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. Later that year, Pete joined the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism and in 2009 helped co-develop the Florida SEE certification program. Pete has been the owner of Everglades Day Safari since 2016.
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.
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. Why is there a picture of a camel here? Perhaps his name is Marc.
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!
Mark, aka “Bushman Quinn” is a second generation safari guide and has traveled extensively around the world, visiting countries such as Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Costa Rica, Belize, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. Combining his natural humor with a background in animal training and extensive knowledge of wildlife behavior, Mark’s more than thirty years’ experience in the field ensures a memorable adventure.
Mark firmly believes that getting off the streets and into the wild makes us more compassionate people and greater contributors to society.
Julio was born and raised in El Salvador, Central America. Having grown up amidst a violent civil war, he was able to find comfort in nature and the outdoors. He grew up surfing, diving, fishing and learning life lessons from nature.
He obtained a degree in Agricultural Sciences from The Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School of Honduras. He later obtained his B.S. in Animal and Avian Science from The University of Florida in Gainesville. Soon after he relocated to Annapolis, MD where he worked as a Veterinary Technician and then as a Grower for Homestead Gardens Nursery. Being from the tropics, Julio had a hard time adapting to cold weather and so he and his family decided to head back to their homeland of El Salvador to start his own business in Adventure Travel, eco-tourism and hospitality. He and his wife co-founded Akwaterra Adventure Tours, an inbound tour operator that offered adventure and nature tours in El Salvador and Central America. After starting their company, they opened a Surf Boutique Hotel at a famous surf break in El Salvador and a Mountain Lodge within a 400 acre Shade-grown Coffee plantation that sits on Sierra Ilamatepec, one of the most important biological and wildlife corridors in El Salvador, very close to several national parks.
For over 12 years, Julio operated and guided surfing and multi adventure packages designed for international visitors. He also developed and managed leadership, team building, and environmental educational programs designed for schools, church groups, and other corporate organizations. Towards his final years in El Salvador, he also started a paragliding school and tandem flight operation. Additionally, Julio was on the Board of Directors for ESCACAO (El Salvador Cacao Organization). Their mission was to promote the standardization of fine cacao in El Salvador. Julio successfully cultivated his own fine cacao for several years. In 2015 he and his family moved back to the U.S. and after working as a certified boat captain for top-notch hotels in the Boca Raton area, he joined Everglades Day Safari in 2018. Currently he loves to venture out into nature, much like when he was a kid, and showcase the unique beauty and pulsing mystique of the Everglades.
Lia’s journey into the natural world began at Nova Southeastern, where she dedicated herself to unraveling the mysteries of marine life. Her relentless pursuit of knowledge in marine biology has equipped her with a deep understanding of the delicate ecosystems that grace the Florida coast.
Her love for the environment extends to the lush and unique landscape of the Everglades, which she now calls her office. As an Everglades tour guide, Lia has become an expert in the secrets of this vast subtropical wilderness. Her ability to blend scientific insights with captivating storytelling ensures that every tour she leads is an enriching and memorable experience.
Lia’s passion for marine life and the Everglades doesn’t stop at academics. Her ability to share the stories of the diverse flora and fauna of the Everglades is truly a testament to her enthusiasm for the natural world. With her, you’ll discover the magic of this wetland wilderness, from the majestic alligators to the elusive wading birds, and the intricate web of life that calls this place home.
Beyond her role as a guide, Lia is a committed advocate for the preservation of these critical ecosystems. She understands the importance of responsible ecotourism and works tirelessly to instill in her guests a deep appreciation for the environment. Her aim is not just to provide an adventure but to inspire a lifelong connection with nature.
Join Lia on a captivating Everglades tour and allow her to introduce you to the enchanting, wild world of South Florida. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a family seeking adventure, or simply a curious soul, Lia’s expertise and genuine love for the environment will ensure your journey through the Everglades is an unforgettable and educational experience.
Originally from Long Island, New York, Stacy moved to Miami in 2010 to pursue her master’s degree at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science. While completing her degree, Stacy found her love for Miami and the surrounding areas in part due to its ease of access to the nearby Everglades and Big Cypress ecosystems. After visiting the Everglades for the first time she was hooked and took every opportunity to learn more and go back whenever she could.The vastness and constant unknown of what you will encounter on each visit keeps her going back every chance she gets. She loves “how you can go to the same place a million times but each time you have a completely different experience!”
Growing up in New York and having never seen the Everglades, she felt like this giant secret was being kept from her. At first glance the Everglades seem unassuming, but once you understand the intricacies of what you are looking at, your perspective is changed forever. Working as a tour guide with Everglades Day Safari, gives her the privilege of providing the knowledge and experience with guests that she wishes she had been given upon first moving to Florida.
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. Currently he is more often heard and not seen as the reservationist on the other end of the phone – a job well suited for the mild-mannered, people pleasing person that he is.
Captain BobIn 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 DangelIn 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 CaldwellIn 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 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.