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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
Review Highlights
This Refuge is a Treasure

The museum and grounds of this huge refuge are well maintained and full of interesting artifacts... read more

Reviewed yesterday
Carol S
via mobile
Unspoiled nature

Great opportunity to see so many birds in their natural habitat. Fantastic visitor center with all... read more

Reviewed yesterday
Asheville, North Carolina
via mobile
Read all 5,036 reviews
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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” (587 reviews)
“tram tour” (332 reviews)
“white pelicans” (222 reviews)
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
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1 - 10 of 4,742 reviews

Reviewed yesterday via mobile

The museum and grounds of this huge refuge are well maintained and full of interesting artifacts. It is worth riding the tram to see the entire park and get well informed by the naturalist guides. It would be great fun to ride your bike through...More

Thank Carol S
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Great opportunity to see so many birds in their natural habitat. Fantastic visitor center with all kinds of interesting lectures & exhibits. And surprise, stepping up to the visitor counter we were offered free binoculars. No charge, who does that anymore? Walking into the preserve...More

Thank Grabes
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Such a pleasant place to ride! 4 miles of beautiful scenery and wildlife. We go a few times every year.

Thank IslaMGirl
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Nice park. Federal park senior pass gets your car in free. 4 mile road thru the park. Lots of viewpoints. Park is well done.

Thank lcrib
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

We had never been to Sanibel Island before, but heard it was a beautiful area so we took a day trip to this lovely place. $6 per car to go over the bridge to get on the island (free to come back). We headed to...More

Thank Beachjuly
Reviewed 3 days ago

We spent about 1.5 hours at this site. The staff was very helpful explaining what to see and the route. The museum is interesting, and has the requisite gift shop. We did a casual drive through the Refuge. Never felt like we were being "pushed"...More

Thank garyshess
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

We really enjoy these wildlife refuges but not all are bike friendly! This one was particularly bike friendly so take advantage of biking rather than driving if you can. The staff at the visitor center are very helpful and knowledgeable about sightings and other places...More

Thank marthatravels
Reviewed 4 days ago 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 4 days ago 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 4 days ago

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
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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
6 July 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from ClaudiLynn | Reviewed this property |
Huge parking lot should have room