Where Can You See Sanibel Wildlife?

While Sanibel Island is known for its shelling opportunities, there’s so much more to be discovered here. Some of the most popular Sanibel Island attractions include strolling down the white sand beaches, sampling the fresh local seafood, and getting up close and personal with the most interesting wildlife. Luckily, Sanibel Island offers three convenient places to learn more about the plant and animal life, all conveniently located near our Sanibel beachfront rentals.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

At this local wildlife refuge, you can learn about the history of Sanibel Island while standing in the presence of rare bird species and the most breathtaking nature. You can take a hike or a bike ride along the Indigo Trail and Bailey Track, then visit the Visitors and Education Center to speak with a park ranger and learn more about the area. Experience the four-mile wildlife drive to see animals like alligators, raccoons, bobcats, and more. You can take to the water through kayaking, canoeing, boating, or stand up paddleboarding.

The wildlife refuge is open year-round, although some individual attractions may vary in operating hours. Please visit their website for admission costs and individual hours for each activity. You can also take in the wildlife preserve and other birdwatching sanctuaries during one of the many bird walks with the Sanibel-Captiva Audobon Society!

heron on sanibel island
Photo from Shutterstock

Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW)

Because Sanibel Island is home to so many species of animals, there is a wide emphasis on conservation and rehabilitation. This is the basis behind the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife, also referred to as CROW. They hold various programs and presentations throughout the year, including daily presentations featuring an Animal Ambassador and conversations about the wildlife rescue efforts. You can also embark on a Wildlife Walk, led by one of the rehabilitators or staff members of the center. You’ll get to go behind the scenes at the hospital to see animals being cared for in real-time!

The Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife is located at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road. They are open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The clinic is open Monday through Saturday from January to April, and they operate Monday through Friday from May through December. Adult admission (ages 13 and older) is $12, child admission (ages 4 to 12) is $7, and children 3 and under are free.

Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation

For more than 50 years, the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation has been working to protect the island and the plants and animals that call the area home. The rotating events throughout the year help to educate both locals and visitors on the conservation efforts and the importance of preserving our environment. Come out for a Caloosahatchee Oxbow and River Lore Cruise, watch nature at night during Evenings at the Homestead, or take part in an annual fundraising event. You may also catch a special guest lecture depending on when you visit! There is a full calendar available on their website.

The foundation maintains six public preserves throughout Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Visit their website to learn more about each preserve and their hours of operation. The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation’s main office is located at 3333 Sanibel Captiva Road. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Whether you are already interested in nature or not, you will learn something new and find something that interests you at one of these Sanibel wildlife resources. They are all operated by knowledgeable and friendly staff who are passionate about protecting our environment and educating the public.

You can easily reach any of these three locations from our Sanibel Island rentals. We offer rental options for every group, so whether you’re traveling with your whole extended family or it’s just you and your sweetheart, you’ll have the vacation home of your dreams! Get ready for an exciting trip full of wildlife, beach visits, and beautiful weather in Sanibel, Florida. Contact us today to learn more about Sanibel Island and all of our available rentals.



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