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The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

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Address: 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel Island, FL 33957
Phone Number: +1 239-395-2233
Website
Today
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Activities: Leisure education
Description: An American Association of Museums (AAM) accredited non-profit natural...
An American Association of Museums (AAM) accredited non-profit natural science museum, The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum features more than 30 exhibits of mollusks from around the world devoted to shells. Exhibits include shells in art and history, shell habitats, rare specimens, World Record size shells, fossil shells, common Southwest Florida shells, and more. The learning lab features a hands-on play area for children, displays, games, and a tank with indigenous mollusks. A half-hour video, Mollusks in Action, is shown on the hour, and a children's video is shown continuously. The museum store offers a wide selection of shell books
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 623 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 353
    Excellent
  • 183
    Very good
  • 73
    Average
  • 11
    Poor
  • 3
    Terrible
Great Museum

The collection of shells on display here are truly outstanding ! This museum is well worth a visit, whether it is a sunny or rainy day.

5 of 5 starsReviewed April 17, 2015
ScottCNorris
,
Indianapollis, IN
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623 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Indianapollis, IN
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2015 NEW

The collection of shells on display here are truly outstanding ! This museum is well worth a visit, whether it is a sunny or rainy day.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Saint Pete Beach, Florida
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2015 NEW

Interesting concept, but you could save your money and just see th shells in their beautiful, natural habits. Sanibel is after all the World Capital for shelling :)

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Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2015 NEW

I had no idea there was this much information a person could learn from a simple sea shell. You could easily spend hours here studying everything. Or ask the friendly and VERY knowledgeable staff for the answers you seek.

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Florida
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2015 NEW

What we assumed would be a quirky side attraction ended up being a professional organization in which we spent a couple enjoyable hours exploring. The museum is a very fitting tribute and research center for the unique biological history of the island.

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Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
15 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2015

I became a shell seeker but when visiting Sanibel Island . The most beautiful shells are located here. Not only shells from FL but around the world. They give short films on the life of the animal before it dies and becomes a collector piece. They offer seminars on the living mussels/shells. The gift shop has charts and books on... More 

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Iowa
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
20 attraction reviews
67 helpful votes 67 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 10, 2015

Our expectations were greatly exceeded at this fine little museum. We really enjoyed the two 30-minute films about mollusks and the beings that inhabit those shells. It was a fine introduction to Sanibel. The museum itself was well curated with interesting and detailed information about shells. Overall, we were grateful that we had the chance to see this museum early... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2015

We go here every time we visit Sanibel. We spend a lot of time on the beach and this is something interesting to do out of the sun. It's close and only takes an hour or so. If your kids are interested in nature (shells, etc.) then they will probably enjoy going here. It's not a huge museum, but there... More 

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Illinois
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
11 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 9, 2015

Sanibel is known for shelling, yet somehow we managed to miss this place the first four times we visited the island. We always planned on going, but it kept getting put on the back burner. Really how great could a shell museum be? I will tell you - it is awesome! It is so much more than I thought it... More 

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
4 attraction reviews
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2015

A great place to take the whole family to learn about history and information about shells and there origin. Staff works very well with the customers to make sure the experience it enjoyable.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Springfield
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
41 attraction reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2015

I was disappointed. The museum is small and there are not many interesting and big shells. You can skip this museum.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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