The holiday season holds a lot of meaning for the crew at Tarpon Bay Explorers. On December 2nd, Tarpon Bay Explorers celebrated its 19th 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. “It’s been an amazing 19 years,” elated part-owner and General Manager, Wendy Schnapp. “It’s hard for me to believe that it has been that long,” said Schnapp. “We’ve experienced many challenges, but even more amazing moments. We’re looking forward to the 20-year mile stone next and working hard to see 20 more,” exclaimed Schnapp. “I Love Tarpon Bay, my staff, the wildlife and our Refuge partners,” Schnapp said appreciatively.

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 activities and educational tours for 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