SANIBEL, Fla. — Sanibel boasts some amazing beaches and shoreline along Florida’s west coast, but something else they’re known for are their shells.

  • National Shell Museum shows assortments of shells
  • Over 335 different types of shells
  • One of the only museums of its kind

Jose Leal has worked with shells — more specifically mollusks, the animals that make shells — his entire life.

You could see his life’s work resolves around them and his place of work at the Bailey Matthews National Shell Museum.

“It’s a very specialized museum in the fact that we focus just on the shells and animals that make them," said Jose Leal, director of Science at the museum.

There are dozens of unique displays for guests to check out as you walk through the museum. You’ll find shells you may have never seen before.

In fact they have a record breaking variety of mollusks you won’t find in another museum, coming in at more than 335 different types.

It’s one of the only natural history museums of its kind tucked away in Sanibel.

You won’t just see empty shells either — their live demonstrations get you up close and personal with actual mollusks.

“Sanibel is famous for the abundance of shells on our coastline. If you come here, you get acquainted with the shells and animals that make them. It’s the perfect match between nature and something cool to do," Leal said.

The Bailey Matthews National Shell Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can find more information on their website.