Lecture Tips


The free “Ding” Darling Friday Lecture Series has become increasingly popular. Because we want to keep the lectures admission-free, and we are restricted by the fire department to number of seats we can fill, the lectures often reach their capacity quickly. 

We have tried various strategies for easing the frustration of people we are unable to seat. This year we try a new strategy using wristbands, see below.

We have also compiled tips to help manage your expectations when planning to attend a lecture. 

  • Tip #1: Arrive at least an hour ahead of time for the 10 a.m. lecture to allow time for parking, which can be challenging. People waiting in line will receive up to two (2) seat wristbands until all seats have been filled. When the wristbands run out, those still waiting in line can plan to watch the Facebook Live video (see below) or return for the 1 p.m. lecture. We will begin handing out wristbands for that lecture at approximately 11:30. 
  • Tip #2: You can save your seat and one extra by placing personal items on them while you explore the hands-on exhibits in the Visitor & Education Center. Don't miss our America's Best Restroom award-winning Learning Lavatories. You will need to be wearing your wristband to gain admission back into the auditorium. 
  • Tip #3: You must be in your seat 15 minutes prior to the start time or risk losing it. Doors will close at 9:45 a.m. for the morning lecture and 12:45 p.m. for the afternoon lecture. 
  • Tip #4: Be flexible and plan on spending the day at the Refuge and on Sanibel. That way, if you don't get a seat for the 10 a.m. lecture, you can plan to shop in the Refuge Nature Store (where purchases support the Refuge), tour Wildlife Drive, walk to the Wildlife Education Boardwalk, visit Bailey Tract, go to the beach, stop at a restaurant, etc. while waiting to queue for the 1 p.m. lecture.
  • Tip #5: If you want to purchase books in the Nature Store for guest authors to sign, this would be a good time to do so. 
  • Tip #6: This year we will be showing most lectures on Facebook Live. There will be a limited number of seats in the Birding Room next to the auditorium for watching it, or you can watch it on your smart device anywhere you can receive feed. 
  • Tip #7: Most lectures run for one hour, but the more popular ones may run longer because of the Q&A at the end.