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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
Website
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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 4,109 reviews
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Indigo Trail hike

We had our dog with us and wanted to include him in our afternoon outing. So we decided to walk the Indigo Trail. We hiked for almost 2 miles before we turned back and weren't... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Jan Q
,
Hackettstown, New Jersey
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4,109 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 3,875: English reviews
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

We rode our bikes - it's a great way to see the site. Lots of birds but not much else. It's very light on educational info along the route.

Helpful?
Thank sclawndr
Hackettstown, New Jersey
Level Contributor
17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

We had our dog with us and wanted to include him in our afternoon outing. So we decided to walk the Indigo Trail. We hiked for almost 2 miles before we turned back and weren't really looking for wildlife but we did see some Ibis, cranes and 1 snake. Only saw a few other people walking or bike riding. Otherwise,... More 

Helpful?
Thank Jan Q
Cincinnati
Level Contributor
39 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

The "Ding" Darling is a fantastic spot for bird watchers, porpoise lovers, and kayakers. There is a large non-profit center that has an educational facility and gift shop, and is the gateway to a trail that can be used by bicycle, car, or on foot. It appears to be wheelchair accessible, but is fairly long to navigate by wheelchair alone.... More 

Helpful?
Thank fairmindedCincinnati
Toms River, New Jersey
Level Contributor
60 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Small size, 4-5 miles. Had a few spottings fo birds and fish, but most of the ride boring with not much to see. If you rent a bike could be more fun.

Helpful?
Thank TravelerOana
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

We just enjoyed another wonderful visit to this magical place. There is so much to see and enjoy at both the visitor center and on Wildlife drive. Did not see an alligator today but the birds were abundant and even saw a frisky raccoon.

Helpful?
Thank Yvonne S
Sanibel Island, Florida
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Definitely go at low tide to see more birds. Limited # of places to stop. Pay attention to the light for photos. Hiking Indigo Trail uninteresting. Wiulfert better. Limited fishing and NO fly fishing. Very good visitor center.

Helpful?
Thank kdils
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

WOW! This is definitely worth the stop! Loved how you can just pull your car over and hop out at different spots. We got to see a lot of interesting wildlife. Next time we hope to kayak or canoe.

Helpful?
Thank Carlee G
Pottersville, New Jersey
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Ding Darling is an absolute must for nature lovers - it is well designed and an easy visit to see myriads of birds, occasional dolphin and alligators - up close. Walking the Indigo Trail is sort of misleading. Signs say 2 miles, but don't mention that's one way. We took tram ride one day, then went back on another with... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank rbboye
Sanibel Island, Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Interesting to see and learn about native vegetation- beautiful birds- great for bird watching- fishing is great if from kayak or canoe- possible to see gator, but not guaranteed- good excursion for 2 hours

Helpful?
Thank docshaver
Hot Springs, Virginia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

This is an example of our natural resources. Our vanishing resources. Please take your children here. We took the tram trip, very informative and educational. Must see if you go to Sanibel. Nature at its best!

Helpful?
Thank Friday60

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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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Grandview, Missouri, United States
over a year ago
Key Largo, Florida
3 months ago
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Questions? Get answers from J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge staff and past visitors.
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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?