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“Nice Drive & Walk”

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 January 29, 2014

We had done the trolley tour and wanted to go back on our own to spend time birdwatching. Happy to see and photograph white pelicans and pink spoonbills, along with a variety of others: herons, cormorants, osprey, anhinga, egrets, sandpipers. Could have done more hiking, if desired. Restrooms are outhouse style on the trail, but flushing in the visitor center. Great gift shop at visitor center and helpful volunteers.

1  Thank 300kathyd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,384 - 3,388 of 4,956 reviews

Reviewed January 29, 2014

I visited the Refuge with family this month. It's $5 per car to enter, and there were many cars, bikes and pedestrians along the three mile road. Volunteers are stationed along the way with binoculars and expertise to add to the experience.

We saw a great variety of birds: the white and brown pelican, anhinga, osprey, lots more! There were people fishing, taking photos, and enjoying the views. And to cap things off, we saw an alligator by the side of the road.

The Refuge has an excellent visitor center, again staffed with knowledgeable people, and lots of maps and guides. You can park and walk the trails, and in general make a nice half day visit. You leave with a feeling of how Florida was before all the development.

Thank Nadine M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2014

We went on a Sunday afternoon, which was not the best time to go- - rather busy, and animals aren't as active. But, it's well worth the time and money, only $6 per car. Very well maintained and plenty of room to pull over when you want to get out of the car and observe specific scenes or animals. Definitely a "must see".

Thank lheadley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2014

We got here a little late in the day and would have liked to take the tour on the bus, but instead opted for walking through the exhibits, seeing the movie and then driving through on the loop. The time of day really will help see the wildlife. Early in the day or later in the afternoon when the animals are most active. A sharp eye will spot things to see. I was excited to see the horseshoe crabs, as I hadn't seen one of those up close in about 40 years. We spotted several different fish in the shallow waters and spotted multiple types of birds. There are viewing platforms and at least one elevated platform and telescopes along the drive.
No fee to get into the exhibit hall, small fee for the drive per car, and I don't recall if there is a fee for the bus tour, as we didn't take it. Fun afternoon.

Thank Sue H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2014

Always nice to drive through Ding Darling Nat'l Wildlife Refuge. Saw a lot of native birds. No alligators today. But my husband once saw an alligator and a crocodile have a territorial dispute

Thank pcole0489
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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