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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  • Very good presentation by Sheila with the task and explaining the different creatures that live in the shells. Enjoyable museum with great videos and shells of all sorts.  more »
  • Best places to understand shelling nad some excellent examples of what you could find in the region.  more »
  • We love going to the Shell Museum, and usually take our guests there when they come to visit. It's a unique collection of shells from around the world, and a great place to learn about shells and sea ...  more »
Google
  • What a great place to visit on one of the best shelling beaches in the world, Sanibel Island. They have a couple of movies/ videos running all day. Plan to spend at least an hour to look through all the displays. Lots of rare shells in perfect condition. You could easily spend several hours here. Tip, if you come in the last hour before closing, you can get in for less, $15 each adult. Next time we're on Sanibel, we'll spend most of a day here! It a very unique museum!
  • There was so much information crammed into that small museum it was unbelievable. Great for adults and kids with craft activities (kids build their own shell animal) and talks from experts with live animals. The exhibits are visually interesting and informative. You can access the museum via a protected bike lane from anywhere on the island if you are inclined to ride a bicycle. We skipped this on our first visit to Sanibel and regretted it once we finally did go.
  • Very nice place to get out of the heat. They offer many discounts to entrance prices. They have activities for the kids. Their display is very nice.
  • The museum was great. Interesting exhibits and a friendly staff. One suggestion - perhaps get one of those giant clams from the Pacific as an exhibit? One warning - the traffic when you want to leave Sanibel Island is horrendous. We sat on Periwinkle St. (the main drag) for an hour waiting to get across the Causeway to the mainland.
  • At first we were skeptical that we'd find this museum interesting. We were wrong. We learned so much about shells and stayed there over 3 hours. We attended the live programs and also the craft program. It was interesting for both the adults and children. The staff people were very friendly and knowledgeable.
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