Photos on this page were taken before COVID-19 protocols were in place.

Hours

The Museum is open, with new safety measures in place.

Daily: 10am to 5pm

Holidays: 12pm to 4pm​ (Christmas, New Year's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day)

Thanksgiving: closed

Admission

Adult (18+): $23.95

Youth (12–17): $14.95

Child (5–11): $8.95

Under 5: FREE

Active-duty service members and their families are always welcome at no charge. Discounts available for seniors (65+), AAA, and AARP.

3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd.

Sanibel, FL  33957

(FREE on-site parking)

Location

Accessibility

Are you ready to go Beyond Shells?

Explore our newest addition: an aquarium gallery filled with living mollusks (the animals that create shells).

 

Learn about mollusks from around the world, including the Giant Pacific Octopus, cuttlefish, sea hares, inhabitants of the Great Barrier Reef, fighting conchs, and the rare Junonia. Pop up into the middle of our oyster bed, then engage with animals in our two touch pools and learn from our educational staff about the mollusks you're holding! 

Daily Programming

Ongoing throughout the day and included with admission

 

Touch Pools 

Get your hands wet and touch living mollusks in our two 15-foot long touch pools, while our educators teach you about the animals you're touching.

 

Scavenger Hunt

Test your knowledge of shells and mollusks by participating in one of our fun and educational scavenger hunts. We offer four different levels and prizes for everyone who completes one!

 

Shell Crafting

A visitor favorite, our shell crafting allows you to be creative with shells! Make a turtle, a fish, a mouse, a rabbit, or a creature of your own. Look for special crafting opportunities throughout the year. Currently available both in the Museum and as a take-home experience.

 

Outdoor Story Walk

Read a story about mollusks as you walk through our outdoor path. This is a great way to enjoy the weather and get some exercise, all while learning something new.

 

Mollusk Movie

Take a break and enjoy a short film about the mollusks of Sanibel. The movie plays continuously throughout the day.

Guided Museum Tours

Daily, at 11am and 1pm; included with admission

 

This 1-hour tour, led by a staff member, will guide you through the Living Gallery and the Great Hall of Shells.

Visit our Museum Store for a great selection of unique gifts!

Exhibit Highlights

We offer more than 30 permanent exhibits and several temporary exhibits. Our spectacular shell displays offer insights into the vital roles that mollusks have played throughout history, culture, art, design, and medicine. You'll marvel at our exquisite variety of shells—many of which you most likely never knew existed! You'll also learn to identify local shells that you can find right here on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

Shells of Sanibel & Captiva

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the leading authority on Sanibel and Captiva shells. Multiple exhibits give guests the opportunity to see prized Junonias, as well as fig snails, pen shells, and more. The Museum offers extensive information on how and where to shell on Sanibel and Captiva, and how to clean and transport your gifts from the sea.

 

Shells from Around the World

Explore a beautiful collection of shells from around the globe. Located in the Great Hall, this exhibit includes spectacular shells from the Japanese Province, the Indo-West Pacific Province, and others!​

 

Record-Breaking Shells

We have some of the largest shells ever found on display. Our record-holding shells include the largest known representatives of the Goliath Conch, the Lightning Whelk, the Atlantic Trumpet Triton, and the Horse Conch.​

 

Shells in Architecture, Art, and Human History

For centuries, shell forms have inspired crafters, builders, and architects. Throughout the Museum, discover how shells have influenced architecture and art across many different human cultures.