U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service logo A Unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System
Banner graphic displaying the Fish & Wildlife Service logo and National Wildlife Refuge System tagline

J.N. "Ding" Darling
National Wildlife Refuge

Roseate Spoonbill taking flight.
1 Wildlife Drive
Sanibel, FL   33957
E-mail: dingdarling@fws.gov
Phone Number: 239-472-1100
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
One of our most visible attractions at the J.N. "Ding " Darling National Wildlife Refuge is the Roseate Spoonbill.
Gray horizontal line
  Recreation and Education Opportunities

Environmental Education
Environmental Eucational activities are available to schools, scout groups, homeschoolers, and professional groups at no charge by refuge staff. If you are interested in these offerings, please call the refuge for additional information.

Fresh and saltwater fishing are allowed along Wildlife Drive, Tarpon Bay Recreational Area and Bailey Tract. No shelling allowed. Crabbing permitted except in CLOSED areas. (Note: Florida state fishing license and regulations apply.)

No hunting is allowed on the refuge.

Interpretive programs led by park rangers and volunteers are free to the public and available daily during the winter season from January-April. Learning exhibits and refuge film are available at the refuges 12,000 square foot Educational Center. For guided canoe/kayak trips, tram rides, or bike rentals, contact Tarpon Bay Explorers at 239-472-8900 for further information.

Wildlife Observation
Wildlife Observation and Photography Wildlife observation and photography are abundant at Ding Darling on the over 8 miles of trail system winding through estuarian and freshwater habitats. Wildlife Drive, a 4-mile paved drive, offers many picturesque views. Stop at our observation tower and at Mangrove Overlook located on Wildlife Drive. Three hiking trails, the Indigo Trail, Shell Mound Trail, and the Bailey Tract, offer close observation of wildlife in the refuge. Two canoeing trails, Commodore Creek and Buck Key, offer great birding opportunities for visitors.

Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is a national educational program to inform visitors about reducing the damage caused by outdoor activities, particularly non-motorized recreation. Leave No Trace principles and practices are based on an abiding respect for the natural world and our fellow wildland visitors. We can act on behalf of the places and wildlife that inspire us by adopting the skills and ethics that enable us to Leave No Trace.

1. Plan ahead and prepare.
2. Travel on durable surfaces.
3. Dispose of waste properly.
4. Leave what you find.
5. Respect wildlife.
6. Be considerate of other visitors.

For more information on Leave No Trace, visit the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics Web site. (http://www.lnt.org)

Educational Center - Open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (January 1 - April 30) 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (May 1 - December 31)

Wildlife Drive is open Saturday thru Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to sunset.

*Please note: Wildlife Drive is closed every Friday.

Entrance Fees
Private vehicle - $5.00
Pedestrian - $1.00
Bicyclist - $1.00

Use Fees
A daily permit is required of all visitors to Wildlife Drive unless they possess an annual pass, Golden Age or Access passport, Federal Duck Stamp or Golden Eagle passport.
- Refuge Profile Page -