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Ding Darling Days Returns to Sanibel

The 26th annual “Ding” Darling Days, on Sanibel Island, will devote one day each from October 18 to 24 to specific topics relevant to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The event honors National Wildlife Refuge Week and celebrates the 139th birthday of the refuge’s namesake, the father of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Duck Stamp, on October 21.

Family Fun Day kicks off the weeklong birding and eco-festival with free activities, including  narrated refuge tram tours, live wildlife presentations, kids’ nature crafts, a touch tank, a butterfly house and archery lessons. Each day features free related activities and daily topics that include Pollinator Day, October 19; Beach & Water Day, October 20; Eco-Innovation Day; October 21; Calusa Day, October 22; Trails Day, October 23; and Conservation Art Day, October 24, featuring the Duck Stamp Artist presentation and a first-ever Paint Your Own Ding Darling DaysPortrait of a Sand Dollar, presented by Painting with a Twist of Fort Myers.

In addition, the refuge is issuing free annual passes ($80 value) to any national wildlife refuge, national park or forest, valid through August 2016, to any fourth-grade student and home school equivalent, siblings up to age 15 and up to three accompanying adults as part of President Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative.

To receive free pass, print voucher at and bring it to the fee booth. Location: 1 Wildlife Dr. For more information, call 239-472-1100 or visit

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