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“Nice morning”

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, 2014

There is plenty of parking and the museum/exhibit is well done. We drove through the refuge and stopped at several locations. It was very peaceful and a nice way to spend the morning.

Thank John_07006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,246 - 3,250 of 4,957 reviews

Reviewed April 11, 2014

The visitors center has some fun displays for children and plenty of information for all ages and is free. There is a small gift shop. Touring the refuge was $5.00 per car. Car access is closed on Fridays. The refuge is fantastic for birding, we saw many different birds as well as an alligator. The red mangroves are amazing. We went on a breezy day which was good, we had been a few years ago around sunset and the mosquitoes were outrageous. Many spots to get out an walk around.

Thank Wagandsmile
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2014

I saw that there were folks who had given this refuge a terrible rating so I had to read through those. I certainly did not have a terrible time. My friend and I had a wonderful time and I enjoyed it so much I will go back next year. We went on the tram tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. The guide was excellent and very informative. We saw many birds and they were not all far away. I think it is very unfortunate that folks did not seem to enjoy nature in a natural setting. This is not animated birds and wildlife that pop up at a computer command. It is an amazing experience to see your first Anhinga, or learn why ospreys nest so high up and that they only have one natural predator- the bald eagle. To see hundreds of little crabs crawling on the trees and that the island's stability is due to the mangroves. A fantastic place and well worth the time. I highly recommend it and would encourage those with "bored children as described by some parents in their negative review of this wonderful refuge) to either take them elsewhere or teach them to truly appreciate nature and the importance of respecting the environment by modeling that behavior yourself.

1  Thank Cathy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 11, 2014

The best times to visit Ding Darling are early in the morning when it first opens and in the late afternoon before sunset. This is when you stand the best chance of photographing birds in incredible light. On a recent trip we saw white pelicans, ibis, roseated spoonbills, herons, anhingers and countless others. Look for where all the cars are parked to find the best bird shots. You can also hike along a short trail to spot alligators with only their eyes visible. Be sure to wear lots of bug juice. At certain times of the year the no see-ums will devour you!

Thank Shutterbugdi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2014

This place is lovely and tranquil - a place for the whole family to enjoy. It's not an amusement park - which is the attraction for me! You need to hire a canoe to make the most of the refuge where you can see all sorts of wildlife. Bikes are available to hire on Sanibel and you can cycle through this refuge - watch out for sleeping crocs though :)

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

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