The holiday season holds a lot of meaning for the crew at Tarpon Bay Explorers. On December 2nd, Tarpon Bay Explorers celebrated its 18th year of business. Tarpon Bay Explorers was established in 2002 with just a small fleet of kayaks, canoes and pontoons. The company operated out of an eccentric, single-story building that was previously part of a marina before Tarpon Bay’s incorporation into the refuge system. The company now operates out of a newer building constructed in 2008 by U.S. Fish & Wildlife. “We’ve come a long way,” said part-owner and General Manager, Wendy Schnapp. “2020 has been a challenging year, but we don’t take any of it for granted! It’s hard to believe that 18 years have gone by; we’ve loved every minute of it,” elated Schnapp. “Tarpon Bay is a special place. The wildlife and the history really make it one of the gems on the island. Our partnership with the refuge is awesome and we hope to continue to be the concessionaire for years to come!”

For those unfamiliar with the company, Tarpon Bay Explorers is the concessionaire to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The company operates recreational rentals and educational tours for any visitors of the Refuge who would like to explore refuge lands or waters. “Ding” Darling attracts close to a million visitors each year and attendance continues to climb. Tarpon Bay Explorers prides themselves on their stewardship to assist the refuge in order to provide visitors with great experiences and education.

Visit the whole Tarpon Bay Explorers family at 900 Tarpon Bay Rd, seven days a week from 8am to 5pm. For more information on tour and rentals to explore the refuge, call 239-472-8900, visit or