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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

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Nice Natural Beauty

Nice visitor center, helpful staff. Took the walking path (cost $1 per person), don't get to see much. Went back an took the driving tour ($5 per car). Much better and get to... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
mkjbs
,
DC Metro area
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4,231 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 3,987: English reviews
DC Metro area
Level Contributor
139 reviews
47 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Nice visitor center, helpful staff. Took the walking path (cost $1 per person), don't get to see much. Went back an took the driving tour ($5 per car). Much better and get to see lots more. Great location if you like birding. Lots of folks there pulling over by the water areas. Drive slow and watch for bikes, walkers, and... More 

Helpful?
Thank mkjbs
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

It only costs 5$ to drive the 4 Mile loop through the preserve so it is worth it. We didn't see much wildlife in mid Jan though (except birds) and we did it twice. Two days apart. We saw some fish, small crabs, and a couple horseshoe crabs. U will see birds everywhere. I guess we really wanted to see... More 

Helpful?
Thank Adam B
Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Level Contributor
25 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Got there late in the afternoon and enjoyed the displays in the visitor center which closes surprisingly early, at 4PM, I believe. Although after sitting in the traffic trying to leave Sanibel Island I can understand. It probably gives the staff a head start going home. Unless you want the late afternoon light for photos or want to be there... More 

Helpful?
Thank Edward C
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Great drive through refuge at your own pace, with lots of opportunities to park along the way, watch, and photograph birds and nature. I made sure I got there early in the day and was rewarded for my efforts.

Helpful?
Thank foxlivingwell
Waukesha, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
71 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

So glad we rented bicycles since we stopped often to see various kinds of birds and other wildlife. Don't make the mistake of just driving through or you will miss the real reason to even come. You can bicycle on the same road as cars on the way in, but must walk your bicycle back out on the same road.... More 

Helpful?
Thank Barbarino_12
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

This is a "must see" if you are interested in wildlife and ecology. Learned so much about the mangrove ecosystem and many birds! Take the Tram Tour to learn a lot without having to walk so far. Even saw the back of a partially submerged alligator. Low tide is the best time to go.

Helpful?
1 Thank Carole P
Cary, North Carolina
Level Contributor
39 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

We visited the Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and were delighted to see the wonderful facilities. There is a excellent Education Center, with displays, classrooms, information and a great gift shop. Stop at the Information desk for maps, schedules, and ask any questions. Optional items for additional fees are a walk through Indigo Trail, and a Tram tour which requires reservations,... More 

Helpful?
Thank ringegl
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
176 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

it was $1 cash per bike to go through the preserve, so worth it. We loved the scenery and animals that we saw. Some parts were busier than others but for much of the ride we were alone out there (Thursday).

Helpful?
Thank Libby_travels_alot
Sanibel Island, Florida
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

A drive thru nature preserve,plus a museum.Can be enjoyed rain or shine,at your own pace.Places to walk and enjoy as well as view from the car

Helpful?
Thank gloria462015
Chicago
Level Contributor
94 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

My husband and son went on a run on the trails here. I drove through one afternoon. Saw egrets, white and brown pelicans. Very pretty.

Helpful?
Thank Jeannelb

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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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