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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Features Animals
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
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Review Highlights
Not for the average guy.😕

Unless you are a serious bird watcher (with binoculars) or an aspiring ecologist, the tour will be... read more

Reviewed 5 days ago
Teri B
via mobile
Great way to escape the endless parade to and from the beach!

Located conveniently close to the excellent Bowmans public beach, this Wildlife refuge is a real... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
ChefMarkChristopher
,
Tuxedo, North Carolina
via mobile
Read all 5,303 reviews
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Overview
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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” (613 reviews)
“tram tour” (347 reviews)
“white pelicans” (238 reviews)
LOCATION
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
CONTACT
Website
+1 239-472-1100
Write a ReviewReviews (5,303)
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"ding darling"
in 613 reviews
"tram tour"
in 347 reviews
"white pelicans"
in 238 reviews
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in 230 reviews
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in 122 reviews
"mile drive"
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"closed on fridays"
in 100 reviews
"visitor center"
in 254 reviews
"the reserve"
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"drive thru"
in 57 reviews
"fish"
in 429 reviews
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in 85 reviews
"low tide"
in 285 reviews
"bailey tract"
in 57 reviews
"mangrove trees"
in 64 reviews
"bird watching"
in 96 reviews
"education center"
in 113 reviews
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11 - 20 of 5,000 reviews

Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

Unless you are a serious bird watcher (with binoculars) or an aspiring ecologist, the tour will be truly boring for you. We drove through, getting out of the car many times along the way in hopes of spotting some interesting wildlife. We saw 3 little...More

Thank Teri B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Located conveniently close to the excellent Bowmans public beach, this Wildlife refuge is a real treat for all ages. Numerous hiking trails and also a “drive thru” nature trail for those who would rather not hike. (Helpful planning hint) The drive thru trail is CLOSED...More

Thank ChefMarkChristopher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Took a drive and wander through the park this morning. Sadly not a lot of animals to see but might come back tonight and see if that changes. The highlight was the flamingos but didn’t see a single alligator which was really disappointing but hey,...More

Thank Cris H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 week ago

Not as much wildlife as the previous time we were there but that was due to the time of year. We took the tram and our driver was very knowledgeable about the wildlife on the refuge.

Thank Sue M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Ding Darling Nature Preserve and Tarpon Bay are wonderfully preserved natural settings. I've been there numerous times and always enjoy seeing birds and animals in this wild setting. The best way to visit the first time is to take a guided tour, by tram or...More

Thank Vivian B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Wow! Such an incredible experience. We first walked into an area to see birds and alligators but then ended up taking a drive through! A park ranger actually took off the price of a dollar per person for the walking tour then applied it to...More

Thank Katherine Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago

We spent 2 hours here, including a couple short hikes and the 4 mile drive. The folks at the visitors center were SO HELPFUL, it was such a welcoming experience. Crabs, fish, and birds throughout the drive. We'll be back for sure!

Thank loveydovey71321
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago

We visit Ding Darling on each visit to SW Florida. We try to go a low tide to maximise our chances of seeing many bird species. Sometimes there are lots to see other times just a few but there are always some and often lovely...More

Thank Bob-a-JobSussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We took a drive through the wildlife refuge and really enjoyed it. Mostly birds that we saw, but still was really pretty and enjoyable. Takes quite a while to drive through. I would say 30-45 mins if I remember correctly. I’d do it again!

Thank sarahnwill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

My wife and I can’t get enough of this place. The variety of wildlife is amazing. We’ve seen manatees, ospreys, spoonbills, dolphins, lizards, and dozens of birds. Something different every time thru.

Thank Joe C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Questions & Answers
charleskgto
April 8, 2018|
Answer
Response from PrMichaelM | Reviewed this property |
Yes it is. The visitor center is open every day but the wildlife drive does close on Fridays. So don't wait until the last day of your vacation to visit Ding Darling!
0
Votes
Mary S
April 2, 2018|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from cvaccaro58 | Reviewed this property |
I didn’t see any, but there are lots of birds.
0
Votes
kbleich2018
March 15, 2018|
Answer
Response from Kathy T | Reviewed this property |
Ive never had an issue.
1
Vote
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