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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

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Review Highlights
A slice of Paradise

We visited the refuge every year for many years when we were staying nearby for Spring Breaks with... read more

Reviewed 2 days ago
United States
A MUST to get in touch with nature

When in Florida, Sanibel Island is s a MUST for me to see nature at J.N. Ding Darling National... read more

Reviewed 3 days ago
Stan K
Mundelein, Illinois
Read all 5,470 reviews
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Certificate of Excellence
Traveler Overview
  • Excellent66%
  • Very good23%
  • Average8%
  • Poor2%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“ding darling”(623 reviews)
“tram tour”(358 reviews)
“white pelicans”(238 reviews)
Established in 1945, this wildlife refuge occupies one-third of Sanibel Island and is a prime spot for bird watching. Fees are required for Wildlife Drive, which is open everyday but is closed on Fridays, gate times vary. The best way to plan your...more
Suggested duration: More than 3 hours
1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3032
+1 239-472-1100
Most Helpful Positive Review
Reviewed 29 December 2002

What a delight to be able to see so many species of birds (and other wildlife) where they stay still long enough to photograph or even just look at through good binoculars (recommend 7X to 10X) (12X IF you have a tripod). Bicycles are available...More

18  Thank Traveler16608
Most Helpful Critical Review
Reviewed 19 May 2010

I wish I had not opted for the tram tour. I'd rather have made my own way. The tour started well enough and we stopped to take some photos of birds in the water. We continued up and stopped again while the guide started talking...More

32  Thank Davylynne
Reviews (5,470)
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All reviews ding darling tram tour white pelicans roseate spoonbills mile drive indigo trail closed on fridays visitor center the reserve drive thru fish tree crabs low tide bailey tract mangrove trees bird watching nature center
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1 - 10 of 5,149 reviews
Reviewed 2 days ago

We visited the refuge every year for many years when we were staying nearby for Spring Breaks with our kids, 20 years ago. We went back in Oct. 2018. It is such a beautiful refuge. The visitors center has been expanded and the viewing platforms...More

Thank StockholmSJA
Reviewed 3 days ago

When in Florida, Sanibel Island is s a MUST for me to see nature at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. What is nice you can drive through the refuge and pull your car over to spend time to observe and possibly photograph.

Thank Stan K
Reviewed 3 days ago via mobile

Even though we have been coming to Sanibel for more than 20 years, we never get tired of touring the Ding Darling. It’s a great bike ride with beautiful views of the local wildlife and, if your lucky, an occasional alligator.

1  Thank monicaoY8852NZ
Reviewed 5 days ago

There is a free Visitors Center. Be sure to check out the restrooms as they are unique. Many hiking trails. In addition, there is a narrated tram ride/tour of the area for a modest price which is interesting and worthwhile.

Thank Randy L
Reviewed 6 days ago

We loved our early morning visit to Ding Darling. Such a beautiful peaceful place. We especially love the ladies restroom!

Thank B4556VRmaryr
Reviewed 6 days ago

The parking and heat wasn't fun. I did enjoy the wild life. Lots of bugs, so go prepared with bug spray and you will enjoy this park much more. I am sure if it we cooler we would have stayed longer. The color non the...More

Thank Darlene F
Reviewed 6 days ago via mobile

Ding Darling is one of our favorite places to bike! The round trip is an 8 mile loop. You’ll see beautiful birds, fish, alligators, iguanas, manatees and more! The bike trip is safe and enjoyable! I’d recommend this for children and seniors alike! We brought...More

Thank susanj842
Reviewed 6 days ago

Just returned from 3 weeks on Sanibel. Visited Ding Darling 5 times. Saw roseate spoonbills, anhingas, white ibis, white egrets, herons, other wildlife. Not a lot, but you have to be patient and perhaps willing to visit more than once and at different times of...More

Thank Kal-Traveler
Reviewed 6 days ago via mobile

Oink Spoonbills, Bird Sanctuary a walk in the park with Nature at its best. You can drive through for people not able to walk and stop at viewing areas.

Thank H9711LOlarryw
Reviewed 1 week ago

With the recent issues that the entire island has had with the Red Tide issue, this refuge has also suffered. It was sad to hear about the losses they endured. Knowing the calibre of their fine staff, though, they will rebound in the future!

Thank LivinglifeinPA
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Questions & Answers
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8 April 2018|
Response from PrMichaelM | Reviewed this property |
Yes it is. The visitor center is open every day but the wildlife drive does close on Fridays. So don't wait until the last day of your vacation to visit Ding Darling!
Mary S
3 April 2018|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from cvaccaro58 | Reviewed this property |
I didn’t see any, but there are lots of birds.