Maryland Zoo Making Virtual Visits To Help Out Children’s Hospital Patients – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland Zoo staff has been making some Zoom calls lately to brighten the days of children’s hospital patients.

When 17-year-old Che Penn answered one of the calls on Tuesday afternoon, noisy fluttering African penguins appeared.

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“They’re so cute,” Penn exclaimed.

The teen is a cancer patient at Herman and Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital in Sinai and has had the opportunity to have many different virtual encounters with animals from the zoo.

“I’ve had turtles, I’ve had birds, I’ve only had penguins. I’ve seen a lot of the zoo,” she said.

The hospital has long welcomed animals to the hospital, but when the COVID-19 pandemic started, the virtual encounters were the only way for the patients to see the animals.

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“Every time you’re in a hospital, it’s probably not the best day,” says Kristin VanBuskirk, the Maryland Zoo Education Manager. “So we hope to spark a little joy and put a smile on a kid’s face.”

VanBuskirk said the virtual visits were part of the zoo’s programming before the pandemic began.

“It really makes my day,” Penn said. “Especially on days when I don’t feel like doing anything, I get a little visit and it’s like aw ok.”

For more information, visit: and click the Learn tab to learn about all of the zoo’s virtual programming.

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