J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

4.4
#1 of 76 in Things to do in Sanibel Island
Nature / Park · Wildlife Area
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Considered Florida's prime bird-watching area, J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge protects one of the nation's largest mangrove ecosystems. Named after cartoonist "Ding" Darling, an important figure in the conservationist movement of the 1930s, the refuge provides a temporary home for migratory bird populations and attracts almost a million annual visitors with its "wildlife drive," a windy road through the mangrove forest and the tidal flats. You can watch thousands of birds from the comfort of your car, or drop into the visitor center to see interactive exhibits about great egrets, wood storks, blue herons, white pelicans, cormorants, ospreys, and bald eagles. The center also includes a bookstore that sells nature books and field guides. Using our international travel planner, Sanibel Island attractions like J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
6,275 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Went to Ding Darling for a birding trip. the walking trail was sparsely populated with birds. The driving trail was better but better but somehow dumps you out on a road at the back of the refuge... 
    Went to Ding Darling for a birding trip. the walking trail was sparsely populated with birds. The driving trail was better but better but somehow dumps you out on a road at the back of the refuge...  more »
  • We’ve been to DD many times both with guests and just ourselves. We’ve seen birds that are not from our northern area. And depending in the particular time of the year, there can be many migrant.....  more
    We’ve been to DD many times both with guests and just ourselves. We’ve seen birds that are not from our northern area. And depending in the particular time of the year, there can be many migrant.....  more »
Google
  • Ding Darling was an absolutely beautiful location to visit. The one way drive around the loop was really nice as it had plenty of places to pull over and park the car so you could get out and enjoy the beauty. The wildlife was amazing. A great place to go if you are a Wildlife Photographer.
  • Maybe we were just there on an off day, but it did not live up to the hype. We went on a Thursday. Did the drive and got out at the recommended spots. Saw some birds. No other wildlife. Nothing we hadn't already seen plenty of other places. Visitor Center is nice and the workers there are super friendly. Just felt the drive wasn't quite worth it.

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