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“Family Fun” Day!

Photo by David Staver

Sunday “Family Fun Day” winds up the weekend-long “Ding” Darling Days at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, October 14.

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

New this year, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will be displaying a spread of its emergency-response vehicles for an interactive visitor experience outside. Inside, when it comes time to cool down, the Kidz Kool Zone in the Visitor & Education Center will include Animal Yoga, environmental puppet shows, face painting, and make-and-take arts and crafts activities. Kids can also participate in a scavenger hunt of the new Learning Lavatories exhibits for a chance at prizes.

Wildlife presentations outside under the “big top” showcase snakes, birds of prey, and animal ambassadors from the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW).  Other Sunday highlights include all-free narrated Tarpon Bay Explorer tram tours of Wildlife Drive (based on availability), archery skills clinics (for ages 10 and older), a butterfly house, hot dogs, and live music by the Americana Community Music Association.

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

For more information and a full schedule of events for the “Ding” Darling Days weekend, Oct. 12-14, visit

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