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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
Website
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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  • 1629
    Excellent
  • 637
    Very good
  • 200
    Average
  • 65
    Poor
  • 27
    Terrible
Nice tour

We arrived at the end of the day and were fortunate to be on the last tour. The refuge was very empty because it was a weekday before the 4th of July crowds. The tour was very... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed July 6, 2015
Saltycow
,
Lutz, Florida
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Lutz, Florida
Level Contributor
83 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2015 NEW

We arrived at the end of the day and were fortunate to be on the last tour. The refuge was very empty because it was a weekday before the 4th of July crowds. The tour was very informative and the guide was friendly and knowledgeable. One of our group has mobility problems but doesn't need a wheelchair- it was difficult... More 

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Dawson Springs,ky, United States
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2015 NEW

I have visited the refuge over the past 3 years , its an interesting spot for adults and children alike. Wildlife that we had the opportunity to see consist of mostly birds, we have never saw an alligator or manatee out there.

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Fort Myers, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2015 NEW

We have been time-sharing on Sanibel/Captiva Islands for 30 years and when visitors accompany us .. a drive through through Ding Darling is a MUST! twilight is the best to view many species of birds returning for the evening .. But any time brings awesome views, etc. a stop at the visitor center is well worth your time!

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Bloomington, Illinois
Level Contributor
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2015 NEW

Love taking the drive through the refuge in February and seeing all the birds wintering there. Great photo opportunities!

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Columbia, Missouri
Level Contributor
23 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2015 NEW

The 4-5 mile one-way road through the refuge used to be gravel, but now it's paved and thus more accessible for bikers. There is a $5 fee for cars with unlimited entries within the same day. The road meanders through the mangroves on the north side of the island with occasional viewpoints over the water and a lookout tower. There's... More 

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Huntersville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
155 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015 NEW

It was fun seeing all the wildlife here. Saw many Roseate Spoonbills, White Pelicans, Egrets. Go early morning or late afternoon for best show.

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Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015 NEW

We loved this place as we learned more about the wildlife and ecosystems on the island. The volunteers were amazing and really have a heart for the area.

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Margate, Florida
Level Contributor
120 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015 NEW via mobile

This is worth the trip if you're visiting Sanibel. Located on the Sanibel-Captiva road, this wildlife refuge offers great views of the natural flowers and wildlife that inhabit the southwest Florida area. Many aeries and great all around animal wTching. The afternoon heat during the summer drives most animals to rest so not much activity in mid-day. Early morning or... More 

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Farmington Hills, Michigan
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015 NEW

Sanibel Island at its natural best! We never visit without visiting Ding Darling! Bring your Duck Stamp and entry is free!

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Lakeland, Florida
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2015 NEW

We drove through with our kids one morning and enjoyed the pretty scenery. All we saw this time were birds but previous visits we have seen raccoon and alligators. The museum displays are interesting and our kids enjoyed walking through and learning more about the wildlife on Sanibel. We try and visit each time we are on Sanibel and always... More 

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Additional Information about J.N. (Ding) Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Address: One Wildlife Drive, Sanibel Island, FL 33957
Phone Number: +1 239-472-1100
Location: United States  >  Florida (FL)  >  Southwest Gulf Coast  >  Sanibel Island

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of J.N. (Ding) Darling National Wildlife Refuge and other visitors
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Paisley, Florida
1 month ago
North Shore of MA
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
2 months ago
Madison, Wisconsin
5 months ago

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Questions? Get answers from J.N. (Ding) Darling National Wildlife Refuge staff and past visitors.
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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?