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J.N. (Ding) Darling National Wildlife Refuge

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Address: One Wildlife Drive, Sanibel Island, FL 33957
Phone Number: +1 239-472-1100
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Activities: Birdwatching, Viewing wildlife, Kayaking
Description: Established in 1945, this wildlife refuge occupies one-third of Sanibel...
Established in 1945, this wildlife refuge occupies one-third of Sanibel Island and is a prime spot for birdwatching. Fees are required for Wildlife Drive. Wildlife Drive is closed on Fridays. There's an extensive and informative FREE visitor center, a fantastic wildlife drive, tram tours, kayaking, fishing opportunities, picnic benches, and even a free scavenger hunt style game and wildlife spotting app (Discover Ding) if you prefer a self-guided tour.
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Well worth a visit!

After gathering information at the visitor's centre where the staff were very helpful, we set off on our tour of the refuge. There was lots of wildlife, but the highlight was... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed August 31, 2015
Liam B
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2,702 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2015 NEW

After gathering information at the visitor's centre where the staff were very helpful, we set off on our tour of the refuge. There was lots of wildlife, but the highlight was definitely watching the ospreys hunt for fish! Definitely recommend paying the small fee to get out here, and it's also a good trip if you are into geocaching like... More 

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Ventura, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2015 NEW

a really nice experience. newly paved roadway. great views for photographers. wildlife abundant! Definitely will visit again.

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Demotte, Indiana
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2015 NEW

quiet, wildlife everywhere...friendly, touch tank, bikes, boat rental, check for times before you go and CALL...rentals fill up fast

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Level Contributor
92 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2015 NEW

There is a visitors center & a pleasant nature drive you can do independently, as well as a tram tour, lead by a naturalist. We saw so many varieties of birds (never knew there were this many variations on a heron)..the fish jump (we think they are mackerels) quite dramatically, which is fun for kids. If you go out to... More 

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Louisville, KY
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70 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2015 NEW

The drive is well worth the $5 fee. At the first stop we saw a manatee swimming by. There were also cormorants and roseate spoonbills at a small lake. Short hikes are marked from the road.

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Palm Coast, Florida, United States
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29 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2015 NEW

Drive your own car, take a hike or ride the tour tram. The tour was very informative and enjoyable. If you like to see birdlife, alligators and how Florida looked before we spoiled it, this is a good place to go.

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Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
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12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2015 NEW

We rented scooters for the day to tour the island and took a beautiful scenic trip through the park. We saw alligators, birds, and even a snake! It was a fun part of our day and we look forward to doing it again the next time we visit Sanibel.

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Level Contributor
40 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2015 NEW

Sunset at The Ding Darling refuge .. great views and well worth a visit, even for teens. good to get out

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Chestertown, Maryland
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18 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2015 NEW

The Ding Darling refuge is a big part of the island both in the amount of land and also as a great place to see a large amount of bird and other animal life in it's natural setting. On our first trip we took the guided trolley through the park and would highly recommend this for any first timer. The... More 

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des moines
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16 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2015 NEW

If you have seen a river or small spill way you have seen Ding Darling. I am happy they are preserving birds natural habitat but Sanibel is good at preserving nature all over the island. You will see the same birds while on the beach.

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Questions & Answers

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Paisley, Florida
3 months ago
North Shore of MA
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
4 months ago
Madison, Wisconsin
7 months ago

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?