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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
Allow enough time - so much to see

I've been to Ding Darling 3 times and never allow enough time. The experience is very different... read more

Reviewed 6 days ago
Michele H
Saint Paul, Minnesota
via mobile
Wonderful experience

This wildlife sanctuary has it all. It has exhibits and shows for the whole family. Kids would love... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Elizabeth T
via mobile
Read all 4,858 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” (565 reviews)
“tram tour” (320 reviews)
“white pelicans” (209 reviews)
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
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Reviews (4,858)
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1 - 10 of 4,578 reviews

Reviewed 6 days ago via mobile

I've been to Ding Darling 3 times and never allow enough time. The experience is very different depending on the time of year but we've never been disappointed! We've seen an alligator 2 of our 3 visits and the birds are in abundance. Bring sun...More

Thank Michele H
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

This wildlife sanctuary has it all. It has exhibits and shows for the whole family. Kids would love it.The building contains a great shop filled with all kinds of crafts and trinkets The trails take you back to observe bird nests and crocodile nesting areas.It...More

Thank Elizabeth T
Reviewed 1 week ago

This is a place for bird watchers and photo people... It is a National park of sorts My wife likes to visit more than I do. I think once is enough, personally.

Thank bigrunsaturday
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

If you like looking at water and seeing some wildlife you will enjoy it. If your going to see alligators you will be disappointed.

Thank dcriscoe
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

My husband and I often go here to see nature at its best. We drive through, making periodic stops for photos. Today we bought our oldest adult daughter and had a pleasant time. There are spots for fishing and sight-seeing. I love seeing the fish...More

Thank Calondra
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Gotta go here if visiting Sanibel. Take the guided tour and learn about the local wildlife if it's your first time. You'll see dozens of bird species including the Rosette Spoonbill. Can see gators but they're harder to find since Hurricane Charlie smashed down so...More

Thank hwhudson
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The Ding Darling NWR is a sprawling collection of wetlands and waterways, home to all kinds of critters. The actual Wildlife Drive is a fairly short (4 miles I think) paved road traversing a relatively small portion of it. There are numerous places to pull...More

1  Thank Steven C
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Disappointed. Not much to see there in late summer. Took the drive but didn't see any wildlife. Guessing it's better in the spring.

1  Thank Ralph R
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

We got there at 4:30 and the tram and the indoor visitor center all closed. We were so disappointed. It was not clear at all what time these things were open til. Website says park open til around 7 so we thought we had plenty...More

Thank 171Sue
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The visitor centre was very informative and we really enjoyed learning about the local wildlife. We chose to go round in our car and though we didn't see much, it was a lovely peaceful place where we were able to stop at will. Would suggest...More

Thank bfgvacay
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Questions & Answers
14 August 2017|
Response from Katie W | Reviewed this property |
Depends on how much you enjoy the outdoors. For my family a drive through the refuge with occasional stops along the roadway suffices. For us a couple of hours does the trick. If you are avid about the outdoors and getting... More
Carrie F
6 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 8 answers
Response from Toni W | Property representative |
Stop in and are free visitor and education center open daily from 9am -4PM to help plan your visit. there's many options to enjoy the wildlife and also get out on the water with our official concessionaire Tarpon Bay... More