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“Will Return Again and Again”

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: 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.
Reviewed December 31, 2012

I've been to Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge 6 times, and it's always a wonderful experience. Some visits are birdier than others, but you will always enjoy beautiful vistas of water and mangroves. In this trip, we observed 50 White Pelicans on a sandbar, a Great Egret consuming a lizard, lots of Sanderlings, White Ibises, Ospreys, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Snowy Egret and Tri-colored Heron. There isn't much hiking here, but it's great for biking and there are a few short trails for walking.

The visitor's center is awesome, complete with excellent interpretive exhibits. During this visit, we enjoyed FL Junior Duck Stamp finalists from students all over the state.

1  Thank Gropius12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,203 - 4,207 of 5,263 reviews

Reviewed December 30, 2012

If you are planning to visit Sanibel - you HAVE to visit Ding Darling. The two are inseparable. Ding Darling is an exquisitely unique opportunity to see an incredible array of bird species up-close. About one of every three trips through the reserve, we are able to spot "charismatic mega-fauna" - such as otters, racoons, or alligators, Ding Darling is an extraordinary natural resource that is worthy of many visits... and the nature center at the entrance to the park is extremely well-done. It is an exquisite explanation of the ecosystem of the park - and an appropriate tribute to the life and work of Ding Darling.

1  Thank Datablade
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2012

Great wildlife refuge,plenty of gators if you know where to look.Birds of all different types,including flamingos.You drive your own car,pull over stop,take pictures,hike,no hassles.

1  Thank ChALUTCH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2012

We are not really into birds, but had a great time at this wildlife refuge. We picked up a brochure and toured on our own. Beautiful scenery ! Thoroughly enjoyed spotting birds and other animals there. Great value for 5$.

1  Thank Srbk2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 30, 2012

Nice one-way road/trail through the refuge. You need to share the bumpy road w cars, but since it is one-way and wide, and folks are driving slowly, it's not a big deal. We saw lots of birds. A hit w kids and adults.

Thank CCYtravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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