The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Sanibel Island

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. Discover how to plan a Sanibel Island trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.
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The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Reviews
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1,296 reviews
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4.3
TripAdvisor
  • October 4, 2017
    Museum was nice but thought admission was too high, think it was 17.00 per person. Staff was very friendly, lots of steps to go up to get in. Not that big, you can go to any of the shells stores in to...  more »
  • October 1, 2017
    The museum is very educational and gives you an idea of how to more effectively shell on Sanibel and teaches you about what you are seeing. The films were great and the live tank presentation was very...  more »
  • September 14, 2017
    this is a must see wonderful for all ages. A great place. The museum that focuses on education, awareness and research of shells, mollusks and the shell makers of Southwest Florida & the Gulf of Mexic...  more »
Google
  • May 8, 2017
    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.
  • June 13, 2017
    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.
  • June 22, 2017
    Must see place if you are visiting Sanibel. Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Great displays. We really enjoyed the shell art project!
  • June 14, 2017
    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.
  • June 6, 2017
    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.

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