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

4.5
#1 of 207 in Parks in Southwest Gulf Coast
Must see · Wildlife Area · Nature / Park
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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
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
6,290 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Nice place. Very interesting. Not a lot of shade if you are on a bike. Lots of birds. Only 1 dollar for hikers or bikers. 
    Nice place. Very interesting. Not a lot of shade if you are on a bike. Lots of birds. Only 1 dollar for hikers or bikers.  more »
  • Great place to spend a couple of hours, get some walking in, and view some amazing nature. And it’s free. Even though busy it didn't feel crowded. 
    Great place to spend a couple of hours, get some walking in, and view some amazing nature. And it’s free. Even though busy it didn't feel crowded.  more »
Google
  • ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL!! Spend the day riding a bicycle along the trails or take a drive in the car. The views are just breathe taking and the peacefulness is something we all need. Please check it out...worth the trip. Public bathrooms available and for the drive thru its $10 per vehicle.
  • An incredible place. The information center is full of historical insights about the island and the man behind the Ding Darling preserve. There are plenty of interact-able displays and activities that both children and adults alike can enjoy. The trail itself is four miles long and features a plethora of birds, animals, fish, and plant life. If you're visiting Sanibel, this place should definitely be on your to-do list.

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