The only shell museum in the nation
You will see things you never knew existed.
Photo by Henry Domke

Grab your tickets for Celebrity Island Dinner and tip your favorite waiters now! Book HERE!

Today at the Museum

Daily Island Inn Beach Walk
9:00 a.m.
Live Tank Talks
11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m.
1:30 p.m.
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Hours & Admission

Open Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Children 4 and under: FREE
Youth 5-17: $5.00
Adults 18+: $11.00

(Open Noon to 4 on New Year's Day, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, & Christmas Day)

Contact Us

Phone: (239) 395-2233
Toll-free: (888) 679-6450

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road
Sanibel, Florida 33957

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Featured Events

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  • Nautilus, Squid, and Octopus

    Life-size models of a giant squid, nautilus, and octopus help explain the three main surviving branches of Cephalopods. We cover many aspects of cephalopod biology and related folklore, and even include a 13-foot model of a giant squid (Architeuthis dux)! We also offer programs about Giant and Colossal Squids.

  • Visit Our Museum Store

    Our Museum Store has terrific marine-themed items for all ages and budgets! Including Charles Albert jewelry, Sailors' Valentines, books, cards and souvenirs to commemorate your visit to Sanibel! Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. - no Museum admission required to shop!

  • The Nautilus

    The Nautilus is a peer-reviewed journal publishing articles on diverse aspects of the biology, ecology, and systematics of mollusks. Established in 1886 as The Conchologists Exchange, The Nautilus is one of the most traditional international journals in the field of malacology. The Nautilus’ Editor-in-Chief is the Shell Museum’s own José H. Leal.

  • Mollusks in Peril Forum

    Presented by the Shell Museum at South Seas Resort, May 22 – 24, 2016. “Mollusks in Peril” will provide a forum for discussion on the possible ecological drivers of extinction risk, the synergies that enhance ecological stress, and the taxonomy, ontogeny, and geography of change in and risk to marine, freshwater, and terrestrial mollusks.

  • Ecphora brings the past to life

    Fossils are tangible traces of history that guests of all ages appreciate. We have many specimens, including our Ecphora exhibit, which shows treasures that once flourished 30 million to 3 million years ago. Found in fossil pits from Maryland to Florida, Ecphora gardnerae is a species of fossil predatory sea snail, an extinct marine gastropod mollusk.

  • Book a Beach Walk!

    Let our marine biologists help you see the beach and shelling in a whole new way! Our daily walks at the Island Inn and monthly treks to Bunche Beach in Fort Myers provide insights into local flora and fauna. Plus you’ll receive half-off Museum admission! Advance booking required, please.

  • Shells of Sanibel & Captiva

    Multiple exhibits give guests the opportunity to see prized junonias, as well as fig shells, pen shells, lettered olives, and more. We also celebrate early local shell collectors and citizen scientists, and show examples of various local habitats of live shells.

  • Book a Guided Bunche Beach Walk

    Explore Bunche Beach at low-tide with world-renowned marine biologist, Dr. José H. Leal. The cost is $10 for adults and $7 for children, and participants receive a coupon for half-off Museum admission. Book online or call (239) 395-2233 to make a reservation.

  • Celebrity Island Dinner Fundraiser Sept. 28!

    Join us for the Island's season kick-off party at Traders! The evening includes a 3-course gourmet dinner, beer and wine, epic karaoke, and wild antics from your local celebrity waiters! Proceeds benefit the Museum's educational programming. Registration available July 27th!

  • Free WaterVentures Mobile Science Lab August 20!

    August 20th Lee County residents pay half-price adult Museum admission and Lee County kids get in for free (when accompanied by paid adult)! Plus the WaterVentures Mobile Science Lab will be parked at the Museum and FREE to go inside the lab! Learn more about Florida's waterways and how to protect them. The day will include icy pops, arts and crafts, and more! Lee County Day is sponsored by LCEC.