NEWS | January 10, 2019

San Diego Zoo Kids TV begins broadcasting at UC Davis Children's Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern California


Young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors — including a hedgehog, a great horned owl, and a blue and gold macaw from the Sacramento Zoo — at a gathering at UC Davis Children’s Hospital today. This special event was held to announce the arrival of San Diego Zoo Kids, a closed-circuit television adventure channel, at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern California.

Photo of patient with armadillo
One patient meets the Sacramento Zoo's armadillo.

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. 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 the next three years. The generous grant from IMLS has made the channel available on TV monitors at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern California.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family-friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational.

“UC Davis Children’s Hospital is proud to partner with the San Diego Zoo to provide entertaining and educational programming about animals for our pediatric patients during their hospitalization,” said Judie Boehmer, executive director of patient care services at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. “San Diego Zoo Kids TV gives kids a chance to escape the confines of their illness or injury, and experience a virtual animal adventure.”

The channel also features animal stories from the Sacramento Zoo.

“The Sacramento Zoo is very excited to be partnering with San Diego Zoo Kids to bring fun and unique stories about animals to children who might not be able to visit the zoo due to illness or injury,” said Jason Jacobs, executive director of the Sacramento Zoo. “We hope that this collaboration showcasing the amazing world of animals will bring smiles to the young patients during their time in the hospital.”

Watch the video.

“The San Diego Zoo Kids channel is a wonderful and generous gift to the Sacramento Ronald McDonald House. For the children and families staying at the House, it provides a much-needed respite from the hospital,” said Stacey Hodge, senior director of community relations at the Sacramento Ronald McDonald House. “We are excited our families can take a much-needed break and connect with the animals of the San Diego Zoo.”

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’s famous Panda Cam and other online cameras, as well as content from other zoos across the world.

“We continue to be humbled by the healing properties of San Diego Zoo Kids,” said Debra Erickson, director of communications at 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 198 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 38 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia, and in facilities in Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Qatar and Curaçao.