St. Louis, Missouri - Young patients, their families and invited guests were treated to a visit with some amazing animal ambassadors—including chinchillas, a screech owl and a domestic rabbit from the Saint Louis Zoo’s Emerson Children’s Zoo—at a gathering at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital earlier today (July 26, 2018). This special event served to announce the arrival of a closed-circuit television adventure channel, San Diego Zoo Kids, at Ranken Jordan.

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 generous gift from The Tilles Foundation has made the channel available on shared-space television monitors at Ranken Jordan.

San Diego Zoo Kids’ programming offers family friendly, animal-oriented stories that are both entertaining and educational. “The introduction of San Diego Zoo Kids to Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital demonstrates the value of partnerships with kid-friendly organizations,” said Ranken Jordan Interim President and CEO Brett Moorehouse. “Because of our Care Beyond the Bedside health care model, we truly understand and appreciate the positive impact animals and animal stories can have on children, and how that can improve patient care.” Moorehouse explained that the hospital’s health care philosophy encourages young patients to be out of their rooms as much as possible, learning and engaging with others. “We air San Diego Zoo Kids in our shared spaces, giving our patients a fun and educational TV program to watch together. This allows them to connect with the animals and each other,” said Moorehouse. “We are very grateful for Ranken Jordan’s inclusion in this wonderful program.”

The channel also features animal stories from the Saint Louis Zoo. “We are so pleased to be a part of this partnership,” said Michael Macek, chief operating officer of the Saint Louis Zoo. “Connecting people with animals and nature is what we are all about; we hope this programming can bring smiles to the faces of the children who are dealing with health challenges.”

 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 host Oliva Degn. 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.

  “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 154 children's hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses in 34 states across the U.S. and the District of Columbia, and in facilities in Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Qatar and Curacao.

About Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital: Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital helps kids and families transition from the acute care hospital to home. Advances in medicine are saving more children's lives; however, many of these children have medically complex conditions, which require comprehensive medical care and rehabilitation. An innovative Care Beyond the Bedside approach ensures that the children Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital treats are up and out of their beds every day, accelerating their progress toward a successful transition home.

About the Saint Louis Zoo: Chosen as America’s top free attraction and best zoo in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, the Saint Louis Zoo is widely recognized for its innovative approaches to animal care and management, wildlife conservation, research and education. One of the few free zoos in the nation, the Zoo attracts more than 3 million visitors a year.