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The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

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Address: 3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3111
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
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 1,106 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 642
    Excellent
  • 302
    Very good
  • 107
    Average
  • 22
    Poor
  • 5
    Terrible
Fun place to learn something new

Such a cute little museum and a fun place to learn about shells. I learned a bunch of fun things about shells. Its a pretty little museum but the staff was very friendly and... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Kim F
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1,106 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,078: English reviews
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Such a cute little museum and a fun place to learn about shells. I learned a bunch of fun things about shells. Its a pretty little museum but the staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. We brought our 4 y/o and she had a blast doing a scavenger hunt and poking around the kids room in the museum

Helpful?
Thank Kim F
Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
32 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Sweet little, VERY FRIENDLY, museum. They start you off with a 20 minute hands on presentation of shell basics. I'm pretty shell savvy and I can say that I left the room I left with new knowledge. The exhibitions are nicely lit and many on rotators so that you can view 360 degrees at will. And a great variety of... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank JMPC1958
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thank you! Our staff really cares about our visitors and want every one to have a wonderful visit. More 

Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

Loved everything from the moment we walked in ! Shells I've never even seen, loved the Presentations .

Helpful?
Thank Ady A
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thank you Ady. I loved your review! More 

Mechanicsburg, PA
Level Contributor
81 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

We have been spending time on Sanibel Island for the last eight years and finally paid a visit. So glad that we did. My hubby and I are both shellers and always enjoy learning more about shells and shelling. It was so worthwhile to visit. The displays are fantastic, there is a good movie to watch, and Rich, who gave... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank luvmyvacays
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thanks for visiting. We always have new programs - so please don't wait another 8 years! More 

Olathe, Kansas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Fabulous museum with more exhibits and information than we were able to cover during 2 hours. Visitors need to be keenly interested in shells and sealife. Maybe not a great adventure for children, dependent on your child's attention span. On-staff volunteer docent. Returned a couple of days later with a couple of questions which were quickly answered. Definitely purchase a... More 

Helpful?
Thank Nan_Gerike
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thanks Nan! We've added shell crafting every afternoon - so bring the kids along (although our adult guests are having a blast too!). And we're happy to help identify any mystery shells you find out there. We love seeing your treasures. More 

Florence, Kentucky
Level Contributor
311 reviews
163 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

This place takes up 2 buildings and contains shells and shell craft items from all over the world. You will also find items for you to display the shells you found on Sanibel. I found a locket type necklace that could contain some of the tiny shells I found on the island as well as really nice display cases for... More 

Helpful?
Thank molelady
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thank you for the review, however, I don't think you're referring to the National Shell Museum here on Sanibel. We have great Sailors Valentines on display - but none for sale. We do have fabulous items in our museum store including boxes for displaying your collection. More 

Cary, North Carolina
Level Contributor
21 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Very interesting and learnt so much. A great introduction before going out to collect shells on the beach.

Helpful?
Thank Linda F
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thanks for visiting Linda - we recommend a visit to the Museum early in your vacation so you know what you're finding on the beach! More 

Wilmore, Kentucky, United States
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

After combing the beaches for our own search of shells - my word, had never seen so many!, we went to the museum. Staff were very friendly and enthusiastic. Enjoyed the live talk about the mollusks with live demonstration. The shell art-work was breath-taking. My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

Helpful?
1 Thank Diane M
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Dear Diane - The shelling is great this time of year at the beach AND at the Museum! More 

Hopewell Junction, New York
Level Contributor
91 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

My wife and I saw the sign for the National Shell Museum and thought, why not? So we went in. If you like looking at a lot of pretty shells and some fairly large ones, this is a good spot. But definitely take advantage of the "tank talks" given by experts throughout the day. The speaker we heard was very... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank tektektek
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thank you for your review. Stop in again next time you're driving by. We have lots of new activities and programs in the works. More 

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
32 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Well stocked always and you don't have to leave the Island to get your groceries! You can place your list even before arriving and they will deliver it for you at your place!

Helpful?
Thank Infjepra
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

I think you meant this review to be for Bailey's General Store - which I love too! More 

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Questions & Answers

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Boynton Beach, Florida
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  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?