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Ding Darling Days!

GOOSEHUG: The Blue Goose, a refuge system icon designed by “Ding” Darling himself, appears in the “flesh” at Family Fun Day.
Live wildlife presentations, demos, crafts highlights of free ‘Ding’ Family Fun Day 2017

Sunday Family Fun Day kicks off the weeklong “Ding” Darling Days at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, on Oct. 15, 2017. 

The refuge, “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS), and Tarpon Bay Explorers (TBE) have planned a free day packed with activities for all ages from 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Following the 9:45 a.m. flag-raising ceremony presented by local Boy Scouts, the refuge will debut its new #LearningLav exhibits with a “toilet paper-cutting ceremony,” followed by a reusable goodie bag giveaway for kids in the Refuge Visitor & Education Center, while supplies last.

All-new presentations this year will take place outside under the tent and inside the center. They include a live birds of prey program by CROW outdoors and a concurrent story and fish craft inside, a People & Panthers program by Florida Wildlife Commission, and another CROW live wildlife program titled Do’s and Don’t’s of Animal Rescue. While it runs outside, Ambu Yoga and supervisory refuge ranger Toni Westland will lead a Kids Animal Yoga program inside.

Also new this year, WaterVentures Traveling Lab touring, photo ops with the Shell Love Bug, and fly fishing demos by Sanibel Fly Club will be available throughout the day. “Ding” Darling’s Monofilament Busters will also be exchanging environmentally friendly fishing weights for toxic lead weights that participants can bring that day.  

Other Sunday highlights include all-free narrated TBE tram tours of Wildlife Drive (based on availability), archery skills clinics (for ages 10 and older), a butterfly house, face painting, hot dogs, and music by the Sanibel School Steel Drumming Band and the 97.7 Latino Hits Van. 

“We estimate the value of this free event to be up to $75 for a family of four,” said “Ding” Days Committee co-chair, Ranger Toni Westland. “But the value of family- and nature-bonding? You can’t put a price tag on that.”

Continuous free shuttle service will run from the refuge’s Tram Parking Lot on Sanibel-Captiva Road (look for signs).

For a full schedule of all of the amazing events in store during the upcoming “Ding” Darling Days week, Oct. 15-21, click here!

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