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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

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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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Wonderful place for a day of kayaking

The wildlife refuge is absolutely gorgeous. We were kayaking out on the bay and in the mangroves all morning, and the views were stunning. We even saw some manatees out in the bay!

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
jonahmjackson1994
,
Nashville, Tennessee
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4,386 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 4,132: English reviews
Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

The wildlife refuge is absolutely gorgeous. We were kayaking out on the bay and in the mangroves all morning, and the views were stunning. We even saw some manatees out in the bay!

Helpful?
Thank jonahmjackson1994
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Kayaked through the Commodore Creek Trail (off Tarpon Bay) and love that trip although it was fairly crowded. Saw less birdlife than our previous trip but still a great outing. My 14 year-old daughter and I also biked through the other part of the refuge and it was worth the visit but less interesting than the kayak trip. We saw... More 

Helpful?
Thank Traveller61767
Somerset, Kentucky
Level Contributor
384 reviews
119 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

There are plenty of duck billed pink pelicans - from a distance they are confused with the pink flamingos, who knows what God had in mind when He made 'em. Take the wildlife drive either early in the a.m. or in the late evening. Lots of alligators, birds of prey, birds and ducks by the millions and occasionally tarpon jumping... More 

Helpful?
Thank Motorcyclebuds
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I visited the sanctuary twice, once on foot in the afternoon, and once on a bike in the morning. I really thought I wouldn’t see much on the afternoon trip, but I saw as many birds on both trips---just in different places. There are ibis, cranes, storks, pelicans, cormorants, the occasional osprey, and lots of other birds I couldn’t identify... More 

Helpful?
Thank CarolSpencerPru
South Florida
Level Contributor
92 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Hadn't been to Ding Darling in almost twenty years, so we brought our child with us to introduce herto what we remembered as fantastic bird watching and wildlife viewing. The nature center is excellent, although fairly small. On the loop drive they have "smart phone" scanned info videos instead of trail maps. This was HORRIBLE. It requires good cell service... More 

Helpful?
Thank Jupitom
Harrisburg
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Nice walk or bike ride. Lots of birds white pelicans were here in January. Aligators etc. Nice and friendly staff at visitor center.

Helpful?
Thank bistrofood
Somerville
Level Contributor
117 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

The Darling Refuge is a great place to see both wildlife and their habitat. The is plenty of roadways to explore if you do not want, or cannot, to do much walking. Yet there is also plenty of Trailways only accessible by foot. There is good signage explaining both the wildlife and vegetation. At several spots there are knowledgeable staff... More 

Helpful?
Thank Andrew B
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

Highly recommend getting the tickets for the tram ride! Very informative about the landscape, birds, and animals that live on Sanibel Island.

Helpful?
Thank Holly H
Jackson, Tennessee
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

This is a must do in Sanibel. So much natural birds alligator birds. We took tram was about 1hr 30 minutes very leisurely tram would stop and patient wait till all could see

Helpful?
Thank 88nealb
Miami
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

Love ❤️ this place to see Florida's variety of birds and wildlife.. I highly recommend this for nature lovers and families with children. Highly educational as well.

Helpful?
Thank MalouSJRNBSNCEN

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Stillwater, Minnesota
Grandview, Missouri, United States
over a year ago
Plattsmouth, Nebraska
sherington uk
10 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?