Rainbow Babies, Cleveland zoo join nationwide program aimed at connecting children to animals

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CLEVELAND — Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and the Ronald McDonald House are joining San Diego Zoo Global, a special closed circuit TV network, to bring wild animals to the small screen.

Since children in the hospital can’t get to the zoo, Rainbow is joining dozens of other hospitals around the world in an effort to bring the zoo right into patients’ rooms.

San Diego Zoo Global creates educational programs about animals and their care.

According to officials, seeing sick animals really can make a difference for sick children.

“There’s a deep, broad smile and real connection that supports healing and we’re thrilled to be able to provide that to children while they’re critically ill to provide a nurturing home,” Chief of Pediatrics at Rainbow Dr. Marlene Miller said.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will help provide programming by producing four episodes for the channel.

That connection is intended to help give children courage and hope that they’ll soon get better to go see the animals themselves.

“Our content will not only air here in Cleveland but at the other partnership locations worldwide. It’s a good opportunity to talk about Cleveland, but what we’re really hoping  is to make that connection with kids and animals,” Metroparks Zoo Executive Director Chris Kuhar said.

The programming is already being streamed at the hospital and at the Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland.

It features shows, quizzes and other ways for children to learn about the critters they see on screen.

The Metroparks says the episodes they’re producing feature animals getting check-ups and being treated for minor illnesses as a way to show children that animals need doctors too.


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