South Africa
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The Shell Museum & Aquarium is situated in Mossel Bay in the Western Cape, South Africa.

The Bartholomeu Dias Museum Complex features many attractions and activities for visitors in Mossel Bay and the Shell Museum & Aquarium is another. The building was originally named the Shirley Building, after Joe Shirley who used it for his plumbing business. The building was built in 1902 as an annex of the old mill (now the Maritime Museum), it was also used as storage facilities, a furniture factory and a motor garage before being restored and opened as the Shell Museum in 1988.

The upper level boasts a collection of shells from all over the world and holds the largest South African collection of terrestrial, fresh water and marine shells. This level also has a whale and dolphin exhibition. On the lower level there is more fun for the kids with various aquariums including a touch tank that allows you to feel sea anemones and pick up hermit crabs. This allows visitors and school groups to actively learn about the sea life along the South African coastline.

The Museum portrays an interesting exhibit on the history of man’s use of shells over the ages and offers all the information on shells that you never knew.

Things to do and see


Admission rates to the Museum Complex are between R5 and R40. Prices are subject to change and it is recommended that you contact the Dias Museum Complex to confirm rates.


Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 16˚C and 27˚C with high rainfall in March and October.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 7˚C and 21˚C with the lowest rainfall in June and July.


Commercial Airlines offer flights into George Airport, 50 km from Mossel Bay. Car hire facilities are located at the Airports. 

Please note the Museums are closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day

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