The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Sanibel Island: Tickets, Tours, Hours, Address, The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum Reviews: 4.5/5

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
4.5
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the only museum in the U.S. devoted entirely to shells and mollusks, and one of the best things to do on Sanibel Island. It features more than 30 engaging exhibits of stunning shells, showcasing some of the largest and rarest shell specimens in the world, including the goliath conch, lightning whelk and Atlantic trumpet triton, as well as common Southwest Florida shells, fossil shells and more. New in March 2020, “Beyond Shells: The Mysterious World of Mollusks” adds the live animals that create shells to its must-see experiences. New aquariums include live octopuses, giant clams, nautilus, nudibranchs and gastropods, and two 15-foot-long touch tanks let young visitors get their hands wet. For a perfect Sanibel experience, fun daily beach walks can be reserved, and the nonprofit museum’s scientists also conduct research with local mollusk species.
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The area
Address
Best nearby
Restaurants
57 within 3 miles
Attractions
20 within 3 miles
Popular mentions

4.5
1,614 reviews
Excellent
1,019
Very good
421
Average
140
Poor
30
Terrible
6

invertpaleo
New York City, NY342 contributions
It's all great if you have any interest at all in shells or nature
Apr 2021
The shell museum, as long as it has existed, has always been a terrific destination, but the new entire floor of aquariums with live mollusks adds another whole dimension to it.

Some people think the museum fee is a little bit expensive, but it is totally worth the expenditure.

Sanibel is, after all, the Shell Capital of the USA, so why not understand a bit more about shells and mollusks that make them?

Written June 24, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

John P
8 contributions
Shell Musuem
Jun 2021
We are so glad that we made the stop. We cut the timing close (got there at 4 and they close at 5p), but were able to see mostly everything. I would plan on more time, like 2 hours, to really get a good look at everything better. It was VERY interesting and we learned alot. We happened to catch a staff member getting ready to feed the cuttlefish and that was by far the COOLEST thing to see. He actually grabbed us and just started talking and teaching. Very cool guy. Anyway, it is definitely a must see while on vaca on Sanibel.
Written June 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Patricia S
5 contributions
WOW !
May 2021
Moms & daughter weekend and the kids wanted to stop. We were really impressed with how nice this place is. You MUST stop and check it out !! We all felt it was worth the price. Knowledgeable, friendly staff. Alot of information... if you love shells !!
Written June 2, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

EPB30
Illinois90 contributions
Great little museum
May 2021
We really enjoyed this little museum. It was perfect for about an hour of entertainment. Lots of informative exhibits with hands on activities that our ten year old loved. We all learned a lot and we were happy to support an organization that emphasizes conservation of the marine ecosystem.
Written May 29, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

LSQRD1
Kent, OH570 contributions
Great for shell lovers
Mar 2021
We have been a few times over the years but not recently. We were so impressed with the new aquaria and unique animals on display (including baby cuttlefish when we were there). If you are a shell lover, this is a great option for you. Overall, a very nicely planned and laid out museum.
Written May 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

TINNERSMC
Apache Junction, Arizona, United States52 contributions
Shelling information extravaganza
May 2021
We went to the museum for fun and found a ton of great information about shells and sea life from Sanibel Island. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly.
Written May 16, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

norajill w
Opelika, AL183 contributions
Beautiful museum
May 2021
Really clean, friendly staff, great information and beautiful exhibits. A little pricey but we enjoyed. Very nice items in gift shop some reasonable priced.
Written May 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Joshua B
Cleveland, OH4 contributions
Interesting, small and costly
May 2021
The shell museum was nothing spectacular. The price was outrageous for the little bit of exhibit that was still open. $50 for two people was too high. Half of the touch tank was empty and the place is very small. Spent less than an hour since not really much to see. Definitely needs to have more to see or lower the price.
Written May 14, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Susan P
St. Petersburg, FL162 contributions
Not to be missed
May 2021 • Family
Don’t worry if you’re not a shell collector there’s a lot to see and learn here. Touch tank for kids if all ages. A very pleasant experience.
Written May 13, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Angela H
Mooresville, NC29 contributions
Informative and Helpful
May 2021 • Couples
Between the well designed layout, the easy to read labels, and staff that enjoyed telling us about their subject, I learned a lot. We came from NC to Sanibel because we love collecting shells from all over. Now I know more about what lived inside them.
Written May 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is open:
  • Sun - Sat 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM