We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Features Animals
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
Review Highlights
Big Dud!

This is touted as a great "Wildlife Refuge", HA! There were a few white Pelicans from the North... read more

Reviewed yesterday
Mahtomedi, Minnesota
via mobile
Ding Darling

Really great folks there and suggested we take the nature walk at Bailey Tract the next afternoon... read more

Reviewed yesterday
via mobile
Read all 5,029 reviews
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
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.
  • Excellent66%
  • Very good23%
  • Average8%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“ding darling” (585 reviews)
“tram tour” (332 reviews)
“white pelicans” (220 reviews)
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
Write a ReviewReviews (5,029)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
  • More languages

1 - 10 of 4,735 reviews

Reviewed yesterday via mobile

This is touted as a great "Wildlife Refuge", HA! There were a few white Pelicans from the North, that we see all the time and a few Cormorants. Otherwise there were no other animals, fish or birds anywhere! Even the "tree crabs" were no where...More

1  Thank Chiefyn1
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Really great folks there and suggested we take the nature walk at Bailey Tract the next afternoon with a volunteer naturalist. We ride our bikes there, was an awesome two hours.

Thank BethyLou1941
Reviewed yesterday

This Refuge is tremendous place - this preservation of a large tract of habitat is vital and enables visitors to see lots of shorebirds and other “tropical” wildlife. We happened to go at low tide which is THE time to see shorebirds feeding. We saw...More

Thank Callisto S
Reviewed 2 days ago

I had read a lot of reviews before having visited this park, so our experience was wonderful. Summarizing important tips: Don't take a tram tour: wasting of time and money either there are or aren't any birds. Instead: Check the tides (online) and go when...More

Thank travelerscal
Reviewed 2 days ago

We had been here before - just wanted to say it was a great place to spend a few hours if you had time

Thank Susan N
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

We biked the trail and saw birds and water, mangroves, and trees. No alligators. The narrated tour would have been better to understand the uniqueness of this place. Nice visitors center and gift shop.

Thank NancyJ011
Reviewed 2 days ago

Right in the middle of Sanibel Island, it is the main tourist attraction for bird and nature lovers. Easy to see by car, bicycle, or walking. Admission is only one dollar for bicycle or walking. Birds, occasional gator, and beautiful trees abound.

Thank Sanjay2016atlanta
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Seeing the many species of wildlife and vegetation really was enlightening. We toured through on our bicycles and enjoyed every point of interest. Worth the trip.

Thank mstarrusa
Reviewed 3 days ago

We went on MLK Day and to our delight, it was free admission! Loved to see all of the white pelicans! I was heartbroken that there were no roseate spoonbills at the time of our visit (they're my fave!). I would love to do a...More

Thank Anna S
Reviewed 4 days ago via mobile

Sanibel is an awesome place for bike riding, and Ding Darling is one of the best places to ride. Wildlife Drive accommodates both bikes and cars, and offers many places to pull over and enjoy the sites or learn about the habitats. Traffic is only...More

Nearby HotelsSee all 20 hotels in Sanibel Island
Mitchell's Sandcastles
362 reviews
1.47 km away
West Wind Inn
2,014 reviews
2.24 km away
Beachview Cottages
710 reviews
2.30 km away
Sunset Beach Inn
742 reviews
2.38 km away
Nearby Restaurants
Bleu Rendez-Vous French Bistro
327 reviews
3.58 km away
The Sandbar
1,178 reviews
3.51 km away
The Clam Shack
397 reviews
3.69 km away
Over Easy Cafe
2,800 reviews
3.38 km away
Nearby Attractions
Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
347 reviews
.29 km away
Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation
125 reviews
1.27 km away
St. Isabel Catholic Church
9 reviews
.91 km away
Ask a question
Questions & Answers
Stewart T
17 October 2017|
AnswerShow all 5 answers
Response from hwhudson | Reviewed this property |
I agree. There will be many birds you can get just fine with the 200 but my guess is you’ll wish you had the 600 if you don’t take it. Enjoy!
14 August 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from lhamo1953 | Reviewed this property |
Sorry it took me so long to answer your question! I don’t keep up with TripAdvisor that often... Ding Darling only takes a couple of hours at the most... it’s a nice half- day excursion on Sanibel ( in my opinion).
Carrie F
5 July 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from ClaudiLynn | Reviewed this property |
Huge parking lot should have room