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“Don't miss this place, especially in winter!”

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
146 reviews
52 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Don't miss this place, especially in winter!”
Reviewed February 16, 2013

We had a great time visiting J.N. (Ding) Darling National Wildlife Refuge. We got there about 10:30 am on February 11; saw many birds, white pelicans, three types of egrets, ibis, shoe crabs, etc. Some posts on this website complained not seeing any wildlife. I think season and time of the day are important factors of seeing wildlife. Morning and early evening are the best time. Winter is a great time to see migrating birds. It is a great place to visit. Don't miss it!

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
Thank bwang20874
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,728 reviews from our community

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English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
164 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“White Pelicans - Who Knew ?”
Reviewed February 16, 2013

This is a don't miss, if you are going to Sanibel. We took the tram tour of Ding Darling. Our guide was a little talky (I guess that's what guides are supposed to do), but pretty darn knowledgeable. Very unique wetlands - some fresh water, some salt water. Nice, upclose view of mangroves. Lots of white pelicans. Gorgeous birds. Really big too. There's over 100,000 white pelicans that migrate northward each year - who knew. Really nice gift shop in the main pavilion, and some interesting exhibits. Bike and walker friendly.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank john P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brokind
Level Contributor
116 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“So many beautiful birds”
Reviewed February 16, 2013

We took the guided bus tour on a beautiful day in the beginning of February. The guide was so friendly and knew so much. He answered all our questions and taught us a lot of different kinds of mangroves and so much about the different animals that live among the trees.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Christer L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Friendly and insightful customer service”
Reviewed February 16, 2013

Went on a hot day, so I would suggest you go early in the day. We took our bikes although the bike trail was rocky and difficult to ride upon. It might be better on a mountain bike or just walking. Lovely area and scenery.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Haymarket117
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
144 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Great place for birders”
Reviewed February 15, 2013

The refuge has a wonderful visitors center. You can drive, bike or walk through it. Low tide is a great time to catch the water birds eating.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank martha s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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