Plan Your Visit

Purple and Orange Sunset

"A national wildlife restoration program is based on the premise that wildlife is not only worth our efforts to restore it, but that its restoration is absolutely and vitally essential to the welfare of our citizens" - Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling

Know Before You Go

  1. The best place to start your visit is the FREE Visitor & Education Center! It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is closed on Sunday and all federal holidays. Parking is FREE.  Clean restrooms and water bottle filling stations!  The Center is open for information desk and Nature Store only. EXHIBITS ARE CLOSED. The Center is handicap-accessible and is full of educational displays, videos, interactive programs, volunteers to answer all of your questions, and a Nature Gift Store. Holiday closures include: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.  
  2. Wildlife Drive is open every day, EXCEPT FRIDAYS, all year regardless of the holidays. Click here for hours and admission prices for Wildlife DriveTake a tram, a 90 minute tour along the Wildlife Drive with a guided naturalist. Click here for the tram tour schedule.
  3. The best time to visit is during LOW TIDE! Check the tide charts to see when the tide will be low.  
  4. Florida is HOT! Make sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, hats, and bug spray, and wear a hat and comfortable walking shoes to ensure your safety while enjoying the Refuge.
  5. Speed limits are STRICTLY ENFORCED! To ensure the safety of everyone, we ask that you please follow all speed limit signs and safety instructions and wear your seatbelts. While engulfed in nature, many people are not aware of their surroundings so please pay attention to what is around you. 
  6. Dogs are permitted on Wildlife Drive, Indigo Trail, and the Bailey Tract as long as they are kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times. Click here for all rules and regulations of the Refuge.
  7. Visit the Refuge's official concessionaire, Tarpon Bay Explorers located 2 miles from the Visitor & Education Center.