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

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. By using our Sanibel Island trip builder app , you can arrange your visit to J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and other attractions in Sanibel Island.
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J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
5,731 reviews
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4.5
TripAdvisor
  • We stopped at the visitor center first. A volunteer who was quite knowledgeable and obviously enjoyed her work gave us a terrific overview. There are many things to do but we chose the riding circuit....  more »
  • Year after year the Ding Darling refuge never disappoints. The birds are amazing and if you go at the right time you can see the white pelicans on their way to Minnesota. Bring binoculars,water, and s...  more »
Google
  • It was a hot day so we chose to drive through the refuge in our car. $5. We did see birds and mangrove trees. Not many other creatures but it was rather hot. There were several spots to pull over and park. We walked to lovely boardwalk areas. There is a visitors center that is free though we did not check it out.
  • This is a photographer's paradise! We visited on Friday Feb 22, 2019, and at first were disappointed because the Wildlife Drive was closed. We took the time to visit the Visitor's Center (very nice and worthwhile!) before walking the Indigo Trail. It was near the middle of the day and we were able to witness two Roseate Spoonbills doing their entire bathing and grooming routine. Wow! It was beautiful and something we will never forget.

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