The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

With unique currents that wash up a variety of seashells both common and rare, Sanibel Island is a top destination in the country for seashell hunters—so it only makes sense that there’s a one-of-a-kind seashell museum to commemorate that beloved pastime. With educational exhibits and shell identification information, it’s a great Sanibel Island attraction to spend an afternoon learning more about the ocean and its inhabitants, both inanimate and alive!

Explore Exhibits with Hundreds of Thousands of Shells

The museum is home to dozens of permanent exhibits, as well as special exhibitions with certain show dates. Highlights include the iconic Hall of Shells where you can see some of the all-stars of the museum’s collection. The exhibits include local shells as well as shells from across the globe, as well as a variety of sizes from nearly microscopic to massive shells you have to see to believe!

Historical Shell Exhibits Throughout the Ages

Shells have always been an important part of human discovery, from early coastal dwelling civilizations to our current fascination with these pieces of the sea. The museum has displays that will let you learn about the historical significance of shells, from architecture to classic art forms. View handmade treasures that incorporated shells, such as clothing and hairpieces, and see art displays made entirely out of shells. You’ll be surprised how much shells have played a role in the human experience!

Beyond Shells Aquariums

A feature that the adults will love as much as the kids includes the Beyond Shells Aquarium, where you can observe sea creatures up close and engage with them via touch tank. Learn about the mollusks that create shells and meet more than 50 species of aquarium inhabitants with a guided experience from museum staff.

Book a Beach Walk with an Expert

If you’d like to book beach walk with a shell expert from the museum, you can call the museum to schedule a tour, which takes off at 9 AM daily—because it’s best to hit the beaches early to find the best shells! With affordable prices for adults and children, this tour is an interesting way to support the museum and get the local expertise of a knowledgeable sheller!

Reserve Your Vacation Rental for Your Seashell Hunting Adventure

At Tropical Escape, we offer a variety of rentals that will situate you perfectly for exploring the best of Sanibel Island. To start planning your vacation, call our team today!

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