Attraction Spotlight: Ocean Institute

The Ocean Institute - Dana Point - Image Credit:

The Ocean Institute is one of the top attractions in Dana Point. It's nationally known for the hands-on education provided in marine science. With many programs, such as the ocean education program and the maritime history program, this is one of the best places for students from kindergarten to 12th grade to go for learning about the ocean.

The Institute has won 61 awards for their immersion style programs. With about 115,000 students and 8,000 teachers visiting every year, the Institute is able to teach many about oceanography, the creatures of the sea, science and more. Students can take a voyage on the ocean and study in the labs at the Ocean Institute, as well.


Many different programs are held throughout the year for all different ages. Two upcoming programs are:

  • Sea of Love - Sunday, February 15th from 10am to 3pm
  • 2015 Festival of Whales - March 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th from 10am to 4pm

Along with these two programs, the Ocean Institute offers plenty of annual programs including:

  • Tallships and Sailing
  • Toshiba Tall Ships Festival
  • R/V Sea Explorer and Cruising
  • Educational Programs for Small Groups and Schools
  • And More!

The Institute also hosts birthday parties, special occasion parties and members-only events.


Members receive free admission to the Ocean Institute for an entire year. They also get to attend the members-only events and gain discounts on merchandise, cruises and programs. There are many benefits to becoming a member of the Ocean Institute. Rates for membership are:

  • Senior - $30
  • Individual - $45
  • Senior Family - $50
  • Family - $75
  • Sea Start - $100 - Includes 2 complimentary R/V Sea Explorer Passes
  • Ocean Club - $300
  • Sealife Membership - $500 Includes 8 complimentary R/V Sea Explorer Passes
  • Ocean Advocate - $1,000 - Includes 10 complimentary R/V Se Explorer Passes, 10 annual guests passes and much more!

The Institute also offers corporate rates with other benefits, as well.

Location and Hours

The Ocean Institute is found at 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive in Dana Point. They are open from 10am to 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays for the public and provides behind the scenes tours on Thursdays and Fridays at 3:30pm.

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