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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

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Address: 1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
Phone Number: +1 239-472-1100
Website
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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Great Park - get an annual pass if your in the area

great drive to see shorebirds and take short hikes September is HOT and bird numbers are reduced, still worthwhile

4 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
whalewatcher09
,
Overland Park
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3,934 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 3,722: English reviews
Overland Park
Level Contributor
98 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

great drive to see shorebirds and take short hikes September is HOT and bird numbers are reduced, still worthwhile

Helpful?
Thank whalewatcher09
Zuid-Scharwoude, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
29 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

We had a blast here, they have a great visitor center, the people are so nice and will anser all your questions. The park it self has a low gate price. We saw a lot of birds, great. We went with our family of seven.

Helpful?
Thank Mar0192013
Asheville, North Carolina
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

We visited with no idea what to expect, and we were not disappointed by what we found. We really enjoyed the visitor's center, and the employees were very nice. We then drove through the refuge and stopped at a few different points. It was absolutely gorgeous. It's a truly unique experience.

Helpful?
Thank laneybug13
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

The Bike tour is a buck and one of the best values on the Island. What a wonderful refuge. Do the full loop it is 8 miles with many intresting sites.

Helpful?
Thank lauraluby
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

Loved the museum and especially the narrated tram ride through the refuge. There was a lot to see and learn about. Beautiful birds throughout the refuge.

Helpful?
Thank Christy C
Holland, New York
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

While on tram we saw what looked like blueberries in some of the trees. We were not able to identify the plant so I called my sister in law and we believe these are Virginia Creeper Berries. Our tram guide Olga was fantastic!! I a so happy we took the tram; if we would have driven we would not have... More 

Helpful?
Thank Regina7777
Leighton Buzzard, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
127 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

There is a good visitor centre here and also various excursions and canoe rentals are available. Wildlife drive is open 6 days a a week for cars, bikes or walkers. There is an amazing array of bird life and if you take your time you may see reptiles, crabs or even a bob cat. Well worth a visit especially if... More 

Helpful?
Thank Martin Sherriff
Hanover Park, Illinois
Level Contributor
71 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Our visit was disappointing mainly because we didn't see too many birds. Partly that was due to the weather, but I suspect it was just not the right time of the year. Everyone at the visitor center was friendly and helpful and they have a nice gift shop.

Helpful?
Thank MarilynKay16
Knoxville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Wanted to take the narrated tour but it wasn't running on our day there. The man at the Info desk was so very helpful and informative. The drive was short but there were a lot of pull offs to see beautiful scenery. Going to try canoeing thru there later in the vacation.

Helpful?
Thank Oscarsmommy
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

You need to visit this everytime you visit Sanibel. Start at The Visitor and Education Center which features interactive exhibits and has a hands on area for children..Make sure you check out the Nature Gift Store..They have an excellent book area and lots of stuffed animals for the little ones...Next head out to Wildlife Drive. You have the option of... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank Debbie F

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Questions & Answers

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Grandview, Missouri, United States
over a year 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?