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Address: 900 Tarpon Bay Rd, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3131
Phone Number:
+1 239-472-8900
Website
Today
08:00 - 06:00
Open now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 08:00 - 06:00
Description:

See wildlife up-close and discover the J.N. “Ding” Darling National...

See wildlife up-close and discover the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge with an experienced naturalist by your side. Tarpon Bay Explorers offers many guided tours designed to be both educational and fun! Birds, dolphins, manatees, and alligators are just some of the amazing wildlife found in the pristine native tropical and subtropical vegetation of Sanibel Island. Tarpon Bay Explorers is the licensed concessionaire of the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, providing low impact recreational and educational opportunities to the public under contract with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 475 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 340
    Excellent
  • 95
    Very good
  • 15
    Average
  • 13
    Poor
  • 6
    Terrible
Many birds to see!

My husband and I took the Tram tour, as well as the Sunset Pontoon cruise. We saw many shorebirds, and also horseshoe crabs, "jumping" mullet fish, periwinkle snails, and more. We... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 1 week ago
Ramble-and-Trek
,
Virginia
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475 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 469: English reviews
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

I thought this was not worth the $30 plus tax for basically an hour ride on the bay. They identified a few birds and a dolphin. The "breakfast" was minuscule consisting of a few donuts, granola bars, orange juice and coffee. Little to eat for a number of people and my wife and I ended up splitting a donut. I... More 

Helpful?
Thank John L
TarponBay, Manager at Tarpon Bay Explorers, responded to this review

Thank you for your review. We apologize that your experience on the breakfast cruise did not meet your expectations. We try to market and advertise the cruise to what it is: An hour long pontoon ride around the 1,000 acres of Tarpon Bay with a naturalist who talks about the "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge's mangrove estuary ecosystem. After the... More 

Virginia
Level Contributor
24 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

My husband and I took the Tram tour, as well as the Sunset Pontoon cruise. We saw many shorebirds, and also horseshoe crabs, "jumping" mullet fish, periwinkle snails, and more. We saw manatees swimming in the water just out from the docks at the Tarpon Bay Explorer headquarters. Very nice time!

Helpful?
Thank Ramble-and-Trek
Level Contributor
62 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Well worth the $23 cost. Guide was very knowledgeable. Spent first half hour at the tanks seeing and touching sea life that lives in the bay. Spent the next hour on a pontoon boat touring the bay. Saw numerous birds, even ospreys in their nests. Watched dolphins hanging out near boats fishing and even saw 1 dolphin jumping out of... More 

Helpful?
Thank Chris H
New York
Level Contributor
69 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

You must do this! We went for a kayak tour and it was fabulous. Our guide, Lewis, was very knowledgeable and had interesting information about the bay's role in wildlife development, the ecology, the wildlife, the importance of mangroves, the indians who once lived in the area, and on and on. We had a double kayak and had no trouble... More 

Helpful?
Thank Clawboot
Thunder Bay
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Captain Matt took good care of us and made sure we caught fish. I was amazed by his casting accuracy. He could drop the bait nicely into the shadow of the mangroves. I would recommend this company for anybody, but especially for a family with children.

Helpful?
Thank salvelinusfontinalis
Ohio
Level Contributor
12 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

1.5 hour kayak trail tour was a great value at just $30. Then they let you continue kayaking at your leisure as long as you like. I ended up paying less than $7 per hour. Saw lots of birds and some manatees from a distance. Tarpon Bay is perfect for first time kayakers. Very shallow.

Helpful?
Thank The_Travlah
Osceola, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
125 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

This was a great experience for a little trip !!! We had our grandson, 3 1/2 with his parents. We biked over and got a lovely gift for doing so! The naturalist gave a fine presentation before loading the lovely pontoon for a ride and further info along with q and a:) It was so lovely relaxing and fun!! Our... More 

Helpful?
Thank Bruce and Mary S
Plymouth, Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Travelled to Sanibel with another couple and spent two of our days at the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. The first day we kayaked through the area with Mandy who was fun and very informative. The birds we saw were fantastic and the kayak allowed us to get close without disturbing the birds. The second day we took the pontoon boat... More 

Helpful?
Thank Ben B
Cedarburg, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

My husband and I went on the mangrove kayak tour. It's awesome because the guide is very informative and then when you get half way on the tour, you are left to your own adventures. We spent an additional three hours exploring! Missed the manatees, but saw tons of birds. And when you are ready to return, the employees are... More 

Helpful?
Thank Tracy H
TarponBay, Manager at Tarpon Bay Explorers, responded to this review

Thank you so much for your kind review! We are glad to hear that your kayak tour was an awesome experience, the guide was informative and you had a fun time! Sounds like you took advantage of the trip and had an incredible time! Hopefully next time you visit, you'll find those manatees! Cheers, TBE More 

NE Ohio
Level Contributor
36 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

During a recent "Girls' Getaway" weekend, my daughter and I joined a kayak tour at Tarpon Bay Explorers. This organization is professionally managed, everyone we spoke with from the time we called to reserve our spots to when we handed off our paddles at the end of the morning was courteous and friendly. $30 for an hour and a half... More 

Helpful?
Thank BNice3
TarponBay, Manager at Tarpon Bay Explorers, responded to this review

Thank you so much for your kind and thorough review! We are glad to hear that all of our staff took good care of your group. We are also happy to hear that Heather did a wonderful job. Her enthusiasm and knowledge make her a fantastic naturalist. Again,w e are happy to hear that your experience kayaking through the mangroves... More 

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Questions & Answers

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Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?