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J.N. (Ding) Darling National Wildlife Refuge

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Address: One Wildlife Drive, Sanibel Island, FL
Phone Number: 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.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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Visitor rating
  • 1460
    Excellent
  • 563
    Very good
  • 179
    Average
  • 58
    Poor
  • 23
    Terrible
Most recent review
First timers, make a reservation for the tram tour!

My daughter and I recently enjoyed a very fun tram tour through the Wildlife Refuge. You can call ahead to reserve the time of your tram ride, and to purchase tickets, look for... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed March 29, 2015
swimmer067
,
Yellow Springs, Ohio
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2,283 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Yellow Springs, Ohio
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
8 attraction reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2015 NEW

My daughter and I recently enjoyed a very fun tram tour through the Wildlife Refuge. You can call ahead to reserve the time of your tram ride, and to purchase tickets, look for the Tram Tickets booth in the parking lot near the entrance to the Refuge's Education Center. Allow yourself fifteen minutes extra to purchase your tickets and then... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
SC
Top Contributor
120 reviews 120 reviews
9 attraction reviews
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015 NEW

I had been there probably 10-15 years ago when you could only walk or drive through. Thought the tram tour would be interesting and it was just okay - too long. We called ahead and made a reservation, then you have to go to main entrance to pay and then drive back 1/2 mile to get the tram. After we... More 

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Kingston, New Hampshire
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
29 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015 NEW via mobile

Although you can drive, bike or walk, this is a must see on Sanibel! $1 to bike or $5 to drive, stop to get a brochure to identify all that you will see, and then enjoy! A one way loop, with stops set up for viewing, we saw egrets, herons, flying fish, all at your own pace. A knowledgable guide... More 

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Naples, Florida
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
28 attraction reviews
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2015 NEW

We are local nature photographers who live off the island of Sanibel. We do a lot of our bird photography on Wildlife Drive in the Refuge and it truly is a national treasure! I rated this attraction "excellent", but the MOST important thing to know if you want to see birds is the time of year and time of day... More 

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Lake Zurich, Illinois
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
9 attraction reviews
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2015 NEW

We arrived at low tide but the trolley was filled and we needed to wait for the next trolley. About an hour or so. Now we were at the high tide coming in. The tram tour guide said it will not make a difference. I'm not convinced. The trolley parking is NOT where you pay to ride the trolley. This... More 

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Saddle River, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
22 attraction reviews
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2015 NEW

7 miles of road (one way) mostly bicycles. Fee to enter regardless on bike or in car. But once you are there, you can connect with wildlife and birds you likely will never see in one place again. Great visitors center to start your trip. Take water and a snack and spend time at one of the quiet areas tucked... More 

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Rockport, Massachusetts
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2015 NEW

I like the fact that you have choices about how you would like to view the refuge. You can kayak, drive, bike or walk through. It is absolutely beautiful. If you go to Sanibel, DO NOT miss this!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Huntley, IL
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
11 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2015 NEW

Many animals, reptiles, and birds were seen in their natural environment. The tout guide did a wonderful job pointing out all of the wildlife we could see from our tram.

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Redford, Michigan, United States
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
13 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2015 NEW

There was a very nice visitor's center with educational programming. We didn't have a lot of time, so we decided to do the scenic drive. The scenery was very pretty, but we didn't see much in the way of wildlife. It might have been a better experience on foot or bike. Also, we went in the afternoon in early March,... More 

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Brunswick, Maine
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 25, 2015 NEW

Did the tram tour. Our guide, a retired gentleman from NY, was great. He knew the history of the place, all about the various types of mangroves, where to stop for the best views and most importantly was extremely knowldegeable on all the birds and their habits. Thoroughly enjoyable time. Next day did the guided kayak tour. Again, great guide,... More 

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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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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?