Home > Area Guide > Parks & Nature > J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located on Sanibel Island and is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States. It is world famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations.

Created to safeguard and enhance the pristine wildlife, protect endangered and threatened species, and provide feeding, nesting, and roosting areas the refuge provides important habitat to over 220 species of birds. It consists of over 6,400 acres of:

  • Mangrove Forest
  • Submerged Seagrass Beds
  • Cordgrass Marshes
  • West Indian Hardwood Hammocks

Approximately 2,800 acres of the refuge are designated by Congress as a Wilderness Area. You can walk, drive or bike through 5 miles of the Refuge, complete with scenic overlook towers.

The Education Center, the refuge's visitor center, is the perfect place to begin your tour and features interactive exhibits on refuge ecosystems, the work of "Ding" Darling, migratory flyways, the National Wildlife Refuge System, and a hands-on area for children.




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