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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

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Address: 1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
Phone Number: +1 239-472-1100
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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.

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Absolutely Beautiful Here

WOW! This is definitely worth the stop! Loved how you can just pull your car over and hop out at different spots. We got to see a lot of interesting wildlife. Next time we hope to... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Carlee G
,
Las Vegas, Nevada
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4,103 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 3,869: English reviews
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

WOW! This is definitely worth the stop! Loved how you can just pull your car over and hop out at different spots. We got to see a lot of interesting wildlife. Next time we hope to kayak or canoe.

Helpful?
Thank Carlee G
Pottersville, New Jersey
Level Contributor
4 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Ding Darling is an absolute must for nature lovers - it is well designed and an easy visit to see myriads of birds, occasional dolphin and alligators - up close. Walking the Indigo Trail is sort of misleading. Signs say 2 miles, but don't mention that's one way. We took tram ride one day, then went back on another with... More 

Helpful?
Thank rbboye
Sanibel Island, Florida
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

Interesting to see and learn about native vegetation- beautiful birds- great for bird watching- fishing is great if from kayak or canoe- possible to see gator, but not guaranteed- good excursion for 2 hours

Helpful?
Thank docshaver
Hot Springs, Virginia
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

This is an example of our natural resources. Our vanishing resources. Please take your children here. We took the tram trip, very informative and educational. Must see if you go to Sanibel. Nature at its best!

Helpful?
Thank Friday60
Ontario
Level Contributor
46 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Interesting, didn't see any alligators but plenty of different birds, an otter and a snake. This is a refuge not a zoo so what you see on any particular day will vary, but if you take your time you should see something and it is a nice drive. There is a walking path also, we did not take that on... More 

Helpful?
Thank VSH1972
Level Contributor
19 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Every time we go to Sanibel (which is at least once every year) we visit the wildlife refuge. It's a nature photographer's dream. Sometimes the alligators are a little difficult to spot but we have seen them on occasion. The setting is gorgeous - if you have time and the weather is not too hot - it's a lovely bike... More 

Helpful?
Thank Karin R
St. Petersburg, Florida
Level Contributor
303 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

This is a must see for nature lovers. We drove thru and saw lots of birds and fishes. The mullets (fish) were everywhere this time of the year (dec). I would love to spend more time fishing. Planning to return. If you are Senior you should consider getting a free card that allow you to visit many land parks across... More 

Helpful?
Thank Reginaldo B
Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Great place - even if you do not see any alligators! It just gives a perfect change to the lively beaches. Just take care to choose the right time as it does get quite hot - or go for a superb ice cream afterwards at Pinocchio's Italian Ice Cream at the East end of Sanibel Island.

Helpful?
Thank Christian S
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
96 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Easy to find and good value. It has a one way system and you can stop your car anywhere on the route and go and explore walkways and boardwalks etc. Lots of birdlife, didn't see any reptiles but saw my first tree crabs which was cool.

Helpful?
Thank Lobodoh
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Wonderful preserve. Go at or before low tide for the best birds. We were there end Nov and red tide had just started arriving. Impact was still low. Not crowded at this time but we hear it starts ramping up from here.

Helpful?
Thank 30yrtraveler

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and other visitors
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Questions? Get answers from J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge staff and past visitors.
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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?