Entry Fee : Adults: INR 250 Children (Up to 17 years): INR 125
Timings : Monday to Saturday: 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM Public Holidays: 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM Sunday: Closed
World of Seashells, Mauritius Overview
Have you picked up shells from the beach and kept them safe almost like a treasure? For some, it is a hobby to kill off their leisure time, and for others, it is a souvenir with loads of holiday memories attached to it. World of Seashells is the living manifestation of Eric Le Court’s passion for collecting seashells and exhibiting them in this beautiful museum.
With more than 1800 species of 8000 seashells in 70 display cabinets, World of Seashells is located on the first floor of Chateau de Bel Ombre. Eric Le Court, the founder and collector of this enchanting museum, has gathered shells from Mauritius and different parts of the world and assembled an impressive collection that gives us a chance to explore the aquatic riches!
After a cyclone in 1960, Eric Le Court’s parents began collection shells from the different beaches of Mauritius. As a child, Eric would roam on the beaches along with his father and that is how he became passionate about the various types, species, shapes and sizes of shells. As the years rolled by, the cartons and drawers started filling up. After the death of his father, Eric inherited the collection. He conducted several meetings with expert marine biologist Lorenzo Lorenz and bought the collection of Jean Gheo.
About the Museum
Eric Le Court, also going by the name of Professor Sunflower, devoted all his time in shell collection after his retirement and that is when he decided to open the World of Seashells museum to share his passion with the world.
As we enter the museum, it feels like a movie theatre – quite and dark. On the first floor, the visitors can roam freely while exploring the 70 display cases to discover the 1800 species and 7000 shells. The atmosphere in the room is very refreshing and quiet, making it suitable for studious activities. The lighting in the display cases reproduces and replicates the light of day to restore the colours of the shells without denaturing them. It is a fun activity for both the adults and children to recognise some shells and memorising the names of the ones that are unique.
The shells have been classified and categorised in terms of author, name, family and origin. All mollusc families are represented as well. Giberula is the small shell in the collection with a size of one-millimetre while the largest one is Tritonus Charonia that is 400 millimetres. Tritonus Charonia is a worldwide-protected species and is known as the best predator of the Acanthaster starfish, which mostly feeds itself on corals.
Collections in World of Seashells
The collections include the real aquatic marvels, namely cowries, cones, volutes, terebra shells, conches and other fascination varieties of shells coming all the way from Japan, India, Senegal, the Maldives and the Mediterranean Sea. The other seashells on display come from the shores of Mauritius and California, Hawaii, Mexico, Colombia, Australia, New Caledonia and the Red Sea. According to Eric Le Court, the proud owner of this collection, the greatest diversity of seashells is found in Egypt, Madagascar and the Philippines. Quite interestingly, this seashell connoisseur has even discovered a new species in St-Brandon, and it is known as the “Lecourtorum”!
The World of Seashells museum prioritises in sharing Le Court’s passion for these sea treasures. It aims at introducing the visitors to a little-known world. In that way, it helps in creating public awareness of lagoon and beach conservation, not only in Mauritius but also all over the world. The dire need for these kinds of awareness is to turn tables regarding the decreasing rate of shells on the beaches and seas because of factors such as excessive harvesting, intensive fishing and marine activities that disturb their natural habitat.
Therefore, by visiting World of Seashells, you are not only experiencing the intricate creatures of the seas but also taking part in contributing towards spreading the word of awareness among your friends and family. You would be amazed to see the bounty that resides beneath the surface of oceans and seas, and ones love and passion for curating and preserving these nature’s jewel in such a fantastic setting.