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Refuge announces scheduling for visitor center, store and more

By REFUGE / DDWS - | Jan 5, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge's Visitor & Education Center schedule will be Monday through Saturday starting in the new year. Hands-on exhibits remain closed.

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel recently announced changes to its scheduling due to the lingering effects of the pandemic.

Starting Jan. 3, the Visitor & Education Center will be closed every Sunday until further notice. On Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the front desk and Refuge Nature Store will be open in the center. All exhibits remain closed.

“Sunday has been our slowest day of the week since we reopened and the hardest day to get volunteers to help work the front desk,” Supervisory Refuge Ranger Toni Westland said. “Closing that day also gives us a better opportunity to more thoroughly sanitize facilities to ensure the safety of our visitors and staff.”

The center’s restrooms will stay open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wildlife Drive will continue with its seasonal schedule of Saturdays through Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tarpon Bay Explorers recreation concession will operate according to its regular schedule.

Beginning Feb. 1, the refuge will begin offering a regular schedule of free programs five days a week. In January, it begins its free artist-in-residence programs, featuring Fort Myers artist Rachel Pierce. Watch for more details at dingdarlingsociety.org.

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