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The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3111
Phone Number:
+1 239-395-2233
Website
Today
10:00 - 17:00
Closed now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:00
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 1,110 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 645
    Excellent
  • 303
    Very good
  • 107
    Average
  • 22
    Poor
  • 5
    Terrible
Great rainy day activity

Was visiting Sanibel but a tropical storm blew through. When it's not beach weather this museum is a great indoor activity. The presentation was interesting, and the exhibits are... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
amused1
,
chicago
via mobile
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1,110 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 1,082: English reviews
chicago
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW via mobile

Was visiting Sanibel but a tropical storm blew through. When it's not beach weather this museum is a great indoor activity. The presentation was interesting, and the exhibits are well done. A nice afternoon diversion for a rainy day.

Helpful?
Thank amused1
Kiel, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
89 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Very cool little museum, I learned so much about where shells come from and the creatures that used to inhabit them. Be sure to catch a tank talk. My 4 year old sat still and listened for the whole talk, about 30 minutes, no small feat. The gift shop is neat and the staff is very friendly and knowledgeable. The... More 

Helpful?
Thank Brewers333
North Carolina
Level Contributor
11 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Loved the ability to make your own souvenir using the sea shells. Staff that works at the museum are very nice and are very knowledgeable.

Helpful?
Thank I50
Level Contributor
4 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

This museum was more than just your average museum. Many different examples of Shells and organisms from all over the world. I highly recommend taking the short Shell class where the very knowledgeable instructor talked about the Shells and organisms in great detail with live examples. This is not just a class for kids but everyone who enjoys shelling and... More 

Helpful?
Thank Corky C
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago 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
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thank you. We try to offer something for everyone - there's always something new to learn. More 

Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
33 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 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 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago 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
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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 105 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 

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Questions & Answers

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10 months ago
Boynton Beach, Florida
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  • 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?