos from the San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Cam and other online cameras, as well as content from other zoos around the world. Children also learn how they can help protect the planet.

“We continue to be humbled by the tremendous, positive responses we receive about the San Diego Zoo Kids channel,” said Lisa Peterson, director, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.  “The stories we share on the channel not only provide wholesome entertainment to children and their families during what can be a stressful time, but hopefully inspire them to appreciate wildlife and their natural habitats.”

Today’s virtual launch event can be viewed on the San Diego Zoo Kids Facebook page.

The San Diego Zoo Kids channel debuted in 2013 at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. Since then, it has been installed in 355 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 48 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia, and in facilities in 13 countries, including Australia, Curacao, Canada, India, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Pakistan, Qatar and the United Kingdom.

About UVA Children’s
UVA Children’s provides primary and specialty care in more than 30 specialties throughout Virginia. Located within UVA Medical Center, UVA Children’s includes 116 beds, a dedicated pediatric emergency department, a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for infants, a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Acute Care for children younger than 18. The Children’s Hospital Ambulatory Clinics at the Battle Building, which opened in 2014, provide integrated outpatient care for Children throughout Virginia.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charlottesville
RMHC of Charlottesville is currently in its 40th year of service to out-of-town families with children receiving care at UVA Children’s Hospital. Located just two blocks from the hospital, the House provides lodging, meals and encouragement for 19 families each night. A friendly and compassionate staff strives to provide a home away from home for families, so they can concentrate on the heath of their children. The House offers several comfortable common areas for eating and relaxing, a play area for the children, a laundry room, whole-House Wi-Fi, a library and many other amenities. Numerous community volunteers lend their caring hearts and helping hands to provide meals at the House, a Love Sandwich Friday Lunch program and Hospitality Cart program at the hospital, administrative support for staff and an abundance of energy for fundraising events.

About Virginia Living Museum
The Virginia Living Museum is an indoor/outdoor animal attraction and dinosaur destination located in Newport News, Virginia that has many living exhibits of Virginia’s indigenous species. The exhibits include aspects of an aquarium, science center, aviary, botanical preserve and planetarium. Animal exhibits depict Virginia’s natural heritage from the mountains to the sea. Enjoy discovery centers, interactives and a planetarium. Virginia’s living resources encourage understanding of our natural world. Relive the age of the Dinosaur in the outdoor Dinosaur Discovery Trail with 16 lifelike dinosaurs and more! Visitors can see red wolf, shark, bobcats, bald eagles, river otters, alligator and experience more animals in a three-hour tour, then one would experience in a lifetime of living in Virginia. The Virginia Living Museum is very alive, connecting visitors to educational experiences that promote conservation in indoor and outdoor habitats. The Virginia Living Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, I-64, exit 258A. For more information, visit or call 757-595-1900. You can also find the Museum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

San Diego Zoo Kids
San Diego Zoo Kids reaches out to millions of children each year who might not otherwise be able to experience the wonders of animals, plants and their habitats, with the goal of making nature accessible to children everywhere. As part of San Diego Zoo Global, an international nonprofit conservation organization that works to save plants and animals worldwide, San Diego Zoo Kids seeks to raise awareness, build respect and ignite a passion for wildlife and conservation among younger audiences. The San Diego Zoo Kids website ( provides a learning experience about animals, habitats and conservation for children anywhere. San Diego Zoo Kids provides free and discounted education programs in San Diego that meet LEAD standards for science curriculum and provides teacher training ( The San Diego Zoo Kids channel ( broadcasts television programming in more than 355 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses around the world, providing joy, comfort, laughter and learning to children and their families who are experiencing challenging times. To learn more, visit the links above or connect with us on Facebook and YouTube.