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
6,276 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • We went to the free Bailey Tract and the paid Darling section. We saw the same amount of wildlife (if not more) at the free Bailey Tract as we did at their main site. We rode our bikes to Bailey... 
    We went to the free Bailey Tract and the paid Darling section. We saw the same amount of wildlife (if not more) at the free Bailey Tract as we did at their main site. We rode our bikes to Bailey...  more »
  • 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 »
Google
  • Visited here for a few hours and loved it. Took a tram tour first and then walked around. It’s very relaxing - not overly crowded and if you take the time to take the paths off the main trails you will see some fun wildlife. We saw a heron nesting with her babies up close. Plan to spend at least 2-3 hours. Highly recommend.
  • First time to this area and really enjoyed Sanibel Island. The welcome center at the wildlife refuge was great! The people were all very friendly and informative. We took one of the boat tours as a family and enjoyable by my older mother in law and my 3 1/2 year old. Hope to be back again soon.

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