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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
Amazing place to see native Florida wildlife.

The visitors center is free and has interesting exhibits, videos and films and the shop has... read more

Reviewed 1 June 2016
Brentwood, Essex
Bang for your buck during Sanibel visit, Can't Miss!

For just $5 entry on day we went, it's an amazing deal for nature and wildlife you see. Not sure if... read more

Reviewed 1 June 2016
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Read all 4,840 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” (561 reviews)
“tram tour” (319 reviews)
“white pelicans” (209 reviews)
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
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Reviews (4,840)
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1,121 - 1,130 of 4,562 reviews

Reviewed 1 June 2016

The visitors center is free and has interesting exhibits, videos and films and the shop has something for everyone. But the most important things to do here are the tram rides with a ranger showing you all the native wildlife in the reserve - birds,...More

Thank EssexGirl324
Reviewed 1 June 2016

For just $5 entry on day we went, it's an amazing deal for nature and wildlife you see. Not sure if extra to tour building off parking area. Allows you all day entry with receipt. You can spend 30 min or all day. We took...More

Thank rtjatlas
Reviewed 1 June 2016

Very interesting to learn about the area and discover what we were looking at. If we had just driven through the preserve, we wouldn't have appreciated it. The tour guide was terrific and fun. It was the fastest 1-1/2 hours on our trip.

Thank CathyOnHudson
Reviewed 31 May 2016

Unfortunately although I did not get to visit J.N. Ding Darling this time around and visited it last year, I strongly suggest it as a must see place. Oh, the birds and wildlife you will see. For bird lovers and nature lovers you will love...More

Thank estherp618
Reviewed 31 May 2016 via mobile

Nice place to take a short appx.1 1/2 hour trip. Depending on skill level. Would be great for first timers. Saw some fish and birds lots of scenery.

Thank Ed R
Reviewed 30 May 2016 via mobile

Looking for something to do? This was a neat little drive (or you can hike it) for the whole family. Plenty of places to park song the drive and check things out. Be sure to check out the visitors center for some educational fun for...More

1  Thank hipmomof2IL
Reviewed 30 May 2016 via mobile

The refuge is fascinating. From herons to crabs, the guides explain it all well. The tram is worth taking for the information given.

Thank pattycritch
Reviewed 29 May 2016

One of the best refuges to stroll through. The displays are outstanding which also displays local school drawing and photo contest pictures. The refuge drive is a must see early in the morning or later in the evening to see more birds, during the day...More

1  Thank upone2000
Reviewed 29 May 2016

The refuge is such an impressive place it is hard to describe. We'd recommend taking the naturalist led tour. You will see more than if you go in your own car and will learn a lot. Plan to spend several hours and be sure to...More

Thank Phll B
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
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Questions & Answers
14 August 2017|
Response from Katie W | Reviewed this property |
Depends on how much you enjoy the outdoors. For my family a drive through the refuge with occasional stops along the roadway suffices. For us a couple of hours does the trick. If you are avid about the outdoors and getting... More
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 7 answers
Response from Lsterry | Reviewed this property |
Yes. It costs $5 but it's a beautiful drive.