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J.N. (Ding) Darling National Wildlife Refuge

One Wildlife Drive, Sanibel Island, FL
239 472 1100
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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Nature/ Wildlife Areas, National Parks, State Parks
Activities: Birdwatching, Viewing wildlife, Kayaking
Description: Established in 1945, this wildlife refuge occupies one-third of Sanibel Island and is a prime spot for birdwatching.
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1,665 reviews from our community

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English first
Haddock, Georgia
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014 NEW

We visited the learning center and my boys had a great time learning about the Florida wildlife. They had a few activities going on and the boys were able to participate in those. We were unable to go on a guided tour, due to time, but we enjoyed spending time in the learning center.

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Bowling Green, OH
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
9 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014 NEW

It kinda cracked me up that people gave this place a low rating because they only saw one alligator. It's a refuge. The animals aren't put out on display. It's chocked full of native plant and wildlife. If you're patient, you can see manatee, alligators, countless birds, fish (jumping, invasive species), horseshoe crab, and so much more. All in one... More

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Atlanta, Georgia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 NEW

A taste of unspoiled Florida. A nice quiet drive. The guided tour on the tram gives lots of information about the flora and fauna of Florida.

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2 reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 NEW

We drove through wildlife drive at about 8:00 one morning and could barely get out of our cars due to the pesky no see-ums. We saw several birds but not much else. The nature center was fun to visit with kids. I would recommend the bailey tract for biking - it is free and we saw alligators, turtles, birds and... More

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Georgetown, Kentucky, United States
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
15 attraction reviews
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2014 NEW

My husband and I visited ding darling while on the island last week. We went by car due to time constraints, but we were able to pace ourselves and appreciate the reserve. We did not see as much as I had hoped we would. Lots of horseshoe crabs, tree crabs, a few varieties of birds etc. Did not get to... More

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Georgia
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
3 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014 NEW

We took the tram tour, led by Lewis, who was a wealth of information about the flora and fauna in the refuge. He didn't just point and say "that's an egret" - he told us about the animals habits, explained its behaviors and how to recognize it. He taught us about spiders, the reproduction of mangrove trees, and the chemical... More

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Pompano Beach, Florida
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014 NEW

We were told to come first thing in the morning, but went when we could. The little area inside was nice. The walking trail was out of commission due to a planned burn. The car trail was nice, but mostly saw birds, frogs, and crabs. Fee was for the drive, I don't think the inside area had a fee.

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St. Louis, Missouri
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
18 attraction reviews
99 helpful votes 99 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014 NEW

Ding Darling is a must visit if you're visiting Sanibel. We visited a few times during our trip and each time brought a variety of wildlife. TIP: Go to the visitor's center before visiting. Get a tide chart for Tarpon Bay and WIldlife Drive. Don't go on Wildlife Drive until LOW TIDE. This is when you will see the most... More

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Apopka, Florida
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
18 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014 NEW

It's my first visit to the Ding Darling NWF, although I have been to Sanibel many times through the years. Several in our group went on the tram tour that is good for a one-time deal, although it's not cheap. It's $15 for adults and $8 for children 3 and older. It should be charged only for kids school-age. To... More

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iowa
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
9 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014

A very nice drive to see the Florida nature of birds, reptiles and lots of vegetation. A very reasonable price to drive through and enjoy with your family.

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