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.
Want the lowest hotel prices? You're in the right place. We check 200+ sites for you.

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Certificate of Excellence
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
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.

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 4,374 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 2748
    Excellent
  • 945
    Very good
  • 313
    Average
  • 82
    Poor
  • 34
    Terrible
Bike ride through the trails!

Nice place to ride bikes through the trails or just a casual stroll. The wildlife to view is plentiful..

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Christine L
via mobile
Add Photo Write a Review

4,374 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More
Showing 4,122: English reviews
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

Nice place to ride bikes through the trails or just a casual stroll. The wildlife to view is plentiful..

Helpful?
Thank Christine L
Jenison, Michigan
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Although you can drive your car through the refuge, you'll better enjoy the sights and sounds of nature by walking or biking through. There are plenty of spots to stop and take in the vast beauty of the refuge. If you're patient, you're certain to see fish exploding out of the water or the soundless soaring of a bald eagle... More 

Helpful?
Thank RevRay1212
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This is a special place to be in a natural setting observing migratory birds. The visitor center is full of information about Sanibel's environment and the drive through the refuge. The volunteers are knowledgeable and friendly, and will help anyone who is interested in understanding the birds. But even if the birds are off resting in the trees, it is... More 

Helpful?
Thank Barbara M
Paris, Tennessee
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

This was a well structured and maintained natural park that made for an enjoyable day of bike riding and getting close to nature.

Helpful?
Thank Elaine C
Ohio
Level Contributor
40 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

While in Sanibel we visited the Ding Darling Wildlife Preserve on the island. It is well worth the time to visit. The guide was very knowledgeable and we saw wildlife in their natural habitat. There were many birds including white egrets, cormorants, wading birds and blue herrings. We didn't get to see an alligator, but they are very shy and... More 

Helpful?
Thank FatmanRob
Califon,NJ
Level Contributor
25 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge is the best place we have ever seen so many flocks of different species of birds enjoying their winter vacation in Florida; Osprey, White Pelicans, Rosette Spoonbills, Herons, Egrets.....even Bald Eagles! First stop is the very informative Education Center where you can inquire about special programs for the day, including lectures and films, no charge. The... More 

Helpful?
Thank Millie H
Eaton, Ohio, United States
Level Contributor
179 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Only $5 for are car to drive through at our own pace. The time and day we were here was not loaded with birds and had no alligators, but that is not there fault. They are trapped here. I guess we needed to research when to drive through. The visitor's center was large and informative also.

Helpful?
Thank Steve L
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

We went in hopes of seeing fun and exciting animals. We did see a lot of birds and fish. Great way to kill some time.

Helpful?
Thank Diesel F
Fishers, Indiana
Level Contributor
315 reviews
99 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 150 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

We had visited here years ago - had driven through in our own car. This time we took the tram tour with a naturalist - what a difference! Our guide made the tour so much more interesting and informative. And I got a great photo of a Roseate Spoonbill.

Helpful?
Thank herestoadventures
Westfield, New York
Level Contributor
36 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

I love anything nature related. We went here to take the guided tram tour. While waiting for our reservation, we enjoyed the nature center. They have helpful volunteers who can answer all your questions. There was an 8 minute movie that gave an over view of the refuge. There are beautiful displays of native animals, video based displays, a gift... More 

Helpful?
Thank Elizabeth T

Travellers who viewed J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge also viewed

Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
 
Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
 

Been to J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and other visitors
21 questions
Ask a question
Stillwater, Minnesota
Grandview, Missouri, United States
over a year ago
Plattsmouth, Nebraska
seattle

See all questions (21)

Questions? Get answers from J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?