The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Sanibel Island

(1,200+ reviews on the web)
Specialty Museum
Put your hand in a tank with domestic mollusks or see fossilized shells at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. This nonprofit museum teaches visitors all about shells and their role in art, medicine, architecture, cuisine, and even the economy. Spin the museum's classification wheel and learn how to arrange and identify Florida shells. Watch a video showing huge mollusks in their natural habitat, or use a microscope to observe micro mollusks. Kids can spend some time in the children’s learning interactive lab. Plan to see The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum and other attractions that appeal to you using our Sanibel Island family vacation planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • They display shells from around the world, marine biologists give tank talks with live mollusks, videos that demonstrate the lives of mollusks, hands on activities for all ages, the place was great  more »
  • This is a good way to spend some time wither out of the hot sun or on a rainy day. Very interesting exhibits. The docent talks also were informative. More shells than you can imagine!  more »
  • A great place to visit on a rainy day. Our teen grandson even enjoyed making shell animals! The scavenger hunt is a great idea and forces people to really "dig in". Liked the idea of outdoor seating a...  more »
Google
  • I wish I would've come here about 20 years ago. If you have any interest in shells and what they're composed of, this is a MUST. There are displays of different shells from all over the world (pretty cool if you ask me) and there is tons of information to go along with them. I watched a short film on finding critters under the sand, and the presentation downstairs was also very interesting. Anyone who walks the beach, or loves the ocean, I would definitely recommend going here.
  • If you ever get to Sanibel this is a MUST stop. It's just as odd as it sounds, a museum dedicated to shells. Sounds dry, boring, and avoidable. But don't miss it. There is a contagious effect when you start looking at the unimaginable variety of shells. There are several movies on a constant loop. Our family has seen each at least 10 times and we still go every year. We always learn something new. The museum is staffed with graduate degree biologists. They have always answered every question we have. It is a contagious space for shelling.
  • Not at all geared enough to kids as the advertisment said. Way to expensive for a family for the amount of time it actually takes. The room for kids to make something out of shells should be available at all times. When we got there it was open but was not told it would be closing so we went to look at the displays and when we got done it would have been an hour wait for us to be able to make something. With children an hour is a long time.
  • Love this small museum of shells. It truly helps explain the life of these sea creatures and all their beauty. Great for kids and adults.
  • Truly interesting place. Hands on and interpretive displays. Also, great demonstrations from the naturalist on duty. Wish we had gone sooner.