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.
WINNER WONDERLAND
Win Big When You Book on TripAdvisor

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...
Get directions
Address: 3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3111
Phone Number: +1 239-395-2233
Website
Today
10:00 - 17:00
Open now
See all hours
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

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 1,083 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 630
    Excellent
  • 294
    Very good
  • 105
    Average
  • 22
    Poor
  • 5
    Terrible
Interesting visit - do't miss it

We learned very interesting inside on conches, shells. The exhibit shwos different colourfull shells and the videos you can choose are showing big pictures (did you know how... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 2 days ago
Gabriele D
,
Munich, Germany
Add Photo Write a Review

1,083 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More
Showing 1,056: English reviews
Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
36 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

We learned very interesting inside on conches, shells. The exhibit shwos different colourfull shells and the videos you can choose are showing big pictures (did you know how mussels are chasing fish?) And the visit at the small live tank with the good explanations given was really a good experience.

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

Thanks Gabriele. Isn't it amazing that a snail can catch and eat a fish? More 

Brighton, Michigan
Level Contributor
77 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 days ago NEW via mobile

Been here many times, this time brought the kids. It's a great place to learn about shells, the history, evolution, what areas have which, and how the moon/ tides can help determine good times to shell for those beauties. Bought some guides to take with us to the beach to find each kind. Fun day activity!

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

Thanks for visiting. With more than 300 local shell - I keep on of our laminated shell guides in my car and another in my beach bag. More 

Level Contributor
23 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

I love shells and it was very interesting to see shells from all over the world. I also learned a few things I didn't know. imagine that!!

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

Tracey - Thank you for visiting. We love that we learn new things here every day! More 

Lawrenceville, Georgia
Level Contributor
109 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We've been visiting San/Cap since 1983, but we'd never taken time to stop by the Shell Museum until now. It's a great educational exhibit that's not to be missed. It will add so much to your appreciation/experience of Sanibel/Captiva.

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

Thanks for stopping in this trip! More 

Eminence, Missouri
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Very informative with great staff. Exhibts are first class. we spent 3 hours looking at shells. If you like the beach this is a must see.

Helpful?
Thank cooley1989
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thanks for your review. We're closed on Thanksgiving Day, but open the rest of the year (holidays from 12-4pm). Come back and visit any time! More 

Hong Kong, China
Level Contributor
51 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

It was interesting and we join a Presentation about moluskes which was very good with some surprising details. The exhibition was also interesting and show losts of shell in all formats and from all areas of the planet. Just not little high with the entrance fee, i personaly think.

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

Thank you for visiting! More 

Level Contributor
44 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

When the sun is high and it's too hot to be on the beach. This is a great destination. There are hands on exhibits, demonstrations and films... great displays and a fun way to identify the shells you have found while walking the beach. The staff is helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. I am sad I didn't bring all my shells... More 

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

Dear Brenda - Thanks for visiting. We're always happy to help our guests identify any unknown beach finds. You'd be amazed at what treasures walk in the door - it's part of the fun we have working here! More 

Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

With the urging from friends to check this place out we were glad we went!!! It was amazing and very kid friendly. They had a lot of hands on experiences for young and old alike.

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

Dear Yvonne - I'm glad you and your family enjoyed your visit! More 

Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

I guess it's fun to say you've been but I didn't really find it that worthwhile. It's basically a one room exhibit, and it's not very well organized. Also, it was so freaking hot in there while we were there that I couldn't stand to spend enough time to actually read any of the exhibit signs. Won't be going back.

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

Dear Meagan, I am so sorry that you didn't enjoy your visit. And, I am not sure when our inside temperature was uncomfortable. If you would contact me at the Museum, I would like to learn how we might have made your visit more enjoyable. It appears as if you missed our movies, live tank talks and afternoon programming? More 

New Cumberland, West Virginia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Great museum. Wonderful displays to look at. Had short 30 min movies to watch. Had a live tank discussion with a lot of information about the different shells.

Helpful?
Thank amyandjay7793
ShellMuseum, Executive Director at The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, responded to this review

Thanks for visiting. More 

Travellers 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
7 months ago
8 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?