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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
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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

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  • 604
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Family visit

We had a great time here, we had a good tour in the museum. There is lots to do, we had lots of info from the biologist he told us a lot about the shells

5 of 5 starsReviewed yesterday
Mar0192013
,
Zuid-Scharwoude, The Netherlands
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1,040 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,015: English reviews
Zuid-Scharwoude, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
29 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

We had a great time here, we had a good tour in the museum. There is lots to do, we had lots of info from the biologist he told us a lot about the shells

Helpful?
Thank Mar0192013
Greeneville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

I have never seen so many beautiful shells. They have a biologist on staff that gives talks and we learned many things about shells that we never knew. Great for Adults and Children.

Helpful?
Thank TNGIRL37743
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

What a surprise to find this first class museum on the little island of Sanibel. Since Sanibel is such a great shelling location it's the perfect. It was so educational to see the wide variety of sea shells and the educational videos. Highly recommend visiting the Shell Museum when visiting Sanibel Island.

Helpful?
Thank Christy C
Knoxville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW via mobile

It was raining in sanibel and we were looking for an indoor activity. This place was really informative. The museum itself was fun and interesting but we attended a live tank talk and a talk from a shell collector. Both were really good. Beautiful shells displayed and lots of information on local shells and foreign shells. Never knew there were... More 

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

Thanks for visiting! More 

London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The museum is not too big but so charming... The collection is excellent and the staff is amazing: not only knowledgeable but friendly with every single person who walks through the door.. We had a brief tour about Sanibel shells and could make our own shell animals for free .. we enjoyed it a lot and we are way over... More 

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

Thanks for your review. We try to pack a lot into a fairly small place. :) More 

Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
56 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I really enjoyed my visit. The curators have done an excellent job presenting information about shells. There is information about shells from all over the world, but great emphasis is paid to shells from the Florida gulf.

Helpful?
Thank satchel21
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Did you know you can find more than 300 different species of shells here on Sanibel? More 

Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We loved our visit to the shell museum! We learned a lot about the shells that we already have and shells from around the world. We got to make jewelry and hear a talk about local shells. A must do if you are a sheller! Fantastic gift shop!

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

I love our museum store too - we try to have something for everyone. PS We're happy to ship anywhere! More 

Arkansas
Level Contributor
71 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I first came to Sanibel 57 years ago because my Mom was a shell collector and artist. We would get up at the crack of dawn to collect shells on the beach. How nice that they now have a great shell museum where you can identify what you found on the beach. The museum has extensive displays and education sessions... More 

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

Wow! 57 years ago! I wish I had been here to see that. You are one lucky person. I'm glad it's still a wonderful and beautiful island today. More 

Loogootee, Indiana
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Wanted to learn more about the local shells. Visited the live exhibit and watched the films. Saw some of the live shells on a sand bar that evening. Worth the visit! Gift shop was nice.

Helpful?
Thank TonyLiz1967
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thanks Tony and Liz! More 

Pelham Manor, New York
Level Contributor
138 reviews
81 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

For an island that is dog friendly they are not. Leave your dog (tea cup chihuahua) at the hotel. It does not take long to tour the museum. Make sure to watch and the videos and take your time at the exhibits. Everything is awesome. Take it in. The lectures of live shells is a must. You can learn a... More 

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

Thank you for your review. The Museum is always happy to welcome service animals to assist our visitors. More 

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum and other visitors
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6 months ago
Boynton Beach, Florida
over a year ago

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?