We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Certificate of Excellence
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
Get directions
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.

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 4,488 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 2830
    Excellent
  • 963
    Very good
  • 320
    Average
  • 83
    Poor
  • 34
    Terrible
Great place to learn about and observe wildlife!

A great place to bicycle and observe wildlife. Our children love to fish here. On Fridays the drive is closed but they have great speakers at the interpretive center!

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
2014mary
,
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Add Photo Write a Review

4,488 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More
Showing 4,230: English reviews
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Level Contributor
26 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

A great place to bicycle and observe wildlife. Our children love to fish here. On Fridays the drive is closed but they have great speakers at the interpretive center!

Helpful?
Thank 2014mary
Western MA
Level Contributor
194 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Lovely walks and trails. Tram excursion available. I found birds far away. Really needed binoculars.

Helpful?
Thank RSG-foodie
Cumberland Center, Maine
Level Contributor
24 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

While staying on Sanibel Island we visited the Ding-Darling National Wildlife Refuge. We took the tram tour and our guide, Lewis, was interesting and animated. His knowledge of the refuge and it's inhabitants was amazing. I highly recommend doing this.

Helpful?
Thank Ted W
Naples, Florida
Level Contributor
140 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I remember "Ding" Darling from his editorial cartoons in the Des Moines Register, so I was looking forward to seeing this wildlife refuge, the establishment of which he so long championed as needed to support migratory birds. Little did I realize how interesting it would be. We signed up for the tour, and it was even more than we had... More 

Helpful?
Thank Don T
Tulum, Mexico
Level Contributor
56 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Large nature preserve in island wetlands. Beautiful scenery. Great variety of wildlife including birds, reptiles, crabs. Extensive mangrove forests. Nice trails and drive through area. Free lectures and educational programs. Tram tour available. Also guided kayaking tour available (did not go on tram or rent kayak). Boating, kayaking and fishing areas available. Saw many cyclists. Visitor center informative. It lists... More 

Helpful?
Thank Gary K
Wabasha, Minnesota
Level Contributor
75 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

We did the self guided drive through tour. We stopped along the way and walked some of the trails. Lots of birds. We also visited the Visitor's Center and watched the movie and spent some time looking at the exhibits. It was very interesting and worth seeing. When I get back to Sanibel, I plan to spend more time there.

Helpful?
Thank Lauri H
Charleroi, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

If you are interested in seeing wildlife, then the Refuge is a great place to go. Takes a good while to drive through with many stops along the way. Would have enjoyed bicycling through, but too far from our condo to get there and no way to carry our bikes. Don't forget to take your camera.

Helpful?
Thank Mareen L
Wiesbaden, Germany
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Wonderful and peaceful nature, not too crowded. Come when the tide is low and you will see amazing view on the birds. Due to the low speed everything is very relaxing and you get great views even if you don´t want to leave your car. But you should take your time to view the animals and take wonderful photos. But... More 

Helpful?
Thank nka1969
newyork
Level Contributor
114 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 167 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

If you love water birds and wading birds, there is no place better than Ding Darling to see them, in abundance. Go in March, when many species are decked out in their beautiful breeding plumage.

Helpful?
Thank bornin42
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

It was a very nice tour thru the park. The guide was very informative. Donna took great care of us and showed us so many beautiful birds. Taught us so much about the park.

Helpful?
Thank annad280267

Travelers who viewed J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge also viewed

Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
 
Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
 

Been to J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and other visitors
22 questions
Ask a question
Stillwater, Minnesota
Grandview, Missouri, United States
over a year ago
Plattsmouth, Nebraska
sherington uk
11 months ago

See all questions (22)

Questions? Get answers from J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
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?