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Origin story of Bernie The Gator

Bernie The Gator

Bernie is the face and spirit of Safari Ltd.

He is named after our founding father and he embodies the spirit of nature conservation by creating Toys That Teach®

Bernie is no ordinary alligator and he’s certainly no run-of-the-mill spokesgator. In fact, his journey is one that spans the globe and inspires kids across this big, beautiful planet to love and learn about nature, wildlife and even their own imaginations.

The year was 1921, and, magically, the forces of nature, which are often too mysterious for us humans to understand, brought Bernie to life in the countryside of Germany. Though this is not normally a favorable habitat for swamp-loving gators, Bernie thrived here as he grew up, and so did his curious spirit.

Bernie knew right off that he wasn’t going to spend his days just sunning himself on the toasty rocks. He was going to be a great explorer and adventurer. So, he hopped on a freighter and sailed off for America, where he landed on the bustling streets of New York City. Well, Bernie quickly learned that the big city was no place for a gator. His armored skin just didn’t seem to fit in with the fashionable folks roaming up and down Fifth Avenue. Besides, Bernie longed to experience the swampy wetlands he’d read about in books – a place filled with so many gators, it was actually called the “Home of the Alligator”.

Bernie The Gator from Safari Ltd.

So, Bernie set off for the famed South Florida Everglades.

Well, the moment he slipped into those warm, swampy waters, he knew he was home. Being the gregarious gator he was, Bernie quickly made friends with the local gators who welcomed him with open (though rather stumpy) arms. Yes, indeed, life was good in Florida. But Bernie learned it wasn’t always that way. He listened as the other gators told him stories of the days their families were hunted to the brink of extinction. However, he also heard tales of the brave and caring humans who created laws to protect the gators and the fragile wetlands they called home.

Bernie learned this great justice was called “conservation”, and he immediately knew he had found his calling. He was determined to spread the word about conservation and help protect other wild creatures all over the world. Coincidentally, it was at about this same time that Bernie also discovered another great concept – LOVE!

He fell head over heels for a brilliant and beautiful alligator named Rosemarie, who shared his zest for adventure and his appreciation for the natural world. Together, they would travel the globe to discover new creatures, new wonders and make new friends throughout the animal kingdom. They also happened to build a loving family of adorable baby gators along the way, who, as you might expect, inherited the curious spirit of their parents.

These epic travels, their loving family, and their dedication to preserving the planet and its creatures are how Safari Ltd® was born. Being proud parents, Bernie and Rosemarie realized that the most important people to join the conservation movement are kids. Because they’re the ones who’ll grow up to save the planet as adults!

Bernie The Gator at Safari Ltd.

So, they began handcrafting the Toys that Teach® for which Safari is so well known today. Things started small, but the dream grew! Now, kids all over the world use Safari Ltd® Toys to learn about conservation, wildlife, sea creatures, and even mythical and magical beasts. The legacy of Bernie and Rosemarie lives on, teaching generation after generation.

The story of Safari, like every great success story, began with a curious mind, a caring heart, and a commitment to making a difference.