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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

#1 of 55 things to do in Sanibel Island Features Animals
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
Review Highlights
It's for the BIRDS (literally)

It's a WILDLIFE refuge, not a zoo. So that means that the number of animals you will see can vary... read more

Reviewed yesterday
Alexander B T

This is a MUST SEE if you go to Sanibel. They have a museum. and a walking trail. Also, tram... read more

Reviewed yesterday
Barbara B
Saint Louis, Missouri
Read all 4,672 reviews
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  • Excellent65%
  • Very good23%
  • Average8%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible0%
Travellers talk about
“ding darling” (544 reviews)
“tram tour” (308 reviews)
“white pelicans” (208 reviews)
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
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Reviews (4,672)
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1 - 10 of 4,672 reviews

Reviewed yesterday

It's a WILDLIFE refuge, not a zoo. So that means that the number of animals you will see can vary a lot, depending on season, time of day (early or late is best), temperature, tides (low is often best). You may be lucky and see...More

Thank Alexander B T
Reviewed yesterday

This is a MUST SEE if you go to Sanibel. They have a museum. and a walking trail. Also, tram ride that takes about 1 1/2 hours and is very interesting. You can see birds, other wildlife.

Thank Barbara B
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

We had a great time visiting the center - our tour guide, Dick, was excellent - worth it because we didn't see many birds but we learned about the ecology of the site. We did see dolphins and a rare green herring! Take the tram,...More

Thank Lynn B
Reviewed yesterday

Limited wildlife to be viewed here but we enjoyed the slow drive through the backwoods of the mangrove forest. Many places to pull over and view birds and a few walkways to observe fish, hermit crabs, fiddler crabs and horseshoe crabs. Younger kids were completely...More

Thank chitsey
Reviewed 2 days ago

This wonderful wildlife preserve is one of the greatest gifts to the island of Sanibel since it provides an opportunity to walk aroud an actual mangrove forest and saltwater ponds sandwiched between the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound. Kayak, walk, or bike ride...More

Thank Dogfoodguy
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

We toured it in our car, but I would recommend paying the extra and board the tram. They will point out things you normally wouldn't see.

Thank O1278RStomh
Reviewed 2 days ago via mobile

We drive through here every time we're in town and we love it. Unfortunately, we see less and less wildlife over the years.

Reviewed 3 days ago

The guide was very informative. We got off the tram for a short walk through the mangroves where we saw various birds and other wildlife. You can drive through the park on your own and walk various trails, but the tram tour may be useful...More

Thank Kay7979
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

Loved it here. Beautiful bird watching and staff is incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. Unfortunately it was too hot for me to hike long distances in the blazing Sun. :( had to turn back and get out of the heat. If it's hot I suggest the...More

Thank Anne M
Reviewed 5 days ago

Visiting the Ding Darling Refuge was a delight. The building that houses the information center and gift shop has some wonderful displays and interactive learning tools. Tram guide threw out many fascinating facts about the refuge, the animals we were seeing, and also about Darling....More

1  Thank Mo H
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Questions & AnswersAsk a question
Deborah K
Can you drive through this park?
21 May 2017|
Answer Show all 3 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.
18 May 2017|
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.