About Us

Executive Director – Jamie Pastika:

Contact Jamie at : jamie@theradzoo.com

Originally from Virginia, MN, Jamie has spent more than 20 years as a professional animal keeper. He has worked as a reptile and amphibian keeper in some of the premiere zoological institutions in the country including the Jacksonville Zoo, the Sedgwick County Zoo, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He graduated with an AS degree in Zoo Animal Technology from Santa Fe Teaching Zoo, and a BS degree in Zoo Science from Friends University. Jamie has a great interest in photographing reptiles and amphibians in the wild, having observed more than 400 different species, and photographing the majority of those. Jamie was one of the authors of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA) manual on Crocodilian Biology and Captive Management. He has also served as a consultant to improve reptile husbandry techniques for other zoological institutions. Prior to becoming a zookeeper, Jamie served as a Section Sergeant, specializing in military intelligence, as a member of the 20TH Special Forces Group.  He maintains a membership in the Minnesota Herpetological Society.

Director of Sales – Melissa Pastika:

Contact Melissa at: melissa@theradzoo.com

Originally from Yorktown, VA, Melissa has spent more than 17 years as a professional animal keeper. She has worked as an animal keeper in some of the premiere zoological institutions in the country including Busch Gardens, the Jacksonville Zoo, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. She graduated with a BS degree in Biology from Old Dominion University. Melissa has a strong background in animal training and has a great deal of experience in conducting animal presentations.  Melissa and Jamie, along with their daughter, moved to Minnesota from Florida to open the Reptile & Amphibian Discovery Zoo.

Keepers In Training:

Brianna with ChameleonBrianna Pastika

Brianna has spent all of her life around these animals and always wants to help when she can.  She has even done a little field herping of her own (catching toads, anoles, snakes and salamanders).  She loves to talk to people about the animals and will make a great animal presenter one day – look out Bindi Sue, here comes Brianna!!




Kayla w Allie (800x645)Kayla Pastika

Kayla is growing up to be just like her sister.  She loves to help feed the animals at the zoo and likes to catch frogs and little snakes outside with her dad.