J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel

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About J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel

J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel - Address, Phone Number

Address: 1 Wildlife Dr., Off Sanibel–Captiva Rd. at MM 2, Sanibel, Florida, 33957, United States

Phone: +1-2394721100

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Time Required: 03:00 Hrs

Timings: 09:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

Added 3.2K times in trip plans

Outdoors, Wildlife Sanctuary , Wildlife Park, Family And Kids

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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.

J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Reviews - Write a Review

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  • Beautiful refuge. I highly recommend biking wildlife drive. Saw lots of birds including spoonbills, white pelicans, anhingas, grebes, little blue herons and osprey.

  • Bus load of Veterans getting a personal tour and the Staff an Volunteers there were awesome. Very knowledgeable. 10 of 10! Thanks from us Veterans from TN, ALA, KY, and GA. Have a great wkend and thanks again. PHWFFMTVR

  • Nice four mile morning hike on the Indigo Trail. Get it done before 10 a.m. however or the sun will get you. Saw some birds and hundreds of tiny lizards. If you stand still for several minutes, you will hear a lot moving all around you. The loud gravel path shuffles under your steps and announces to all animals that humans are nearby.

  • Although heavy rains prohibited us from the Wildlife Drive, we've been here many times in the past. Sometimes there are spectacular views of animals in their habitat and sometimes none, but the peace and tranquility of the preserve is really the big takeaway here. The visitors center is a must-do. Dozens of interactive displays and exhibits. The volunteers here are very well informed on virtually all aspects of the preserve as well as flora and fauna.

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  • Visited for the first time. The Visitor center was interesting and informative. Took the Wildlife Drive which was uneventful on this 95 degree day. Calusa Shell Mound trail was interesting. Read the information stations and look closely or you may miss the Shell mounds. Next trip we will hike more of the trails. Looking forward to fishing there and to taking some pics of the wildlife.

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