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San Diego Zoo Kids TV Begins Broadcasting at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk

Elizabeth Earley - (757) 477-7268 or Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org
2019-06-28

Featuring Amazing Animal Stories from the Virginia Zoo

Young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors—including a Flemish giant rabbit, a hedgehog and a Harris’s hawk from the Virginia Zoo—at a gathering at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters earlier today (June 28, 2019). This special event was held to announce the arrival of San Diego Zoo Kids, a closed-circuit television adventure channel, at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk.

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 Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational. “We know that children in the hospital benefit tremendously when they turn their attention from their injury or illness and focus instead on something that engages the mind and stimulates the imagination,” said Jim Dahling, CEO and president of Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia. “This adventure with the San Diego Zoo provides exactly that opportunity to virtually transport them outside of their hospital experience. We are grateful to the San Diego Zoo for collaborating with our own Virginia Zoo and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk on this project.”

The service is also making its debut at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk. "When you have a sick child, trying to maintain a sense of normalcy is important to families,” said Elyse Brown, executive director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk. “Having access to the San Diego Zoo channel provides a fun, entertaining and educational option for families to sit and unwind after a hard day at the hospital. We appreciate the partnership!"

The channel also features animal stories from the Virginia Zoo. “The Virginia Zoo is thrilled to partner with San Diego Zoo Global and the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters to deliver heartwarming and educational animal stories to children who are unable to visit the Zoo,” said Greg Bockheim, executive director of the Virginia Zoo. “Sharing these special stories with children, their families and caregivers while they are in the hospital furthers to strengthen the bonds between humans and our animal friends, lifting our spirits and affection for all living things.”

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 Elephant 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, 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 248 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 42 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia, and in facilities in Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Pakistan, Qatar, Curaçao and South Africa.

DOWNLOAD VIDEO & PHOTOS:  https://sandiegozoo.box.com/s/btgckht0ze1q6w2ezqg6rymup3hr93fr

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About Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters (CHKD)

CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers and satellite offices throughout its service region.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk

Our Mission: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk helps families stay together, and close to the care they need, when they have a sick child.

Our house has served 21,046 families since we opened in December of 1981. We provide each family with a private bedroom/bathroom, living areas, and playroom, kitchen and laundry facilities. Ronald McDonald House Charities® is a non-profit organization supported by contributions from our community. Local McDonald’s restaurants help support the house through canister donations and special events. A small professional staff manages the house with volunteer support. Several national corporations provide in-kind donations including food, paper products, milk, laundry services and beverages.

About Virginia Zoo

The Virginia Zoo, located in Norfolk, Virginia, is home to more than 700 exceptional animals representing over 100 fascinating species. Founded in 1901 and residing on 53 beautifully landscaped acres, the Virginia Zoo has demonstrated a commitment to saving and protecting the world’s wildlife by inspiring a passion for nature and taking conservation action at home and around the world. The Virginia Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is recognized as a global leader in education, recreation, science, wildlife conservation, and animal care and welfare. For more than a century, the Zoo has connected adults, families and school children with the natural world and its wildlife. To learn more, visit virginiazoo.org.

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. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS grant making, policy development and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive.

About 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. IMLS encourages 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.

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 fight extinction by raising awareness, building respect and igniting a passion for wildlife and conservation among younger audiences. The San Diego Zoo Kids website ( kids.sandiegozoo.org) 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 (kids.sandiegozoo.org/grownups). The San Diego Zoo Kids channel ( sandiegozoo.org/kidsnetwork) broadcasts television programming in more than 240 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.

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Link includes:

  • B-roll of media conference announcing launch of the San Diego Zoo Kids channel at the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and Ronald McDonald House Charities Norfolk
  • B-roll of Virginia Zoo animal encounters with patients
  • Interview with Jim Dahling, CEO and president of the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters
  • Interview with Elyse Brown, executive director, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk
  • Interview with Greg Bockheim, executive director of the Virginia Zoo
  • Photo with embedded caption.

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Media Contacts:

Elizabeth Earley - CHKD
Cell Phone: (757) 477-7286
Email: elizabeth.earley@chkd.org

San Diego Zoo Global - Public Relations
Office Phone: (619) 685-3291 
Email: publicrelations@sandiegozoo.org

Elyse Brown - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Norfolk
Cell Phone: (757) 235-5538
Email: ebrown@rmhcnorfolk.org

Ashley Mars - Virginia Zoo
Cell Phone: (330) 257-1138
Email: ashley.mars@norfolk.gov

News Releases_San Diego Zoo