We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Want the lowest hotel prices? You're in the right place. We check 200+ sites for you.

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

Certificate of Excellence
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: 3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3111
Phone Number:
+1 239-395-2233
Website
Today
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Open now
See all hours
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

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 1,139 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 666
    Excellent
  • 311
    Very good
  • 107
    Average
  • 22
    Poor
  • 5
    Terrible
A Sanibel Treasure

Breathtaking exhibits of the shells of Sanibel, situated in an inviting and easy to navigate building. Lectures and slide presentations downstairs, remarkable gift shop. Along... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
OrientChris
,
Orient, New York
Add Photo Write a Review

1,139 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
  • More
Showing 1,111: English reviews
Orient, New York
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

Breathtaking exhibits of the shells of Sanibel, situated in an inviting and easy to navigate building. Lectures and slide presentations downstairs, remarkable gift shop. Along with "Ding" Darling Wildlife Preserve, this is a Must-See no matter how brief your stay is in Sanibel. One of the boxes I filled below asked if it were exciting, unusual or risky to visit.... More 

Helpful?
Thank OrientChris
Scottsdale
Level Contributor
113 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

My friends and I Loved this place. We loved learning about the shells and going to the live tank room. We learned all about shells and I would definitely go back. The staff were very friendly and made you feel welcomed. The gift shop is very good and you can purchase a bag to collect your shells when you go... More 

Helpful?
Thank ClareScottsdale
West Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Wonderful museum with shells from all over the world - big and small. We visit every year and there is always something new to see. Don't let all those stairs at the front entrance scare you away. For the handicapped there is a side entrance just past the stairs with an elevator to take you to the main floor where... More 

Helpful?
Thank Mofl1
Sanibel Island, Florida
Level Contributor
25 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

Amazing!!! An absolute "must" to visit. Wonderful for children of all ages and adults of all ages. The shells, the history, the information, the knowledge-it is all fascinating and interesting. Highly recommend.

Helpful?
Thank paulaZ1618FI
Missouri
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We enjoyed going through this Shell Museum. Beautiful shells from many areas plus so many other exhibits. They also had live demonstrations that were interesting for both adults and kids. Just made us want to go back to the beach to look for things we saw in the musem. Well worth the entry price. Good parking.

Helpful?
Thank zipladyMissouri
Clarksboro, New Jersey
Level Contributor
4 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

I love shelling. My husband came with me under pressure, but even he found this place interesting. You can spend at least a half day here; we were pleasantly surprised at the amount and variety of information and activities in this little place. First, there is the actual museum room.....shells of all varieties and from many places with descriptions and... More 

Helpful?
Thank rhunt213
Level Contributor
22 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We saw world record size shells. Shells in all colors and shapes from around the world. Well versed discussion of mollusks and how to collect shells. Nice gift shop

Helpful?
Thank Tim S
Level Contributor
18 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

I loved this museum because it is quirky (a museum for shells?), well organized, and provides a nice balance between looking at odd specimens and "science" -- in a visually interesting space. The half hour talk by a volunteer was exceptional -- both entertaining and a nice respite from standing in front of exhibits. This would not be a great... More 

Helpful?
Thank Karen S
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

I visited this place well before it built a new location and have returned on every visit since. Sometimes I think that I do not need to return because I am an avid sheller and familiar with South Florida shells but I always return to find examples of what shells I might hope to find and to see the amazing... More 

Helpful?
Thank Beth H
Dunlap, Illinois
Level Contributor
104 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

We spent a couple hours here the other day. Huge numbers of shells, incredible variety of rare and extremely rare shells. Several experts were available for questions. copious displays are in place along with live tanks where volunteers provide substance to the displays. If you are a shell fan as we are, this is well worth the time. It is... More 

Helpful?
Thank Stormshine

Travelers who viewed The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum also viewed

Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
 
Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
Sanibel Island, Southwest Gulf Coast
 

Been to The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

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

See all questions (4)

Questions? Get answers from The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
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?