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Zoos collaborate to bring animal kingdom to Phoenix Children’s Hospital

(Phoenix Children's Hospital Photo)

PHOENIX — What kid doesn’t like going to the zoo?

Patients at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital will now be able to tune into their favorite animals with the click of a button thanks to a new collaboration with the Phoenix and San Diego zoos.

Phoenix Children’s held an event Tuesday to signify the arrival of San Diego Zoo Kids, a closed-circuit television channel that provides family friendly, animal-oriented programming. Kids were treated to a visit with a variety of live animals at the event, including a prairie dog, kinkajou, giant Flemish rabbit and an armadillo.

“Phoenix Children’s is excited to introduce this new channel to our patients and families,” said Julie Bowman, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer. “The patients can now enjoy a zoo experience without leaving campus. This is more than just entertainment. This channel provides the patients the opportunity to gain knowledge and develop curiosity – helping their minds to heal while their bodies do the same.”

Funded through a donation from businessman T. Denny Sanford, the channel will now be available on TV monitors in each patient’s room at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The program debuted at San Diego’s Rady Children’s Hospital in 2013, and has since been installed in 79 children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses across the country.

The channel features up-close video encounters with animals and is hosted by San Diego Zoo Global ambassador Rick Shwartz. Wildlife stories from the Phoenix Zoo will also be included.

“San Diego Zoo Kids has the ability to bring the zoo to young patients who don’t have the opportunity to visit,” said Douglas G. Myers, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Global. “The stories we tell through this channel 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.”

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