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Ding Darling

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MN
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Ding Darling

We will be going to Marco Island the end of the month. We will have our 2 grand kids with us age 7 and 2 1/2. I'm wondering if the Ding Darling will be interesting to them....will there be enough to see? Can we drive through?? Anything else to do with them there? How long of a drive from Marco?

thanks!

Los Angeles...
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1. Re: Ding Darling

Hmm, if you're looking for birds and wildlife, you're way closer to the Everglades. The Gulf Coast Visitor's Center is about an hour away and there are boat trips you could take there, plus a manatee eco-education center at Port of the Islands marina store. What do they like to see? And where on Marco are you staying?

Having said that, Ding Darling is really great--you can drive wildlife drive (any day except Fridays), though much of the action happens at sunrise or sunset when the birds are feeding or roosting. But lots of birds to be seen. There are boat trips, kayak trips and a kid's discovery center plus a wonderul visitor's center. I will let the local experts give more details but I saw kids of all ages having fun there. And the new wildlife recovery center is ready to open too, C.R.O.W. So lots to see if they like animals.

Nearby to Sanibel are also the Babcock Ranch Wilderness Adventure Center (past Ft. Meyers) which does a great tour on an old cattle ranch, or Corkscrew Swamp Sanctury.

I am not precisely sure eon the exact drive time as I took the long route (stopping at the library, supermarket, manatee park, etc) to get from Everglades City to Matlacha, which is almost the same distance, though different start and end points.

Have fun whatever you do decide!

MN
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2. Re: Ding Darling

We are staying near South Beach. We have done the Everglades but plan on swinging down in the area for some more close encounters with the alligators and will then take the 10,000 island boat tour. Shelling has been great on Marco so we really aren't looking for that. Was thinking of hitting an alligator farm near the Everglades for something different. We will go canoeing at Lover's Key. Just didn't want to miss anything but maybe we should leave ding darling until a time we can stay on Sanibel?

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: Ding Darling

Hmm, that might be a better option, but I will let the local experts weigh in on that one.

I stayed on Sanibel last trip and had a great time; this trip I went up and over to Pine Island and stayed on Matlacha. Sanibel was super---I kayaked at Ding Darling and did plenty of shelling, plus I sat on the dock at Jensen's marina and watched a pair of manatees that were still hanging around(this was late December 07).

Sanibel's very kid and family friendly, so I'd say plan to stay for a few days. If not this trip, then the next! You won't be sorry! :-)

Lake St. Louis...
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4. Re: Ding Darling

My vote would be to save Ding Darling for a future trip to the island.

To read previous discussions regarding Ding Darling go to Sanibel Island Forum search box and type in Ding Darling. Make sure and read all Tourmalines threads she was really great with Ding Darling advice.

Columbus, OH
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5. Re: Ding Darling

I'm going to agree with Steinbecke. Do it on another trip. Mapquest says it's a 1 hour 23 minute drive from Marco Island to Sanibel Island.

Also, while I agree that Ding Darling is great for kids, I'm not sure how interesting a 2 1/2 year old will find it. My kids LOVED it this past summer, but they are 12 and 8. They would not have loved it when they were 2 -- the ocean yes...Ding Darling no.

If you do decide to go, remember (as others have said) that you can't drive through it on Fridays.

6. Re: Ding Darling

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