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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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Primer on swamp things

Just up the road from Fort Meyer's Beach is another island treasure of Florida. Not a lot to see from the road we stopped at the wildlife refuge. Not expecting much we were told... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed May 25, 2015
garywyo
,
Denver, CO USA
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2,430 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Denver, CO USA
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
13 attraction reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2015 NEW

Just up the road from Fort Meyer's Beach is another island treasure of Florida. Not a lot to see from the road we stopped at the wildlife refuge. Not expecting much we were told the last guided bus tour was just about to leave. We joined, glad we did. The guide was really knowledgeable about the local fauna. Learned a... More 

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New York
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
8 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 25, 2015 NEW

Wow this place is incredible. But you must go early in the morning (it opens at 7am) or at dusk (it closes at 7pm). On our second trip we went around noon and saw maybe a fifth of the wildlife we saw when we went in the morning. I've never seen so many exotic birds! We saw a flock of... More 

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Covington, Kentucky
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2015 NEW

We really enjoyed hearing about the animals, birds, fish, plants - our guide was very knowledgeable (Jerry?) and a pleasure to listen to. The museum part was very interesting as well.

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Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
56 reviews 56 reviews
26 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2015 NEW

We arrive just as the park opens at 7am and drive down wildlife rd. to see birds and more. Remember to get out of your car and bring a binocular and a camera and you will get some great shots of many of the birds like the egrets, the herons and the Rosetta spoonbills too. With the sun rising rays... More 

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Milford, Pennsylvania
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
18 attraction reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2015 NEW

Did the 4 mile drive through, stopped multiple times. Love the birds at this sanctuary, was able to see them well yet not feel we were invading on their territory. Like the fact that they close the park on Fridays to give the animals a rest. Didn't see any alligators, but that section of the park was closed for repairs.

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Fort walton Beach, FL
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
23 attraction reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2015 NEW

We did both the biking and driving tour. The biking tour was okay. We took the two mile route and the ride back (on shells/gravel) was a little rough. We didn't see a whole lot wildlife either time but it wasn't low tide. We'd definitely go back again.

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Islas Canarias
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

One of our party wasn't up for walking too far, so we opted to do the very, very slow drive around the park, stopping frequently to observe, photograph and follow a couple of short trails. It was magical. Of course, had we wanted to observe more wildlife than we did (and there was plenty if you stayed quiet and actually... More 

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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2015 NEW

Super interesting! Lots of animals! My kids absolutely loved the refugee! I would definitely go back!!!!!

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Lyndhurst, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
8 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2015 NEW

The Refuge is a very nice preserve. The main section is to be driven through by car. Going very slowly, you can view birds and such. Many were at a great distance, however, a few came quite close to the side of the road. It was difficult to see from the car as much as you could have seen on... More 

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Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 attraction reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2015 NEW

The kayak tour through the mangroves and all around Tarpon Bay is a great outdoor activity for couples and families with older children. The kayaking is not too strenuous. I saw manatee lots of fish and different types of birds. I even spotted a seahorse clinging to a mangrove seed pod. Bring ahat and sunscreen and enjoy the outdoors!

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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
7 questions
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North Shore of MA
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States
1 month ago
Madison, Wisconsin
3 months ago

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