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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
Nice to bike it!

It's 4 miles from the visitors center one way. Then another4 miles back along the main street on a... read more

Reviewed yesterday
Lisa P
,
Lexington, Kentucky
via mobile
Beautiful place and a real workout if you choose to view by canoe!

The best part of this preserve is that it remains protected and unspoiled by man. You never know... read more

Reviewed yesterday
mattfasang
,
Birmingham, Michigan
Read all 5,130 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” (599 reviews)
“tram tour” (342 reviews)
“white pelicans” (234 reviews)
LOCATION
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
CONTACT
Website
+1 239-472-1100
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JPMiles / Payback Arrow
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JPMiles / Payback Arrow
Reviews (5,130)
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"ding darling"
in 599 reviews
"tram tour"
in 342 reviews
"white pelicans"
in 234 reviews
"roseate spoonbills"
in 227 reviews
"mile drive"
in 120 reviews
"indigo trail"
in 115 reviews
"closed on fridays"
in 94 reviews
"the reserve"
in 119 reviews
"visitor center"
in 233 reviews
"drive thru"
in 57 reviews
"bird watchers"
in 61 reviews
"fish"
in 410 reviews
"tree crabs"
in 81 reviews
"low tide"
in 278 reviews
"bailey tract"
in 52 reviews
"education center"
in 111 reviews
"mangrove trees"
in 61 reviews
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1 - 10 of 4,834 reviews

Reviewed yesterday via mobile

It's 4 miles from the visitors center one way. Then another4 miles back along the main street on a very nice bike path. If you want to make it linger, you can bike a 2 mile gravel road as well, when you do that, you...More

Thank Lisa P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed yesterday

The best part of this preserve is that it remains protected and unspoiled by man. You never know what you will see. The canoe path navigation is a good workout, but at some point you are paddling downstream as you near the half way point....More

Thank mattfasang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

We were a group of five adults, including four in their 70s, one of who used a cane. We visited the information centre, and consider it a must-do: very dedicated volunteers full of useful Information. We enjoyed the gift shop too! We opted to drive...More

Thank JohnstonesOnTheMove
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

I guess February is the one of the busy months in Fort Myers and Sanibel Island area. Traffic is heavy everywhere you go. We spent about 30 minutes in the visitor education center. We could have spent more but it was crowded so we moved...More

Thank Jim T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 days ago

We wanted to experience the natural part of Sanibel Island and signed up for the tram tour. Getting to the right place to catch the tram was a bit difficult because of poor directions but it was well worth it when we got there. We...More

Thank Milford L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 days ago

We’ve been to Sanibel for a weeks stay five times. Every time we make it a point to drive though “Ding”. Usually several times. We have seen many beautiful birds here (plus a couple alligators). If you don’t see many birds on your first visit,...More

Thank KitVirginiaBeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 days ago

I was here on this island in the late 1960s when Sanibel was being plundered for shells and Captiva did not yet have a causeway-- and I was petrified starting out on this trip that the island would have been paved over. It has been...More

Thank Dave C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 days ago

We took a later afternoon walk and saw some amazing wildlife, I was mostly scared of the spiders which fortunately were some way away but were as big as your hand sat in their enormous web. We then saw a huge alligator track, the ranger...More

Thank Lynnep_Willerby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 days ago

What a great place! You can drive your own car, take their shuttle or walk if you're up to an 8 mile walk! We drove our own car. There was plenty of wildlife to see and photograph. I just wish I had take binoculars....Well worth...More

Thank Carol M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 days ago

It was a bigger refuge than we thought and we saw many birds. We biked part of the way, but would do the auto tour or tram the next time.

Thank PBMKTravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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!
1
Vote
248gerritg
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).
1
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Carrie F
6 July 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from ClaudiLynn | Reviewed this property |
Huge parking lot should have room
1
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