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“A bit of everything”

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 April 11, 2013

Liked everything but the rain! The refuge is huge and has more than one location on the island. We first went to the main site, hoping to view the crocs and alligators but alas, that part of the refuge is closed to all visitors on Fridays. Still had an enjoyable afternoon both inside the facility, attending a live presentation and walking through the open area of the preserve on very well maintained paths, doing some bird watching ( absolutely bring binoculars!!!) although we are not regular "birders". In the main building there was a wealth of information about the plants and animals residing in the preserve so we had some idea of what we were looking at! It was there where we learned about other activities available at different sites so we signed up for the marine (dolphin and manatee) observation at the Tarpon Bay location. That took place the following day just down the road. First we all met with one of their naturalists', Steve, who gave an awesome hand-on presentation about the smaller marine inhabitants of the bay, right in their marine lab. He also prepared us for what and why we might see on the boat tour. Then about 25 of us headed onto the boat where Donna, another staff member, took over to do the onboard experience. She was equally well prepared and animated with her information. Their enthusiasm for this work was contagious and energizing to the participants as m any questions were asked and experiences shared. Back at the dock, people were coming in and going out on kayaks, both singly and in groups with leaders and it was obviously a major activity of Tarpon Bay.

Thank bbpbbp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,634 - 3,638 of 4,886 reviews

Reviewed April 10, 2013

What a beautiful refuge. Our tour guide took us on a 90 minute ride into old Florida- the way it really should look. Mangroves,tree crabs, osprey, alligators,fish,abundant!. This was worth our time. But you can drive thru on your own, however you will miss out on the rich history and facts!

Thank agwbkw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

The drive is through swampy area and would have been a pleasant trip if the road was not so rough! We ride hybrid bicycles so some unevenness is not a problem, but thsi was very uncomfortable. We made it to the Indigo trail and we were very happy to get onto a reasonably smooth, hard-packed dirt path.
They should warn you about the rough road - and the fact that it is one-way makes it a long way before you can turn back.

1  Thank timekeeper13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

We drove through and it was nice. DIdn't see as much as we had hoped but it was well worth the drive.

Thank Toto2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

We really enjoyed the kayak trip through the mangrove trees and the sunset kayak to the rookery islands. The tram tour was educational but I will drive or bike the next time.

Thank willia93
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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