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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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Enjoyable for the whole family

Make sure to take the time to stop and walk around at all of the stopping points. The park is serene and active. We look forward to kayaking during our next visit.

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 days ago
Karen D
,
Fort Lauderdale, United States
via mobile
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4,093 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 3,859: English reviews
Fort Lauderdale, United States
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Make sure to take the time to stop and walk around at all of the stopping points. The park is serene and active. We look forward to kayaking during our next visit.

Helpful?
Thank Karen D
California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

We rode our bikes through this reserve in mid October. The road has been paved in the past couple of years making it much better for riding bicycles. It used to be gravel. There is a fairly high lookout tower about halfway through the reserve where you have a fabulous panoramic view. We didn't see much as October is not... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank ActiveAdventurer10
Manassas, Virginia
Level Contributor
4 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

We had bikes so it was great. Great visitor center. Lots of birds, wildlife, water. Beautiful place. A must stop.

Helpful?
Thank dguthrie2016
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

My family and I rode our bikes to J.N. Ding Darling then rode through the park. There were tons of beautiful birds and the nature center was very informative. They also have a nice little gift shop. Very fun, we need to go back since there is so much to see!

Helpful?
Thank Cindy S
Pittsburgh, PA
Level Contributor
66 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

We visited twice and toured the entire length of 4 miles by bike. The array of birds and otters was worth it, but the lack of alligators was disappointing. This is how much of Florida looked back in the 60's and is disappearing due to all the condos and shopping centers. Lot's of dead fish due to the red tide.

Helpful?
Thank JimOKelly
Orlando, Florida
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

If you love wildlife and bicycling this is the place for you! Many people take a drive through tour (there is a guided tram tour too), but we always take our bikes and ride through. It only cost a few dollars to enter the preserve although you can go into the main building there for free. There are exhibits, displays... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank VKS57
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
112 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Very nice place to see Florida birds and flora. A nice board walk to travel through the reserve. We took lots of photos or birds and visited the museum where everything was explained and reproduction the office area of J.N. Ding Darling.

Helpful?
Thank soyouwillknow
Mount Desert, Maine
Level Contributor
188 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

I visited yesterday and hit the jackpot...low tide and fairly early morning. I photographed wood storks, three types of herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills, an alligator and ibis.

Helpful?
1 Thank JH928S4
Palm Harbor, Florida
Level Contributor
104 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

We have spent many hours biking and driving through Ding Darling and it's just a top spot. We have seen tons of shorebirds, wading birds, migrating birds, etc. Manatee occasionally make an appearance, as do dolphins and alligators. The place is teeming with life. Couple of pieces of advice: 1. Bring binoculars 2. Wear sunscreen or a hat - much... More 

Helpful?
2 Thank blairah98
Moline
Level Contributor
82 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We were passing by Sanibel and decided to make a quick stop and the Darling Wildlife Refuge. The error was thinking it would be a quick stop! The car trail has numerous spots to view wildlife. Bring binoculars and scope. 600 mm lens on a 1.6 CF camera body works well. We will be back and will allow 2 hours... More 

Helpful?
Thank Mike G

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