Based at J.N. “Ding” Darling Refuge’s Tarpon Bay Recreation Area, Tarpon Bay Explorers is the refuge’s official concessions operator. Daily it runs back-to-back naturalist-narrated tram tours along Wildlife Drive, which are well-worthwhile for first-timers. (Note: Wildlife Drive is closed on Fridays.)
From its Tarpon Bay campus, it conducts guided kayaking and nature cruise tours, which include splashing in the touch tank. The sunset tours are best for seeing birds in the bay’s rookeries as they come to roost.
Tarpon Bay Explorers also rents kayaks for self-paddling the refuge’s Commodore Creek Trail, stand-up paddleboards for use in Tarpon Bay, and bikes for pedaling Wildlife Drive.