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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
Phone Number:
+1 239-472-1100
Website
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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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

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We enjoyed biking through here

it was $1 cash per bike to go through the preserve, so worth it. We loved the scenery and animals that we saw. Some parts were busier than others but for much of the ride we were... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed today
Libby_travels_alot
,
Minneapolis, Minnesota
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4,223 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 3,980: English reviews
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
176 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed today NEW

it was $1 cash per bike to go through the preserve, so worth it. We loved the scenery and animals that we saw. Some parts were busier than others but for much of the ride we were alone out there (Thursday).

Helpful?
Thank Libby_travels_alot
Sanibel Island, Florida
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

A drive thru nature preserve,plus a museum.Can be enjoyed rain or shine,at your own pace.Places to walk and enjoy as well as view from the car

Helpful?
Thank gloria462015
Chicago
Level Contributor
94 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

My husband and son went on a run on the trails here. I drove through one afternoon. Saw egrets, white and brown pelicans. Very pretty.

Helpful?
Thank Jeannelb
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Highly recommend stopping here if in Sanibel! Walked the trail and saw an alligator. Also drove the car trail and was able to see many different types of birds. So beautiful

Helpful?
Thank Sarah G
Miami, Florida, United States
Level Contributor
36 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I had a great time with my family and friend this past Monday. It is such a peaceful setting that was therapeutic for me mentally and physically. I also like that they incorporate vegetable along with flowers in the garden.

Helpful?
Thank Marsha J
Kansas
Level Contributor
91 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Lots of birds! Lots of fish. It's a nice respite from the hustle bustle of Sanibel. Allow a couple hours. We whizzed thru. Should've taken more time.

Helpful?
Thank BuilderDad
chicago
Level Contributor
12 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

This refuge is a treasure. When visiting the island set aside half a day to see the indoor exhibits, walk or bike the trails and experience the natural wonders along wildlife drive. On one visit we saw dozens of species of waterfowl, tree crabs, horshoe crabs, snakes, a raccoon and an alligator (at a safe distance). People come great distances... More 

Helpful?
Thank amused1
Level Contributor
26 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

Walk the Indigo Trail - at least to the two-tiered observation platform centering on its own pool and thick forest (quiet, colorful) [about 1/4 mile from the Visitor Center]. Drive the 4ish mile Wildlife Drive. Hundreds and hundreds of pelicans, cormorants, anhingas, herons, egrets, spoonbills, ospreys, kingfishers and others. From the Wulfert Keys Trail, we gazed at dolphins. We watched... More 

Helpful?
Thank deburkins
Burlington, Vermont
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

My parents took me and my husband here because they had been before and loved it so much. The entry fee is very cheep either $6 per car full or $1 if you are walking through. You can either walk, bike, drive, or take a tour bus in the park. They have several look out spots along the road way... More 

Helpful?
Thank Khorto254
Fort Myers, Florida
Level Contributor
31 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Had planned on going to the beach but too much traffic changed our minds and we decided a drive through Ding Darling was a better choice. Glad we did! Saw our first roseate spoonbill! The tide was out and the birds were in so we had an opportunity to see lots of birds. It was a little on the chilly... More 

Helpful?
Thank LSP-530

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Stillwater, Minnesota
Grandview, Missouri, United States
over a year ago
Key Largo, Florida
4 months ago
7 months ago

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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?