J.n. Darling National Wildlife RefugeCurrently 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
- Ticket Price: Free
- Time Required: 03:00 Hrs
- Tags: Outdoors, Wildlife Sanctuary , Wildlife Park, Family And Kids
J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge - Review
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.
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
09 AM - 10 AM
77.05% 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
95% of people prefer to travel by car while visiting J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge
J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge Map
J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge Trips
J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Reviews
We visited on our honeymoon, and had a great visit. This time we were back again with a seven-month-old baby. The bathroom facilities are excellent. The Visitor Center was very baby friendly. There was a diaper changing station in the bathroom, and everything was very wheelchair / stroller accessible. Great place for young kids. We paid a dollar each to do a little hiking. We saw some nests with baby birds near an observation tower. We chose to only hike half a mile head back (pushing the stroller.) The hike is not very shaded, so I would only recommend going early in the morning, especially if you have kids. Very fun experience both times.
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!
I have never been on an African safari but this experience could be described as a Florida safari. You drive your car through the refuge and can make stops to see all the wildlife in action. There are different types of stops. One is a tower to look out of and others arelook out points on the water. If you are anywhere near Lee County you should visit Ding Darling.
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.
All QuestionsJ.n. darling national wildlife refuge
Find places near J.n. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel
ATM 4249 Sanibel Captiva Rd1.539 km away
Keith M. Halik, R.Ph. 3364 Twin Lakes Ln1.672 km away
Doc Ford's Sanibel Bar & Grill 975 Rabbit Rd0.522 km away
Java Butler 565 Lake Murex Cir1.669 km away
Doc Fords 4301 Sanibel Captiva Rd1.76 km away
Traditions on the Beach 3111 W Gulf Dr2.609 km away
Normandie Seaside Pub 3345 W Gulf Dr2.149 km away
F C Harrity Corporation 975 Rabbit Rd0.525 km away
VSI Mobil Mix 3840 Sanibel Captiva Rd0.379 km away