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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

#2 of 55 things to do in Sanibel Island Features Animals
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
Review Highlights
Great drive

Worth the $5 to get into the park and do the shirt drive. Lots of wildlife, fiddler crabs, iguanas... read more

Reviewed 2 days ago
Valdosta, Georgia
via mobile
not much to see

We wanted to see Manatees, dolphins, birds, sharks. We did see the backs of a few manatees and a... read more

Reviewed 2 days ago
Lancaster, Ohio
Read all 4,730 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” (550 reviews)
“tram tour” (314 reviews)
“white pelicans” (208 reviews)
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
Write a Review
Reviews (4,730)
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1 - 10 of 4,730 reviews

Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

Worth the $5 to get into the park and do the shirt drive. Lots of wildlife, fiddler crabs, iguanas, etc.

Thank spamdogger
Reviewed 2 days ago

We wanted to see Manatees, dolphins, birds, sharks. We did see the backs of a few manatees and a couple dolphin fins. About 6 species of birds, expected hundreds. Boring

Thank Beerman5000
Reviewed 3 days ago

They have a visitor center with very welcoming employees/volunteers. It is a small center and the drive or trek through the park is not awe inspiring. Their claim to fame is a flock of roseate spoonbills but if you're not there by 10 am you'll...More

Thank cppptravel11125
Reviewed 3 days ago

You don't have to hike it or bike it, but you may want to take a short walk to view an historic or maybe prehistoric Calusa Indian mound. This along with all fo the natural the habitat and the chance to see wildlife that is...More

Thank TheBuckeye
Reviewed 3 days ago

Add this to your list of things to do on Sanibel Island. The visitor center is worth the time to explore. But it doesn’t mean much unless you take Wildlife Drive. The Drive is, I believe, 4 miles long. We drove our car fairly early...More

Thank 20_Miles_A_Day
Reviewed 4 days ago via mobile

We had a great time. We saw a snake cross the road, we were in the car. We saw rosette spoonbills, and we saw an aligator. We went about 11 am. Not too much activity, I've been told it's better to go at daybreak or...More

1  Thank spwood674
Reviewed 6 days ago via mobile

This bird refuge is very well done. There are short hikes if you choose or you can see a lot by driving through and pulling out occasionally. So many wintering birds! Beautiful…

Thank Wanderlist777
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We opted to drive by car and it was very boring and we didn't see much but a few birds,crabs, and rabbits if you are interested in these things then I would recommend it but this was just not for me. BRING BUG SPRAY!

Thank MIgator
Reviewed 1 week ago

Enjoyed the drives and stops. Staff was very informative and helpful on getting the most of the drive

Thank Daniel D
Reviewed 1 week ago

We really enjoyed the natural beauty of the island and the ability to get away and use bikes to see the wildlife reserve.

Thank Robb G
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Questions & AnswersAsk a question
Deborah K
Can you drive through this park?
21 May 2017|
Answer Show all 4 answers
Response from Lsterry | Reviewed this property |
Yes. It costs $5 but it's a beautiful drive.
I am sorry but I have a terrible fear of spiders so I'm wondering does the tram go through any areas where there are lots of them to be found? I so love all wildlife and this is just something totally irrational but I don't want it to spoil me see the rest of the refuge.
19 May 2017|
Answer Show all 2 answers
Response from Amanda H | Reviewed this property |
I think you'll be fine. You are in an enclosed vehicle that drives along a paved road. There is one bit where you can get out and walk along a boardwalk through some mangroves so you can learn how they grow and see the crabs... More
Is a reservation required/advised for the tram tour?
2 March 2017|
Response from Travelingwillie | Reviewed this property |
Yes, It is advised and often necessary to be sure you get the time you prefer.