Sanibel Island is one of the best seashell collecting spots in the world. So it’s only fitting that there is a shell museum in the city of Sanibel. The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum displays many exhibits that were collected on the island’s own beaches. The museum enjoys 34 exhibits of beautiful shells and mollusks, public programs and in-house resources that also serve as an information and resource center for national and international scientists, students and shell enthusiasts.
Opened since 1995, the non-profit Bailey Matthews Shell Museum features shells in art and history, shell habitat, common Southwest Florida shells and other exhibits. There is a children’s learning lab with a hands-on play area, displays, games and a tank with indigenous mollusks. The museum store offers a nice selection of shell books. During your visit, there are two movies available for viewing. The museum sponsors many fine lectures, craft classes, beach walks, tours and camps. Knowledgeable volunteers guide you through the museum and are available to answer questions.
Located at 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road on the Gulf coast of Southwest Florida, there are many interesting daytime and evening lecture series, shell crafting, jewelry events, and a range of educational programming. Coming up In January, a Beach Party Gala at the Sanctuary Golf Club will be held to benefit the museum’s educational programs. Another special event on the busy calendar is a one-of-a-kind cruise with a naturalist on Captiva Cruises South Seas Island Resort from March thru December. Sanibel’s Island Inn also has beach walks with a naturalist from March through December.