The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the only museum in the U.S. devoted entirely to shells and mollusks, and one of the best things to do on Sanibel Island. It features more than 30 engaging exhibits of stunning shells, showcasing some of the largest and rarest shell specimens in the world, including the goliath conch, lightning whelk and Atlantic trumpet triton, as well as common Southwest Florida shells, fossil shells and more. New in March 2020, “Beyond Shells: The Mysterious World of Mollusks” adds the live animals that create shells to its must-see experiences. New aquariums include live octopuses, giant clams, nautilus, nudibranchs and gastropods, and two 15-foot-long touch tanks let young visitors get their hands wet. For a perfect Sanibel experience, fun daily beach walks can be reserved, and the nonprofit museum’s scientists also conduct research with local mollusk species.