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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

#2 of 56 things to do in Sanibel Island Features Animals
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
Review Highlights
Visit in May - Enjoy the unique nature of Sanibel island, but it is not the time of bird migration

We visited the park in may - twice at one day (early morning and evening) . We went expecting to... read more

Reviewed 28 May 2016
Berlin, Germany
May visit

I visited in May and was disappointed with the amount of birds I saw but was told the migrations... read more

Reviewed 27 May 2016
Kansas City, Kansas
Read all 4,828 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” (558 reviews)
“tram tour” (317 reviews)
“white pelicans” (209 reviews)
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
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Reviews (4,828)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year

1,121 - 1,130 of 4,553 reviews

Reviewed 28 May 2016

We visited the park in may - twice at one day (early morning and evening) . We went expecting to see hundreds of birds in their natural habitat and only saw a very small number, no other animals around except of midges and some jumping...More

Thank Jeany1110
Reviewed 27 May 2016

I visited in May and was disappointed with the amount of birds I saw but was told the migrations were over. Saw one alligator and about 6 different types of birds is all while on the tram ride. The education center was very nice and...More

Thank valp894
Reviewed 27 May 2016

We went on the boat tour, not much to see, I wouldn't do it again. It was just a ride around the circle talking about the trees. Kind of boring

Thank saphfyre
Reviewed 27 May 2016

Saw one bird flying and none in water or grounds and NO other wildlife at all!! We must of went the wrong time of day. (late morning). I see more wildlife at home!! waste of money and time.

Thank Johnnyru46
Reviewed 27 May 2016

Though we stopped several times to check for gators we only saw birds and fish as we took the scenic drive through the refuge. It costs $5/car but you can use the national parks senior pass to get in free. We went at noon so...More

Thank suef2010
Reviewed 26 May 2016 via mobile

Want a quiet place to reflect, this is it. We took the refuge road on our way to Captiva. We didn't see a lot of wildlife beyond birds but it was worth it. It is a peaceful ride and so quiet. We found the tram...More

Thank Becky T
Reviewed 26 May 2016

We drove the self-guided tour through the refuge and saw wildlife we had never seen- reddish egrets, wood storks, alligators, willets, anhingas, and jumping mullets. Another evening we took the tour boat into the bay with naturalists pointing out manatees, dolphins and many birds flying...More

1  Thank marilynbauchat
Reviewed 25 May 2016

Very large conservation area with lots to see and do. We kayaked for 3 solid hours and barely scratched the surface even though we saw three otters, two manatee, a shark, dolphins, and numerous varieties of birds. Plenty of bikes and kayaks for rental or...More

Thank TGH1954
Reviewed 25 May 2016

Wonderful nature setting, peaceful. Not much to see otherwise; no wildlife when we went. Probably early morning or late afternoon would be better.

Thank Mark H
Reviewed 25 May 2016

You can walk, drive, bike or take a shuttle through the Refuge. Abundance of wildlife from birds, to fish, to gators. Great wildlife adventure for the whole family.

2  Thank dawghowse58
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Questions & Answers
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 5 answers
Response from Lsterry | Reviewed this property |
Yes. It costs $5 but it's a beautiful drive.