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 Outdoor Programming Schedule

 

To help keep visitors safe, we've added new outdoor programming every day at 2:00 pm!

Mon: Mollusk Reproduction Talk

Have you ever wondered how mollusks reproduce and grow their shells? A museum educator will highlight the different types of mollusk reproduction, and answer all of your questions.

Tue: Trivia

Show off your mollusk knowledge, learn new things, and win fun prizes!

Wed: CSI Mollusks

What makes the holes in shells that you find on the beach? Find out in this talk!

Thu: Camouflage Talk

A museum educator will discuss how squid, octopus, and other mollusks blend in with their environments.

Fri: Mollusk Bingo

Our take on the classic game!

Sat: Invasive Mollusks Talk

Some mollusks can be harmful if introduced into the wrong habitat. Find out which ones!

Sun: Venomous Mollusks Talk

Some snails can hunt, sting, and eat worms and fish! Learn which species can be found in SWFL, and in other parts of the world.

Regular Daily Programming

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum offers daily beach walks on Sanibel Island.

Beach Walks

All Beach Walks are postponed until further notice.

 

Time: 9am daily, year-round

Location: meet at the big chair outside the Island Inn, 3111 W. Gulf Dr.

 

Join our passionate shell experts for a one-hour walk along the beach to learn about the shells, mollusks, and other marine life that washes ashore on Sanibel.

Reservations required.

A visitor to Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum touches a live mollusk in a touch pool.

Touch Pools

Time: throughout the day

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

 

Included with Museum admission; no reservations required.

Activities for kids at the National Shell Museum include shell arts and crafts.

Shell Arts & Crafts

Shell Arts & Crafts is currently available as a take-home experience only.

​Build your own shell creation and exercise your imagination and artistic talents. Then take home a treasure that's sure to be a favorite reminder of your visit. Fun for the whole family!

 

Included with Museum admission; no reservations required.

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.