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

#1 of 326 in Wildlife in Southwest Gulf Coast
Must see · Wildlife Area · Nature / Park
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
6,149 reviews
  • Really interesting place. Also dog friendly . If you have a National Parks pass you get in free. Lots of birds. We didn’t take the tram. Not sure why you’d need to  more »
  • car cruise limited what you can do. take the bike if you can. a lot cheaper and decent, level pavement  more »
  • We drove ourselves on the Wildlife Drive!!! What an amazing drive for only $5!! You can get out of your cars and view the scenery. We were so impressed with all to see! We saw all types of birds, spiders and crabs! We even saw a gator and a shark!! What a great experience!! Highly recommend!!
  • We arrived hoping to catch the trolley bus tour. Please be advised they will not run the bus unless there are a minimum of 4 people. They need to advertise this fact before people travel there. The 9am did not run luckily the 12.30 pm did. Be advised to ensure you have plenty of water with you on the tour. They could really do with an air conditioned cafe inside while hanging around for the bus. The tour bus driver was informative and we were able to see birds and one alligator at a cost of $13 per adult. I believe the $6 Per vehicle self drive is worth it with a bird guide book and a pair of binoculars.

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