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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
Phone Number:
+1 239-472-1100
Description:

Established in 1945, this wildlife refuge occupies one-third of Sanibel...

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.

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It's worth the time.

Lots of birds! Lots of fish. It's a nice respite from the hustle bustle of Sanibel. Allow a couple hours. We whizzed thru. Should've taken more time.

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
BuilderDad
,
Kansas
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4,217 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 3,975: English reviews
Kansas
Level Contributor
91 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Lots of birds! Lots of fish. It's a nice respite from the hustle bustle of Sanibel. Allow a couple hours. We whizzed thru. Should've taken more time.

Helpful?
Thank BuilderDad
chicago
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

This refuge is a treasure. When visiting the island set aside half a day to see the indoor exhibits, walk or bike the trails and experience the natural wonders along wildlife drive. On one visit we saw dozens of species of waterfowl, tree crabs, horshoe crabs, snakes, a raccoon and an alligator (at a safe distance). People come great distances... More 

Helpful?
Thank amused1
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

Walk the Indigo Trail - at least to the two-tiered observation platform centering on its own pool and thick forest (quiet, colorful) [about 1/4 mile from the Visitor Center]. Drive the 4ish mile Wildlife Drive. Hundreds and hundreds of pelicans, cormorants, anhingas, herons, egrets, spoonbills, ospreys, kingfishers and others. From the Wulfert Keys Trail, we gazed at dolphins. We watched... More 

Helpful?
Thank deburkins
Burlington, Vermont
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

My parents took me and my husband here because they had been before and loved it so much. The entry fee is very cheep either $6 per car full or $1 if you are walking through. You can either walk, bike, drive, or take a tour bus in the park. They have several look out spots along the road way... More 

Helpful?
Thank Khorto254
Fort Myers, Florida
Level Contributor
31 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Had planned on going to the beach but too much traffic changed our minds and we decided a drive through Ding Darling was a better choice. Glad we did! Saw our first roseate spoonbill! The tide was out and the birds were in so we had an opportunity to see lots of birds. It was a little on the chilly... More 

Helpful?
Thank LSP-530
atlanta
Level Contributor
120 reviews
77 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

We stopped by the visitors center first and the staff was very friendly and nice. There was one woman who came over and told the kids all about the shells in the case. Very interesting. There is a very nice exhibit to look at and a nice gift ship. We took our own car and it cost $5.00. There were... More 

Helpful?
Thank disneymomof3Atlanta
Sebring, Florida
Level Contributor
40 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

This is a delightful way to sound an afternoon. The wildlife is plentiful and the setting is gorgeous. This is a very well maintained refuge. Plenty ti see for bird watching fans. Great photography, plenty of places to stop and relax. Highly recommend.

Helpful?
Thank PeruTravelFamily
Naples, Florida
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

We opted to stop at the J Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve while on a day trip to Sanibel Island. The Visitor Center is newer, beautifully displayed and staffed with many knowledgeable volunteers a quick movie gave an overview. By the way a National Parks Lifetime Pass is accepted at the driving route gate. We saw mostly fowl , no... More 

Helpful?
Thank Jersey M
Mt Vernon
Level Contributor
11 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

The J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge was everything that we had read about it. We really enjoyed all of the wildlife that we saw. If you enjoy the great outdoors, you need to spend time in the Wildlife Refuge.

Helpful?
Thank Michael G
Kiel, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
89 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

The exhibits are nice and professional. Many hands on things for kids to do. The tram ride was great. Our guide, Wendy, was very knowledgeable about the area and wildlife and pointed out so many things that I would have driven past on my own. We saw otters, crabs, fish, an alligator, and hundreds of birds. You'll even learn where... More 

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1 Thank Brewers333

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and other visitors
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Stillwater, Minnesota
Grandview, Missouri, United States
over a year ago
Key Largo, Florida
4 months ago
7 months ago

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?