Along the Gulfshore

Calendar Highlight: 'Ding' Darling Days

Starting Sunday, the J.N. "Ding" Darling Wildlife Refuge ramps up its programming for "Ding" Darling Days.


The best way to see J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is back, and it’s the year of the bird. The theme carries through the weeklong “Ding” Darling Days festival of free and discounted events Oct. 16-22, with feathered fun like birding excursions; a red-tailed hawk presentation by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida; a paint-the-pelican contest and bird dress-up booth for the kids; and a five-flick International Bird Film Festival. You and the family can also take an educational hike, guided tram ride or sunset kayak; learn the art of archery or stand-up paddleboarding; catch many an environmental presentation; and more. And when the “Ding” Darling Days are over, there’s still special reason to visit the refuge—starting Oct. 29 and running through Dec. 9, it will play host to Smithsonian traveling exhibit Water/Ways, which examines water and all its impact in a global context.