THE STORY BEHIND:
SAFARI LTD. AND THEIR TOYS THAT TEACH®
Have you met Bernie? Allow us to introduce him! Bernie is the official alligator mascot of Safari Ltd., proudly featured in their logo, and named for one of the founders of the company. Even if you don’t know Bernie, you’re probably familiar with Safari’s line of lifelike animal figures that are hugely popular with kids - and which are collectibles in their own right.
Let’s take a closer look at this award-winning brand, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2022.
It all started when Bernard and Rosemarie Rubel visited Germany’s Munich Zoo in 1979 and found a card game featuring photos of endangered animals. That game became the inspiration for the plastic figurines which delight children and inspire imaginative play to this day. With a mission to raise awareness of wildlife conservation and founded on the principle of “toys that teach”, Safari Ltd. launched in 1982. Today, the business is run by Bernard and Rosemarie’s grandson, Alexandre, and his wife Christina and is headquartered in Florida.
THE STORY BEHIND THE FIGURES
Safari’s team of sculptors and artists meticulously researches each creature’s anatomy and consults with specialists, like paleontologists and zoologists, to make the models as lifelike and scientifically accurate as possible. Once the model is complete, the figures are manufactured using non-toxic materials free of lead, phthalates and BPAs - all materials are lab tested to meet lead safety requirements and comply with worldwide safety standards. They are then hand-painted, so no two figures are exactly the same, making each one unique.
In addition to dinosaurs and wild animals, Safari also creates figures depicting sea life, reptiles, domestic and farm animals, as well as common tools and human organs, to name a few.
Safari also supports conservation and initiatives to preserve environments and help animals, such as national and state parks, the Nature Conservatory, the Humane Society of Broward County, and others. Other green measures include providing educational info about ecosystems and endangered wildlife; using recycled paper and minimizing the use of paper by maintaining digital files; recycling plastics, cans and paper at their headquarters; and reducing excess packaging.
WHY SAFARI FIGURES ARE SPECIAL
In addition to their impeccable detail and one-of-a-kind hand-painting, Safari’s figures foster “unplugged” play in a world dominated by screens. There are definitely benefits to a child being able to hold the animal in his hands, to turn it over and around, to examine it closely, to see – and feel - all of the details, compared to simply viewing it on a screen. While the figures are not considered core Montessori materials, they do fit into a Montessori core concept: learning with a tangible object. This sort of imaginative activity teaches creativity, coping mechanisms, independence, and problem-solving skills. Safari figures are designed to inspire children to learn about the natural world around them and foster a deeper appreciation for Mother Nature through the joy of play.
Safari Ltd. products are recommended for children 3 years and older.
You can learn more about Bernie the gator’s story here - it’s an entertaining tale that you can read with your kids.
Thinkamajigs offers a curated selection of Safari products to feed your child’s curiosity and spark the imagination, all while expanding their knowledge and skills – click here to see and purchase our range. If you have questions about any of the products we carry, please contact us at 1-800-363-3013 or by clicking here.