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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
Open 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 609 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 343
    Excellent
  • 181
    Very good
  • 71
    Average
  • 11
    Poor
  • 3
    Terrible
Great for a hot afternoon

Get out of the sun and look at the best specimens! A great stop if you're at Sanibel in the summer or just fascinated with shells, like us. LOVE

5 of 5 starsReviewed March 21, 2015
RKPVEASL
,
West Palm Beach, Florida
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609 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
West Palm Beach, Florida
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2015

Get out of the sun and look at the best specimens! A great stop if you're at Sanibel in the summer or just fascinated with shells, like us. LOVE

Was this review helpful? Yes
Grand Rapids, Michigan
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2015

A visual and great learning experience. If you love collecting shells you will love this museum to broaden your knowledge.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Central, NJ
Top Contributor
143 reviews 143 reviews
39 attraction reviews
109 helpful votes 109 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 18, 2015

This museum is a nice diversion for a rainy day, or if you just want some non-beach time on Sanibel. The museum is not huge, but has a very nice collection of shells from around the world with a lot of great educational content for those who want to do more than just look at the shells. They run videos... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Novato, California
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
44 attraction reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2015

I know a shell museum doesn't normally get the blood stirring, but this is a really nice, little facility. Everyone visiting Sanibel should be making a stop here. The staff is great, the exhibits are wonderful and they have a great, little guest shop. It is a little pricey, but so is everything else on Sanibel.

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Festus, Missouri
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
14 attraction reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2015

Be prepared for some amazing shells! This includes some of the largest shells ever recorded of several varieties. I really liked the way it was organized. Sections for Sanibel, Florida, Other areas of the world, types of creatures, and a living display. Very educational and truly amazing displays! The movies are very interesting too. There are two movies that continue... More 

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Noank, Connecticut
Top Contributor
92 reviews 92 reviews
25 attraction reviews
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2015

I didnt think this would be so nice. But the thoughtful exhibits, well-times movies, and lecturers were a real nice diversion from the etreme heat. the place is well thought out. A treat for kids and adults. Some of the interactive displays not working- due to over enthusiastic children the docent explained.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
west hills, ca
Top Contributor
329 reviews 329 reviews
107 attraction reviews
284 helpful votes 284 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2015

Some good exhibits, docents available. Some hands on stuff good for kids. Otherwise pricey for 20 minutes of interest.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 8, 2015

We biked to this museum and they gave us a small discount and a water once we got inside. They were very helpful in guiding us through the museum and also knowledgeable of their displays and the shells that were housing there. Being from far away, we asked them where some of the best places are to find shells and... More 

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Dayton, Ohio
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2015

Too windy, cold, hot or sunburned? See some amazing shells indoors. Educational movies and exhibits. Shell art displays and a nice gift shop. We learned a lot about how shells form and the amazing creatures that make them, laws about live shells, their part in the history of the islands. Worth the admission, though it doesn't look large from the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Mount Union, Pennsylvania
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2015

We were told this was a must-see so we biked to it. (that got us $1 off admission) It was small but full of shell history. There are lots of workers around to answer any questions for us. It's a little small, and if I was choosing, I'd go to Ding Darling Refuge instead, but if you have the time... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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