J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island: Address, Phone Number, J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge Reviews: 4.5/5

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
4.5
About
Established in 1945, this wildlife refuge occupies one-third of Sanibel Island and is a prime spot for bird watching. Fees are required for Wildlife Drive, which is open everyday but is closed on Fridays, gate times vary. The best way to plan your visit is to stop in the informative FREE visitor center first which is open daily 9am-4pm. Then begin your adventure with many activities including the wildlife drive, tram tour, 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.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Popular mentions

4.5
6,210 reviews
Excellent
4,137
Very good
1,408
Average
498
Poor
123
Terrible
44

Rorothman
Orlando, FL2 contributions
Birds and Mangroves
Aug 2021
Enjoyed this beautiful refuge.The tram is definitely worth it for an informative pleasant 90 minute tour.
Written September 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

julie
21 contributions
A must see!!!!!
Aug 2021 • Couples
Such an awesome adventure! Staff were friendly and informative!! The preserve was so beautiful and maintained. The variety of wildlife living there was amazing! We came back the next day for another run through!! We saw manatees, flying fish, iguanas, tortoises, snakes, rabbits and too many birds to even mention!! This is a must see for anyone who loves nature and animal preservation!
Written August 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks for visiting! We are so glad you took advantage of keeping your receipt and returning for free. Yes, may- sept keep your receipt for 3 day re entry!
Written August 25, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Edward B
Sarasota, FL135 contributions
Top Attraction
Aug 2021
I would rate this as a top attraction in the area. I recommend the tram tour, in which a knowledgeable guide discusses the flora and fauna and the history of Sanibel. The tram tour is particularly pleasant on a hot day such as the one we visited. It's also possible to ride bikes, drive cars and walk
Written August 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks for taking the tram and learning with us! We hope you return.
Written August 25, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mojitomamma15
Leesburg, VA18 contributions
Very beautiful and peaceful
Aug 2021 • Family
We loved the 4 mile car drive through this refuge. We saw lots of big fish jumping, saw an iguana, turtle, and lots of beautiful scenery. Was a good stop for our extra time before our late flight.
Written August 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

tnvolfam
Franklin, TN29 contributions
A must visit gem
Jul 2021 • Couples
First, it is great to see preservation in action without over commercialization.

We visited late morning and did not see many animals but enjoyed what we saw. I am sure we would have seen more earlier in the morning.

I highly recommended a tram tour for a first time visit! We learned so much from Craig, our tour guide.

I consider this a must trip for first time visitors in the area. If you enjoy nature as much or more than the beach, this is worth a second trip. Just remember this is not a zoo and you won't always see what you want but you will get to experience nature as it is.
Written July 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

stay-home-mom-pa
Cowansville, PA156 contributions
Mid Day miss
Jun 2021
Go early in the morning or early in the season. Didn' see much at 10 AM on a June weekend. Would stop back at a different time.
Written July 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Yes, great suggestion, mid day in our hot summer months can be challenging to see wildlife. Just like us, in the heat, we like to rest in the heat of the day or hang in the water… wildlife too. Best time to visit is early morning when the wildlife is more active.
Written August 25, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

4redheadsonaroadtrip
Elk Grove Village, IL76 contributions
Must Do For Entertainment and Education about Mangroves
Jul 2021 • Family
Our family enjoyed a fantastic, educational tram tour of the Ding Darling refuge. Our driver and Naturalist, Craig stopped frequently to show us the wildlife he spotted and explain about the habits of those animals. We spent some time at the mangroves boarding spotting spiders, crab, fish, mangrove trees and much more. Craig was spotted manatees and we spent some time watching them swim. Great tour and highly recommend it. Suggestions: go 1st thing in the morning to spot more wildlife, bring water, binoculars and your camera.
Written July 28, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We are so glad your family enjoyed the tram. Thanks for taking the time to enjoy nature and great reminders for bringing water and necessities.
Written August 25, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rose K
9 contributions
Very Quaint
Apr 2021
A lovely place to truly appreciate the natural wonders of Sanibel. A must for any first-timers to the island.
Written July 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Emily M
Chilton, WI5 contributions
Drive through
Jun 2021
We weren't able to do the trolly but we drove through it. I liked that the $10 pass was good for 3 days. It was a little hot the day we went so there wasn't too many animals out. We were able to see a manatee though surfacing in the water. On a cooler day it would be a good place to bike through.
Written July 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Kimprice78
Kutztown, PA11 contributions
Manatees and birds and gators, Oh My!!
Jul 2021 • Family
We love this nature preserve! You can walk or bike many trails. You can drive through 4 miles in your car and stop as much as you like along the way. Tram tours are available as well. We used Tarpon Bay Explorers and enjoyed a 2 hour kayak tour through the magnificent mangroves! The gift shops have amazing finds and treasures as well!!
Written July 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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