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Times of the Islands Magazine

Learning about Local Life: Local Attractions Offer Educational Opportunities

Mar 09, 2022 10:52AM ● By ANN MARIE O’PHELAN

Southwest Florida offers an abundance of plants, animals, marine life, and birds with unique characteristics and habitats. Nature lovers can learn more about these local inhabitants and those that live beyond by visiting establishments dedicated to helping conserve, preserve, and celebrate life in many forms.  

Those who love shells and mollusks (the animals that create them) will learn by experiencing the vast collection, aquariums, and programs at Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. The Great Hall of Shells shows off some of the museum’s collection of 500,000 shells. The Beyond Shells aquarium gallery has more than 50 species of marine life, including a giant Pacific octopus, and there are two touch tanks for children. “The museum offers fun and educational activities for the whole family,” says marketing director Stephanie Muddell. Check online for new classes, lectures, exhibits, programs, and beach walks.  


Ann Marie O’Phelan is a Southwest Florida resident and a regular contributor to TOTI Media. 



Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum 

3075 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel 




IMAG - History & Science Center

2000 Cranford Avenue, Fort Myers 



718 Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Myers Beach