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

#2 of 56 things to do in Sanibel Island Features Animals
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
Review Highlights
Relax and enjoy Florida Gulf Coast wildlife

This is a place best seen at a leisurely pace, with eyes and ears wide open, on a bicycle or in a... read more

Reviewed yesterday
Island Gem!

Informative and great museum. Walking trails and driving loop were scenic and the wildlife was... read more

Reviewed yesterday
Read all 4,786 reviews
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
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” (551 reviews)
“tram tour” (316 reviews)
“white pelicans” (208 reviews)
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
Write a Review
Reviews (4,786)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year

1 - 10 of 4,518 reviews

Reviewed yesterday

This is a place best seen at a leisurely pace, with eyes and ears wide open, on a bicycle or in a canoe or kayak. Even in a car, there are plenty of places to stop and take a long look at the wildlife and...More

Thank JMH41in3
Reviewed yesterday

Informative and great museum. Walking trails and driving loop were scenic and the wildlife was amazing.

Thank 5fromMN
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Great place to take the kids. Even the grown-up kids. Make sure you go at low tides, when the massive array of different birds are more visible. Drive slow and be on the lookout for a few alligators. A fun place to go.

Thank Dan M
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Specially nice place if you bike and take your time at the trails. Walking is great if you line it too! Dogs are welcome here!!! $5 entrance per vehicle.

Thank nabeab
Reviewed 4 days ago

We drove through it, got out a couple of times. Saw plenty of wildlife, not too many in water but lots of pretty birds. We didn't see anything super cool (my son was hoping for a croc) when we were there. We did however, get...More

Thank echaid1
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

All though we did not see a whole lot of wildlife, a couple of gators and some birds It was just nice to be somewhere where you can hear the sounds of nature. And just watch the water...also hear some Mozzies...take the spray! It's a...More

Thank TexasTravelingkitty
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

A must when visiting Sanibel! Drive around to see lots of birds, geckos and maybe even an alligator. Stop whenever you want and have a walk on tiny footpaths down to the sea.

Thank Björn G
Reviewed 6 days ago

Our family biked here from our hotel and did the short loop through the refuge. We saw birds, fish, turtles, and a racer snake. Were there in July so it was a bit hot. Make sure to bring plenty of water if going on a...More

1  Thank Brandon0072
Reviewed 6 days ago

This wildlife refuge has been preserved very well! I visited nearly 9 years ago and not much has changed! Both times I have rented kayaks through Tarpon Bay Explorers and gone through the mangrove trail. On a cooler day we would have rented bikes and...More

Thank JHMC2015
Reviewed 6 days ago via mobile

A very nice easy going refuge. Not commercialized with buildings. Just a pay station and have at it at your pace either driving, bicycling or walking. Also offers fishing spots throughout for a fee. Wildlife is abundant

Thank Kenny G
Nearby Restaurants
Bleu Rendez-Vous French Bistro
296 reviews
3.58 km away
The Sandbar
1,100 reviews
3.51 km away
The Clam Shack
328 reviews
3.69 km away
The Pecking Order Fried Chicken
427 reviews
3.35 km away
Nearby Attractions
Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)
334 reviews
.29 km away
Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation
122 reviews
1.27 km away
In The Garden
10 reviews
.35 km away
Ask a question
Questions & Answers
Carrie F
5 July 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from ClaudiLynn | Reviewed this property |
Huge parking lot should have room
Deborah K
21 May 2017|
AnswerShow all 5 answers
Response from Lsterry | Reviewed this property |
Yes. It costs $5 but it's a beautiful drive.
18 May 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from Amanda H | Reviewed this property |
I think you'll be fine. You are in an enclosed vehicle that drives along a paved road. There is one bit where you can get out and walk along a boardwalk through some mangroves so you can learn how they grow and see the crabs... More