J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel

Currently Closed
  • Address: 1 Wildlife Dr., Off Sanibel–Captiva Rd. at MM 2, Sanibel, Florida, 33957, United States
  • Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details
  • Phone: +1-2394721100
  • Time Required: 03:00 Hrs
  • Tags: Outdoors, Wildlife Sanctuary , Wildlife Park, Family And Kids
  • Map

About J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel

Jay Norwood Darling was a popular cartoonist with a passion for the environment. The double Pulitzer Prize winner was appointed head of the U.S Biological Survey and the National Wildlife Federation but his most valiant effort took place in 1945.

On the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel, lies the beautiful, luscious J.N (Ding) Darling National Wildlife Refuge. In 1945, this was a parcel of land which the government intended to sell to developers. At Darling’s behest, President Truman turned the area into a wildlife refuge, thus protecting the 6,400 acres of mangrove that thrive in the area.

  • Submerged seagrass beds, cordgrass marshes and West Indian Hardwood Hammocks will delight plant lovers.
  • Over 245 birds visit the refuge throughout the year, including different species of flamingos, pelicans, ducks, vultures, kites, hawks and falcons.
  • There are 35 species of mammals, such as bobcats, rabbits, racoons and otters.
  • The reptiles that have made this place their home are fascinating. You’ll find the American Crocodile, the American Alligator, turtles, tortoises, a variety of snakes and lizards. You’ll also meet frogs, and different kinds of fish.
  • There are a few endangered species of animals that pass by, such as the loggerhead sea turtle, the small tooth saw fish, the West Indian manatee and the wood stork.

J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge Information

  • The best place to start your journey is the visitor and information centre, which is wheelchair accessible.
  • The best time to visit is during low tide.
  • Take plenty of water, sunscreen, hats and comfortable walking shoes.
  • Dogs are allowed on the Wildlife Drive, Indigo Trail and Bailey Tract but they have to be kept on the leash no longer than 6 feet.

J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge Ticket Prices

  • Wildlife Drive: Admission: $5 per vehicle, $1 per pedestrian, $1 per bicycle.
  • Indigo Trail Admission: $1 per pedestrian, $1 per bicycle (no vehicles).
  • Bailey Tract Admission: FREE, pedestrian and bicycles only.

Restaurants Near J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge

  • Doc Ford’s Sanibel Bar and Grill (Sports bar, Caribbean)
  • Sunset Grill Incorporated (Seafood)
  • Mad Hatter Restaurant (High End, Seafood)

Love this? Explore the entire list of things to do in Sanibel before you plan your trip.

Fancy a good night's sleep after a tiring day? Check out where to stay in Sanibel and book an accommodation of your choice.

TripHobo Highlights for J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge

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Things to Know Before Visiting J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge

  • 95% of people who visit Sanibel include J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge in their plan

  • 79.27% of people start their J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge visit around 09 AM - 10 AM

  • People usually take around 3 Hrs to see J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Wednesday, Friday and Sunday

95% of people prefer to travel by car while visiting J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge

People normally club together Sanibel Causeway and Clinic For The Rehabilitation Of Wildlife Crow while planning their visit to J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

People also prefer to start their day with J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

* The facts given above are based on traveler data on TripHobo and might vary from the actual figures

J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Reviews

  • Taking the tram was a nice way to quickly see the park. The tour guide provided a fair bit of information about the wildlife we saw, such as the migratory patterns of the birds and how the estuary is a natural fish hatchery. He was knowledgeable about the questions people asked. The tour was 90 minutes long and it went by extremely quickly. Driving or biking through the park and spending more time at each stop would be nice as well. There are a few places you can get out and walk on boardwalks or trails.

  • Absolutely beautiful! $5 per car provides all day access. My family and I used to come here on family vacations, so we revisited recently. It was incredible the amount of wildlife you can see in only an hour or two. There were helpful guides along the way who answered our questions. Great visitors and education center that tells the history of Ding Darling. Will be going back again soon!

  • Best place ever to see alligators in the wild, up close and personal. This is beautiful, unspoiled island scenery. The birding opportunities are wonderful as well. Be sure to bring mosquito repellent, you will definitely need it.

  • This is a nice nature reserve, there is a walking path and a vehicle path. I would recommend that you pay for the walking path and that you will be doing the car path it will cost you five dollars. This island is definitely family oriented.

  • Take the 9:30 car tour with Joanne! Fantastic and knowledgeable guide. She makes four or five stops as opposed to the Tram, which only makes one stop. Tons of pretty birds. You can self-tour with a mobile app as well. There are employees scattered around the park willing to chat with you too.

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