School Programs

School Field Trips | Adopt-a-Class

School Field Trips

We incorporate grade-specific curriculum objectives into all of our field trips and outreach programs to meet Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (K-12). 

  • Time: Monday through Friday at 10:30am
  • Cost: $8 per student, $15 per chaperone, teachers are complimentary.
  • Funding for Lee County Fourth Grade Title One schools may be available. See our Adopt-a-Class Program below.
  • All programs are by reservation only.
  • Capacity: Maximum of 60 students (Minimum 10 students).

Our field trips offer an extensive education into the world of mollusks.  The guides will discuss molluscan growth, habitats, reproduction, feeding, etc. We are happy to tailor our field trips to fit your needs! 

While at the Museum your students will rotate through four stations, lasting 15-20 minutes each.

Live Tank

Join one of our Educators for an up-close look at our live mollusks in our 8-foot long tank. Students view live mollusks and learn about the body structures that enable behaviors such as locomotion and feeding. Watch a Florida Fighting Conch use its foot for locomotion, spy a Lightning Whelk slam its trap door shut for protection, or witness Atlantic Calico Scallops zipping across the tank with their jet propulsion skills.

Hands-On Science

At this station we focus on three common Southwest Florida gastropods; the Florida Fighting Conch, the Lightning Whelk and the Horse Conch. Students use senses of sight, touch, and sound to closely examine egg casings, baby shells, and adult shells as they learn about shell structure, growth, and reproduction.

Museum Exhibits

Students explore the habitats in which mollusks live, and the cultural and historic importance of shells. Your guide will give you an inside look at some of our 30+ exhibits located in our “Great Hall”. Some of these exhibits include: Sanibel-Captiva Habitats, Fossil layers, Kingdom of the Landsnails, Cephalopods, Calusa: the Original Shell People and Worldwide Record-Size shells.


Students express their creativity by completing a shell-themed art project.


Watch a thirty-minute locally filmed educational video called Mollusks in Action. See mollusks eat, move and protect themselves. Learn about their anatomy and how they grow. See females spawn egg cases which produce hundreds of babies. This movie starts at 10am.

*Please inform your field trip guide if your students want time to shop. All proceeds from our gift store go directly to supporting our educational programs.

“I had a lot of fun. I want to go back another time with my family! I touched a shark eye snail it was really slimy!”
-Averie, 4th grade student at Skyline Elementary School

“Before I went to the museum I knew a little about shells, after I walked out of the museum I knew a lot about shells. The exhibits were very interesting and fun.”
-Amy, 4th grade student at Tanglewood Elementary School

“My class had a fantastic time there! Often trips are not possible because of funding, we thank you for making this one a reality for us!”
-Ms. Watt, 4th grade teacher at Skyline Elementary School


Our Adopt-a-Class program is a donor-funded program which brings Lee County fourth graders from Title One schools to Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island, Florida for a fun, educational field trip. Before your students visit they will view a thirty-minute locally filmed educational video called Mollusks in Action. It is a must see for everyone visiting our beautiful barrier islands. Watch mollusks eat, move and protect themselves. Learn about their anatomy and how they grow. See females spawn egg cases which produce hundreds of babies.

Adopt-a-Class Field Trip: Special Instructions

*Available Monday-Thursday from 10:30am to 12:30pm September through December & May

*Teachers are responsible for scheduling their own transportation with the Lee County School District (at no cost to the school)

*Students will be picked up from school at 9:30am and return to school at 1:30pm

*Due to school bus guideline capacities, chaperones may not be able to ride the bus with the class

*The trip includes four stations (art, exhibit hall, hands-on science, and live tank) led by trained Museum Educators

*A lunch break at our outdoor picnic area is included-please bring lunches

*Teachers and two parent chaperones per class are complimentary.  $15 per extra chaperone.

*To help offset the cost of materials and supplies there is a suggested donation of $5 per student

*Unfortunately, there will not be time to shop in the gift store

*Please make sure your chaperones are prepared to:

-Assist the educators by managing participant behavior

-Stay with the group at all times as they move around the Museum


Booking Instructions

Teacher Resources:

2016-2017 Adopt-a-Class Statistics

Number of Lee County Schools: 20

Number of Fourth Grade Classes: 114

Number of Fourth Grade Students: 2,534

“I had an EPIC time there.”
-Ava, 4th grade student at Skyline Elementary School

“I really loved the museum and I am very thankful.”
-Anara, 4th grade student at Harns Marsh Elementary School

For more information please contact:

Leigh Gay
Outreach Coordinator