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‘Ding’ Days Friday features special Wildlife Drive access

By Staff | Oct 8, 2010

Bike or hike the refuge on Friday, Oct. 22 to have Wildlife Drive virtually all to yourself.

If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s Wildlife Drive without the traffic and the people that its birds and other sights attract, mark Friday, Oct. 22, on your calendar.

Normally, Wildlife Drive closes to all visitors every Friday. As part of the week-long “Ding” Darling Days, Oct. 17 to 23, this special Friday celebration includes free Wildlife Drive admission to hikers and bikers and special Tarpon Bay Tram Tours throughout the day.

The refuge is leading a free guided bike tour of the Drive that day, beginning at 10 a.m. Below is a schedule for the day’s tours.

Note that admission to Wildlife Drive is free for vehicular as well as bike and foot traffic the following day, Saturday, Oct. 23 – Conservation Art Day.

“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge sponsors “Ding” Darling Days with support from Tarpon Bay Explorers, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and other private and business partners.

To become a friend of the refuge, visit www.dingdarlingsociety.org.

For the full “Ding” Darling Days schedule, visit www.dingdarlingdays.com or call 472-1100.

“Ding” Darling Days activity schedule for Friday, Oct. 22 (SUBHEAD)

(TBE = Tarpon Bay Explorers; EC = Refuge Education Center)

• 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. — Wildlife Drive is open FREE to hikers/bikers, closed to vehicular traffic

• 8 to 11 a.m. — FREE Bunche Beach Birding Tram, meet at EC flagpole. Limited reservations, call 472-8900

• 8:30 to 10 a.m. — Breakfast Nature & Sea Life Cruise, TBE, 25 percent off: $18.75 adults, $11:25 children. Reservations required, 472-8900

• 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Guided Kayak Tour, TBE, 25 percent off: $22.50 adults, $15 children. Reservations required, 472-8900

• 10 to 11:30 a.m. — FREE Refuge Bike Tour, meet at EC flagpole

• 10 to 11:30 a.m. — Special Friday Refuge Tram Tour, $13 for adults, $8 for children. Reservations required, 472-8900

• 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Sea Life & Nature Cruise, TBE, 25 percent off: $15 for adults, $9 for children. Reservations required, 472-8900

• 12:45 to 1:15 p.m. — FREE Deck Talk: Calusa Indians, TBE

• 1 to 2:30 p.m. — Special Friday Refuge Tram Tour, $13 for adults, $8 for children. Reservations required, 472-8900

• 1 to 3 p.m. — Guided Kayak Tour, TBE, 25 percent off: $22.50 adults, $15 children. Reservations required, 472-8900

• 1:30 to 3 p.m. — Sea Life & Nature Cruise, TBE, 25 percent off: $15 for adults, $9 for children. Reservations required, 472-8900

• 4 to 5:30 p.m. — Special Friday Refuge Tram Tour, $13 for adults, $8 for children. Reservations required, 472-8900

• 5 to 7 p.m. — Evening Sea Life & Nature Cruise, TBE, 25 percent off: $18.75 for adults, $11.25 for children. Reservations required, 472-8900

• 5 to 7 p.m. — Sunset Paddle, TBE, 25 percent off: $30 for adults, $18.75 for children. Reservations required, 472-8900

“Ding” Darling Days 2010 sponsors include Breeze Newspapers, Doc Ford’s Sanibel Rum Bar & Grille, Island Sun, Sundial Beach Resort, Times of the Islands, Bailey’s General Store, Cedar Chest Fine Jewelry, Jerry’s Foods, Ocean’s Reach, The Royal Shell Companies, The Sanctuary Golf Club, Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, Sanibel Captiva Trust Company, Jim and Patty Sprankle, ‘Tween Waters Inn, West Wind Inn, Mike and Terry Baldwin, Bank of the Islands, Barefoot Charley’s Painting, Blind Pass Condominium Vacation Rentals, Caloosa Tent and the Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva.

Other sponsors include Sanibel-Captiva Kiwanis, The Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market, Clem Werner Family, Big Red Q Quickprint, Casa Ybel Resort, Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP), Good Wheels, Island Therapy Center, Kirchner Contracting, Lighthouse Café of Sanibel, Edward Lamotta, M.D, Over Easy Café, Panther Printing, Sanibel Art & Frame, Sanibel Day Spa, SanibelSusan Realty Associates, She Sells Sea Shells, Suncatchers’ Dream, Wendy & George Schnapp, Winston & Barbara Spurgeon, Traders Café and Twilight Café.