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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
Phone Number:
+1 239-472-1100
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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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    Very good
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Learning experience

Drove through the park. It was free due to the MLK holiday. It is a four mile drive and we could stop and go at our own pace. All along the way there are signs with QR codes... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Todd D
via mobile
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4,204 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 3,962: English reviews
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

Drove through the park. It was free due to the MLK holiday. It is a four mile drive and we could stop and go at our own pace. All along the way there are signs with QR codes linked to informative videos.

Helpful?
Thank Todd D
Scituate, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
70 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Be sure to do the tour with the guide as they make the 90 min tour. You can ride a bike thru the reserve and look for all the wildlife but the tour is the way to go.

Helpful?
Thank jbmorgs
Level Contributor
37 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

nice drive through amazing nature park. lots of birds to see. many stop posts with look around towers or piers.

Helpful?
Thank Valsinorb K
Stow, Ohio
Level Contributor
34 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

I love Ding!! I feel best explored walking,biking or on the tram.Miss so much in a car. Have overheard the tram drivers & they seem very informative. My favorite place on Sanibel!!!

Helpful?
Thank jkb1168
Omaha, NE
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Ding Darling is a real gem. It's education, preservation and entertainment in one extremely well managed package. I'm an avid birder, so spend part of most Sanibel vacation days driving or walking through the refuge. For the novice, there are always plenty of birders or volunteers ready to help identify the thousands of wading and shore birds, Ospreys and Eagles,... More 

Helpful?
Thank BoomerTours
Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
65 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Very nice chance to get into nature. Nice quiet drive or bike ride. We saw lots of birds and even a gator!

Helpful?
Thank Chad B
Hudson, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
73 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

We decided to drive this ourselves rather than do the tram and so happy we did...we got to stop wherever we wanted for as long as we wanted and see so many great birds!

Helpful?
Thank Karen G
PA
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Excellent visitors center, lovely gift shop and spectacular wildlife drive. This natural area is well worth a trip.

Helpful?
Thank PAtraveler12390
Wisconsin, United States
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We had a number of things we wanted to do in one day so we took the tram ride with a naturalist giving details of what you were seeing. Check the prices. It was a good experience.

Helpful?
Thank John N
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

Great thing to do while on the island ! Five mile drive through the reserve and you can see alligators, all kinds of beautiful birds . Fun !!!!

Helpful?
Thank Ady A

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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
16 questions
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Stillwater, Minnesota
Grandview, Missouri, United States
over a year ago
Key Largo, Florida
4 months ago
7 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?