The wonderful world of San Diego Zoo comes to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital

We have introduced an exciting new digital installation on Mars Ward at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in partnership with San Diego Zoo Global. San Diego Zoo Kids is an innovative television adventure channel providing educational, entertaining and family friendly animal-oriented stories direct from San Diego Zoo in California.

This new commission means that children and their families waiting for appointments on Mars Ward can virtually experience the world of animals, zoos and aquariums with commentary from San Diego Zoo Animal Ambassador, Rich Schwartz. Originally developed for paediatric departments in various hospitals across the United States, the programme has proved so successful that they are now branching out internationally, with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital being the first hospital in Europe to display the channel.

Trystan Hawkins, CW+ Director of Patient Environment commented, “We are delighted to be the first hospital in Europe streaming this innovative channel direct to our patients at Chelsea and Westminster. We know from our research how digital pieces such as the San Diego Zoo Kids stream can provide a positive distraction for children waiting for appointments, who are often anxious or distressed.”

Specifically programmed by San Diego Zoo Global, the channel features fascinating footage from live animal cameras as well as keeper and scientist interviews about the animals at the Zoo, Safari Park and Institute for Conservation Research. Broadcast 24 hours a day, the channel currently features over 40 hours of content which will give children and their families a wonderful distraction during waiting times for their appointments.

“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 not only calms children but makes them happy. We are so pleased to be able to bring the channel’s healing powers to the children of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, San Diego Zoo Kids’ first installation in Europe.”

Charley Tomlinson, Mars Ward Manager says the channel has been positively received by children and parents alike: “Since the channel was installed a few weeks ago, it has been of great benefit in entertaining the children while they wait. They love to watch the animals and often when you walk past the waiting area you can see they are completely focused on the screen – parents too! To have this distraction in place really helps to take their mind off any anxiety this may have before their dressing change, even if only for a short period, which in turn helps the whole family feel at ease.”

Following the success of the San Diego Zoo Kids installation on Mars Ward, we plan to continue installing more channels around Chelsea and Westminster and West Middlesex University Hospitals. The San Diego Zoo Kids installation forms part of our wider Arts in Health programme, which combines digital, visual and performing arts with innovative design – transforming the hospital experience and environment for patients, their families and the staff who care for them. Learn more and watch a short film about the programme here.