Shells of Sanibel & Captiva

Local gifts from the sea
Our exhibits, daily programming and special events offer great insights into local shelling.

"Could spend hours here on a rainy day" - Mrs. Dardar (TripAdvisor)

The National Shell Museum is the leading authority on Sanibel and Captiva shells. Multiple exhibits give guests the opportunity to see prized junonias, as well as fig shells, pen shells, and more. Why visit a Shell Museum on one of the best islands for shelling? Because The National Shell Museum offers extensive information on how and where to shell on Sanibel and Captiva - and even how to clean and transport your gifts from the sea. You'll also get a chance to see the various habitats where local shells can be found, and also learn more about the earliest shell collectors on the island.

Gifts from the Sea

Become familiar with some of the most common species of seashells on our local beaches and in the backbay waters. Banded tulips, junonias, pen shells, and more!

Sanibel and Captiva Habitats

Local shells live beneath the seas in San Carlos Bay and offshore, on wharves and seawalls, on beaches, in mangrove estuaries, and on dry land. Discover the many varied environments where local shells can be found.

Early Sanibel Shell Collectors

When conchology became a serious science and a popular hobby, early settlers and visiting scientists sampled and classified the rich molluscan fauna of Sanibel and Captiva.

Exhibit sponsored by C.W. & Lucy Stoll in memory of Charles Christian & Anne Christina Stoll, and by Everett & Martha Ballard.