J.N. Ding Darling Refuge, Sanibel Island
Named for the editorial cartoonist and pioneer conservationist. There is a 5 mile paved loop which you can either drive or bicycle. Great for birders and nature enthusiasts. There are frequent sitings of gators which we did not see but did see many fish jumping out of the waters. If you visit, definitely bring binoculars.
See TRAVELOGUE for more photos.
We go at various times of the year and each time it's a different experience. It also pays to go at different times of the day. We have seen various birds, alligator, snake but my favorite it was a mantee and her baby. We were actually stopping to see a bird on a dead tree when my husband spotted the manatee ... yeahhh how cute, having trouble finding the pics but it was a moment I will never forget
The wildlife refuge is a protected area for snakes, alligators, bald eagles and falcons. Unfortunately, I didn't see any while there. I spent a bit of time wandering around the refuge and reading the exhibits at the visitor's center. There are a couple of trails in the area, including one which starts at the visitor's center and leads 4 miles to an estuary. But it was too hot to trudge 4 miles on a hot dirt path through an area which resembled the Everglades. At least I thought so.
There is an auto road which loops around 5 miles of the refuge and a tram tour which does as well. Spend some time on either and you'll have a better chance of spotting wildlife. Just make sure to bring water and mosquito repellant.