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10 Jan 2020
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Things to do on Sanibel

It’s been a long wait, but the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum has finally reopened for the New Year after months of remodeling.  Though there are still some finishing touches being made, but all visitors can now see new and various exhibits.  And coming this March, the Museum will premiere its new aquarium (the “Living Collection Gallery”)!

Opened in 1995 after over 10 years of campaigning and development, the Museum was the brainchild of local shell collector and shell craftsman Charlene and Rolland McMurphy, who wanted to use Sanibel’s popularity as one of the most popular shell-collecting in the world to create a place dedicated to the environmental importance of mollusks and the shells they produce.  The idea caught on quickly and gained support and expertise under the guidance of Dr. R. Tucker Abbott.  In 1989, the Bailey family (of Bailey’s General Store) donated a portion of wetland in memory of their parents, Frank P. Bailey and Annie Mead Matthews.  Once approved for development, a campaign office was opened with actor Raymond Burr invited to serve as campaign chairman until his death in 1993 (A memorial garden is displayed near the entrance.).  Construction began in 1994 and was open to the public a year later.

In the time since, the Museum has gained international recognition and support and continues to educate on mollusks and conservancy.

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is located at 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Road and is open daily from 10am to 5pm.  Admission is $15 for adults, $9 for kids 12-17, $7 for children 5-11, and under 5 are free.

Be sure to check their website ( for updates on the Aquarium, blogs, and other fascinating shell facts.  It’s shell-acious when you Book Direct and Save!