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J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

By Staff | Aug 20, 2020

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge features nature trails, excursions, and wildlife programs inside the Visitor & Education Center. PHOTO BY Jason Boeckman/COURTESY OF LEE COUNTY VISITOR & CONVENTION BUREAU

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is one of 560 refuges across the United States. Named after editorial cartoonist and conservationist Jay Norwood Darling, the refuge features nature trails, excursions, and wildlife programs inside the Visitor & Education Center.

There are the Birds and Wildlife, Calusa/Shell Mound Trail, Birds and Wildlife, Calusa/Shell Mound Trail, Biking the Refuge, Bailey Tract, and Birding tours; Birds of the Refuge, Florida Manatees, Florida’s Venomous Wildlife, Story and Wildlife Wonders, Gators and Crocs, Endangered Species, Horseshoe Crabs, and Nature Photography programs; and Beach Walk and Indigo Trail Walk.

In addition, Wildlife Drive is four-mile long paved road where the common sightings include sandpipers, blue herons, roseate spoonbills and egrets. Visitors can also explore Indigo Trail, the Wildlife Education Boardwalk, Shellmound Trail and Wulfert Keys Trail, which can be accessed via Wildlife Drive. The Bailey Tract is a 100-acre parcel located off of Tarpon Bay Road.

The Visitor & Education Center is free and open to the public.

Admission to Wildlife Drive is $5 per vehicle, $1 per pedestrian and$1 per bicycle; Indigo Trail is $1 per pedestrian and $1 per bicycle; and the Bailey Tract is free for pedestrians and bicycles only.

For more information, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/jn_ding_darling or call 239-472-1100.

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is at 1 Wildlife Drive.