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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
  
Recommended experiences in and around Sanibel Island
from $125.00
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3,897
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470
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43
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Reviewed September 9, 2019

Due to time, we opted for the drive. The drive did not really provide any great views other then extensive mangrove trees. Most of the sights that seem cool were something you would need to walk to so plan a god amount of time if visiting.

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank wendjay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2019

We've been coming to this Wildlife Refuge for years and recommend after spending a day on the Beach to take a drive thru the Refuge during dusk hours. Be sure to stop in the Visitor Center to get to know who and how the Refuge was started. J.N. Ding Darling aka Jay Norward Darling was a reporter and cartoonist in the early 1900's. In 1934, President Roosevelt appointed "Ding" (his signature on his cartoons) to the Committee of Wildlife Preservation in 1934. Thus began a long career for Ding in conserving and protecting wildlife thru out the Country.
The Center has friendly Staff who will provide you with maps and info about the Refuge. There are displays which provide history of the Refuge along with diorama's of Florida's land and aquatic wildlife. There is a quaint Gift Shop with Sanibel Island treasures and books for purchase.
Before heading out on the drive thru the Refuge make sure you stop in and visit "The BEST Bathroom in the World".
You can walk, drive or bicycle the trail for $5 per car, $1 per bike or pedestrian. Bring a bottle of water with you.
The speed limit is under 25 mph, take your time and look out both sides of your vehicle, you never know what you will discover.
There are many stops along the way: piers leading into the Bay, 30 ft tall Observation Tower, or a short hike into a Native American Shell Mound.
If you want an closer encounter with nature, rent a kayak, paddle board or pontoon boat at Tarpon Bay Explorers, a 5 minute drive from Ding Darling.

Date of experience: July 2019
2  Thank Pam D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 2, 2019

Visited this National Park several times. Nice walk or drive. Bird watching and alligators, of course.

Date of experience: December 2018
1  Thank KarenZ28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 1, 2019

An excellent and informative site - you'll find a informative visitor center and a 7 mile interesting wild life bird drive.

Date of experience: May 2019
Thank JMelq
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2019 via mobile

The Ding Darling Wildlife reserve was really enjoyable little drive. It was very hot and there were only a few birds around. We did however see our very first raccoon.
Having been holiday-ing in the USA for the last 10 years we have seen most of Americans animals - but had to wait about 25 national parks before seen this elusive lady.

They are out in the day in Sanibel due to the lack of predators apparently. We also saw plenty of iguanas and jumping fish.

The park itself is a relaxing slow drive or bike ride of about 6 miles. But remember your bug spray!

Date of experience: August 2019
Thank Nick T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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