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Zoo News

Zoo News

Dallas Zoo, Children’s Medical Center join to entertain, educate patients
Jul 17, 2014

New program includes animal encounters,
in-hospital visits, free tickets for families

The Dallas Zoo and Children’s Medical Center have developed a new opportunity to work together which will bring live animal presentations, educational programming and zoo outings to patients and families at the nation’s seventh-largest pediatric hospital.

The Simmons Animal Safari program begins Thursday, July 17, when the zoo begins frequent animal presentations at the hospital. The first animals to make appearances will include a serval (African wildcat), tamandua (anteater) and a penguin. The visits will be presented in the hospital’s atrium lobby and also filmed and broadcast to patient rooms via the Red Balloon Network from the hospital’s Seacrest Studios.

The zoo also is giving the hospital 300 tickets for patients and families, providing a much-needed diversion for families whose children are dealing with illness or injury. A planned expansion will have the Dallas Zoo’s staff creating educational and entertaining video programming to air on the hospital’s Red Balloon Network, as well as excursions to the zoo for families.

“Bringing smiles to children’s faces is what we do every day at the zoo,” said Gregg Hudson, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Zoo. “To be able to bring that happiness to an outstanding hospital where sick children are undergoing treatment makes our educational mission much more worthwhile.”

The program, initiated by the Harold Simmons Foundation, is a pairing of two iconic Dallas institutions. Texas’s oldest and largest zoo has been a part of the community for 126 years, and Children’s recently celebrated its 100th anniversary. Children’s is one of the finest pediatric facilities in the United States, consistently ranked as a top pediatric health-care provider. The Dallas Zoo is experiencing record attendance and recently was named to USA Today’s Top 10 Zoos in the U.S.


Media is invited to attend the program kickoff and animal presentation on Thursday, July 17. Media: Please valet park at the hospital’s main entrance. A media relations representative from Children’s will meet you by the front door and escort you.



What: The Dallas Zoo’s Animal Adventures team brings outreach animals to patients to provide fun and informative wildlife presentations for hospitalized patients and their families.

When: Thursday, July 17, 2:15 p.m.

Where: Children’s Medical Center, 1935 Medical District Dr., Dallas, TX 75235

Visuals: Patients interacting with Dallas Zoo staff as they explain the unique characteristics of a tamandua (anteater), penguin and serval (African cat).


About the Dallas Zoo: The Dallas Zoo, recently named one of the nation’s Top 10 Zoos by USA TODAY, is the largest zoological experience in Texas. Accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums, the zoo features a 106-acre park, thousands of animals, and an education department that offers programs for all ages. The zoo is located at 650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway (I-35 at Marsalis) and is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit or call 469.554.7500.


About Children’s Medical Center: Founded in 1913, the not-for-profit Children’s Medical Center is the seventh-largest pediatric health care provider in the country, receiving more than 760,000 patient visits annually at its two full-service campuses in Dallas and Plano, and multiple specialty clinics and 16 primary care MyChildren’s locations. Children’s was the state’s first pediatric hospital to achieve Level 1 Trauma status and is the primary pediatric facility affiliated with UT Southwestern Medical Center. For more than 100 years, Children’s has been dedicated to making life better for children. For more information, please visit