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.

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

#2 of 56 things to do in Sanibel Island Features Animals
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
Review Highlights
Just okay

Not what we expected.We drove the 3.5 mile drive which is very boring.Saw hundred of white Pelicans... read more

Reviewed January 27, 2016
via mobile
So much to see and learn.

It was our first visit to Sanibel Island in years and we were in a tourist mode. Traffic was moving... read more

Reviewed January 26, 2016
Peggy M
Providence, Rhode Island
Read all 4,779 reviews
Sponsored by:
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
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.
  • Excellent66%
  • Very good23%
  • Average8%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“ding darling” (551 reviews)
“tram tour” (316 reviews)
“white pelicans” (208 reviews)
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
Write a Review
Reviews (4,779)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

1,541 - 1,550 of 4,512 reviews

Reviewed January 27, 2016 via mobile

Not what we expected.We drove the 3.5 mile drive which is very boring.Saw hundred of white Pelicans and ten courmarants and two alligators.The concept of preserving land is great but don't expect to see much more than birds.I would rather go to the CREW preserve...More

Thank JeanCTConnecticut
Reviewed January 26, 2016

It was our first visit to Sanibel Island in years and we were in a tourist mode. Traffic was moving slowly and with a map in my lap we traveled back streets to get to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. We had really no idea...More

Thank Peggy M
Reviewed January 26, 2016 via mobile

Sanibel has beautiful wildlife primarily birds. You go on a go cart and a guard shows you so many types of birds, fish, snakes, and crocs abd the like. Don't miss this trip.

Thank estherp618
Reviewed January 26, 2016

Lovely drive thru a bird sanctuary. Really liked the option to park anywhere on the right hand side of the road, not having to wait for a parking area. There were some stray alligators near the road, they roped the place off and placed and...More

Thank DutchieMae
Reviewed January 26, 2016

Rental bikes are just 2 miles east of the entrance and very cheap. You can just return them when you are done. Late in the day or early is best time. Easy flat pedal on a one way road so safe for families. Great bird...More

Thank KerryandMary
Reviewed January 26, 2016

This is a marvelous place to visit. Please take the time to tour the presentations inside the center before going out on the drive. There's so much to learn and see if you know what to look for. Riding on the tram is nice but...More

Thank kathie859
Reviewed January 26, 2016

The parking lot for meeting the trolly was easy to find. The trolly was very open air and conducive for taking lots of pictures. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and patient when answering all our questions. High tide was creating allot of jumping activity...More

Thank Ellen B
Reviewed January 26, 2016

JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best in Florida if not the Southeast United States. The verity of wildlife is truly remarkable. We have seen alligators, raccoons, and some of the most beautiful species of birds. When ever we are in...More

Thank Paul M
Reviewed January 26, 2016 via mobile

The variety of different kinds of birds are especially noticeable the moment you begin to take your tour. Gopher turtles are a rare species found in the wildlife preserve and surrounding area. We didn't see one this trip but their nesting mounds, where there lay...More

Thank Hhoppin
Reviewed January 25, 2016 via mobile

This was our fourth visit to Sanibel and our 11th visit to Ding Darling. We have driven, cycled and walked around the Refuge. It is a great opportunity to see a wide selection of wildlife up close

1  Thank Garonne9
Sponsored by:
Nearby Restaurants
Bleu Rendez-Vous French Bistro
295 reviews
2.23 miles away
The Sandbar
1,097 reviews
2.18 miles away
The Clam Shack
325 reviews
2.29 miles away
The Pecking Order Fried Chicken
425 reviews
2.08 miles away
Nearby Attractions
Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
334 reviews
.18 miles away
Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation
122 reviews
.79 miles away
In The Garden
10 reviews
.22 miles away
Ask a question
Questions & Answers
Carrie F
July 5, 2017|
Answer Show all 2 answers
Response from ClaudiLynn | Reviewed this property |
Huge parking lot should have room
Deborah K
May 21, 2017|
Answer Show all 5 answers
Response from Lsterry | Reviewed this property |
Yes. It costs $5 but it's a beautiful drive.
May 18, 2017|
Answer Show all 2 answers
Response from Amanda H | Reviewed this property |
I think you'll be fine. You are in an enclosed vehicle that drives along a paved road. There is one bit where you can get out and walk along a boardwalk through some mangroves so you can learn how they grow and see the crabs... More