Aquarium Reopening Friday


The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum & Aquarium on Sanibel is re-opening its Living Gallery of Aquariums Friday. The aquariums will house a mix of mollusks, corals, fish, and other marine life species as they did pre-hurricane. New exhibits will also be on display.

The surrounding exhibits have been significantly expanded to dive deeper into the biology and behavior of mollusks, the dynamics of their ecosystems, and challenges and successes of their conservation. Species of marine life on exhibit beginning March 1 include Two-Spot Octopus, Flamingo Tongue, Disco Clam, Giant Clam, Queen Conch, and others. Select other species, such as the Giant Pacific Octopus, will be added in the near future.

“The goals of this undertaking were to grow the educational impact of the Museum, to add value and enjoyment to the visitor experience, and to create compelling, current displays,’’ said Executive Director Sam Ankerson.

In addition to the Museum’s ongoing educational lectures, fieldwork, classes, research, and K-12 programs (all which continued throughout the rebuilding), with the aquariums open the Museum will now also offer unique onsite opportunities for visitors including daily Keeper Chats, Touch Pool Talks, and a new mobile activity cart that will feature ‘’Shell and Tell’’ shell identification. Each of these programs is included in the cost of admission.
Work to renew and rebuild the permanent shell exhibits in the Great Hall of Shells on the Museum’s second floor will continue through the spring. Once complete, outcomes will include over three times as many shells on display as before, expanded exhibits of conservation and environmental education, and a new family activity area.

Admission fees are reduced as the full restoration of the Museum experience is completed. Beginning March 1 admission will be $10 for adults (18+), $5 for youth (5-17), and FREE for Museum Members, children under 5, and active military. Open hours will be 10am to 5pm, Tuesday through Saturday. The Museum Store will also be open, with all proceeds supporting the rebuilding efforts and recovery.

Visitors are encouraged to visit for additional news and progress updates.


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