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Pete Owner/Guide

Pete was born and raised just west of the Everglades in Venice, Florida. He grew up at the Florida Monkey Sanctuary, a 10-acre, private non-profit organization owned and operated by his parents from 1968-1988.

His experience at the sanctuary involved not only working with hundreds of primates of various species, but also provided the opportunity to become immersed in the natural history of the area, where the sanctuary alone was home to Sandhill Cranes, Wood Storks, Indigo Snakes, River Otters and abundance of other native wildlife. Leaving the subtropics for colder climates, Pete attended the University of Vermont and graduated with a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. He returned to southwestern Florida and guided for the Everglades Day Safari from 1998-2000 before once again trading sandals for snowshoes in Vermont where he worked for six years as a Park Ranger at Lowell Lake State Park in Londonderry, VT.

Pete later worked his way up to become the Director of the environmental education organization, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Manchester, VT, teaching natural history and encouraging environmental conservation to students of all ages. He returned to his native state of Florida in 2007 to once again guide visitors on Everglades excursions and take a more active role in the marketing and operations side of the Everglades Day Safari. As of September 2016, Pete is the owner of Everglades Day Safari.

Rhett Guide
Rhett was born in Honolulu Hawaii, but by the time he was one, his parents moved back to Florida to be closer to family. Rhett was raised on the central-east coast of Florida where he spent his time fishing and searching for wildlife with his father, a professional wildlife photographer. Together they traveled the state photographing everything from manatees to birds and even crocodiles.

Growing up around wildlife it was inevitable he would develop a passion for it. He was particularly driven towards reptiles. Living near the St. Johns River, while other kids were playing sports and video games, Rhett was outside, chasing snakes, turtles, lizards and alligators.

Rhett attended and graduated from the University of Central Florida where he received a BS in Environmental Science. After graduating he worked for Seminole County where he led an outdoor Eco-camp for kids. He was also a zookeeper at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens, where he worked with and handled some of the most dangerous and deadly reptiles on the planet, from venomous
cobras, mambas and taipans to 12 foot crocodiles.During his free time, he maintains a personal collection with some of the most rare and exotic reptiles on earth. If he’s not caring for his reptiles he can be found in the everglades looking for and photographing wildlife or out fishing on the coast.
Erin, Emily & Marc – EDS Guides
Marc Guide

The jovial and enigmatic guide Marc is one of the best tale-tellers of the Everglades. With a deep knowledge of the natural and cultural history of the Everglades and a charming and pleasing disposition, Marc has a renowned record of happy tour guests.

Heidi Guide

Heidi and her family moved to Southwest Florida from Massachusetts when she was in the second grade. Growing up, Heidi spent most of her time outdoors, fishing, hiking, camping, kayaking and catching snakes with friends. During her senior year at Lemon Bay High School, she got an internship at Cedar Point Environmental Park in helping with youth education programs and water quality monitoring in the park.

After high school, Heidi attended Florida Gulf Coast University and has a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Her undergraduate work focused primarily on ecology and environmental education. She participated in the EPA’s P3 competition and her group proposed a sustainable classroom design based on Seminole building techniques and age appropriate curriculum involving the natural sciences.

After graduation Heidi worked in Baltimore City doing hands on conservation work with high school students and most recently spent 5 years working in New England in aquaculture; propagating and harvesting shellfish.

Throughout her life, Heidi has been an educator in many capacities and her hobbies have taken her to some remote places, from camping and kayaking in the Everglades, to sailing trips along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Heidi’s natural curiosity and enthusiasm is sure to make a memorable experience!

Zak Guide

Zak was born in Lima, Peru. He moved with his family to West Palm, Florida at the age of one and by age eight was living on the edge of the Everglades in Loxahatchee. This is when his passion for wildlife began and he developed a love for fresh and saltwater fishing. He spent his youth chasing and capturing snakes and other reptiles in the Everglades. Zak first worked as a landscape architect. He also work in the auto industry before returning to his roots and becoming a Florida naturalist and studying to become a Master Naturalist. Zak brings his love of the Everglades and outdoors to his job and guests appreciate Zak’s talents as a tour guide, praising his enthusiasm and knowledge.

Captain Bob with a baby alligator
Captain Bob In Memoriam

December 12th, 1941-May 5th, 2021

Captain Bob was born in Michigan where he received his B.S in Zoology from Michigan State University and also took post graduate courses in Animal Behavior. Bob was a highly decorated Vietnam Veteran. He worked as a tour guide at the Miami Serpentarium, traversed Colombia, South America on zoological expeditions and owned “Captain Bob’s Animal Kingdom” in Lakeland, FL. He also hosted a weekly Tampa, FL T.V. show featuring wild animals. Bob owned and operated Everglades Day Safari from 1996-2016 and continued to care for his reptiles in retirement. Bob studied the fragile eco-systems of South Florida, Colombia, Costa Rica and most of Southeast Asia for more than 40 years. His knowledge, common sense and humor will be forever missed.

Dr. Manfred Dangel In Memoriam

In 2008 we lost longtime guide and friend, Dr. Manfred Dangel. Anyone lucky enough to have joined him on a safari will understand this enormous loss. With a Phd in Ornithology and years of Everglades guide experience, he was a wealth of natural history knowledge for guests and an incredible mentor to our staff. We miss you Manfred – Rest In Peace.

Norman Caldwell In Memoriam

September 1, 1947-April 12,2015

Norman Caldwell moved to South Florida in 1959 where he developed a love and passion for nature and the Everglades. He transformed this passion from hobby to career, driving airboats and guiding archeological digs, moonlit canoe and school field trips. He loved to fish, was an avid reader, studied the history of Florida and its inhabitants, and was a wealth of information and lore. He was constantly amazed by the Everglades, its beauty and mystery. He spent his last fourteen years as an Everglades Day Safari eco-tour guide and truly loved his work and the land. With his well woven tales of the Everglades, Norman elevated guiding to an art form. We miss you Norman.

Maria Elena
Maria Elena Reservations

Maria Elena Corradino was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. She has a degree in Hospitality and Tourism and acquired experience organizing cultural events, planning tour itineraries, and guiding tours to different areas of Ecuador including the beautiful beaches and wonderful Andes. She had the opportunity of working on a cruise ship in the Galapagos Islands where she attended the front desk and gift shop. She moved to the United States in 2007 and has hiked and explored throughout Florida, learning about its nature and enjoying its beauty. While strengthening her English Language she worked in the Food and Beverage Industry, and Education Field. Maria Elena is fluent in Spanish, English and German. Currently she’s a stay at home mother and part-time reservationist.

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