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All programs are designed to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a deep commitment to learning.

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A Wave of Jazz 2017

Purchase Tickets Today!

The Ocean Institute turns 40 this year so we hope you will help us celebrate with two nights of exciting musical entertainment from Michael Paulo, Ray Parker, Jr. and more!

FRIDAY MARCH 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Join us for a delightful evening of the finest local restaurants, fantastic jazz, delicious food and wine, craft beer, and auction!


Fundraising events are held year round to help support a number of causes. Come and join the fun!


Whale Tales
Festival of Whales 2017

During the festival weekends, a hands-on journey into the mysterious and captivating world of whales will allow visitors to explore a variety of fascinating phenomena unique to these magnificent animals. Guests follow the migration of the gray whale as they move through the facility, starting in Baja, moving on to the California Coast, and ending up in Alaska.

Along the way there will be opportunities to investigate how whales communicate and eat, to see how changes to the marine environment affects them, and to learn about ongoing research.


Whale Watching Cruise

Join Ocean Institute scientists on a Whale Watching Cruise aboard the R/V Sea Explorer to view the wildlife that make the coastal waters of Dana Point their home. Includes hands-on activities for kids. Each ticket also admits one to our Ocean Education Center, which includes aquariums and more activities for the kids! *Good for the same day as the cruise*


Whale’s Tale Sailing Adventure
Aboard the Spirit of Dana Point

From “Devil Fish” to “Friendliest Whale,” explore how time and discovery have shaped man’s perception of the magnificent Gray Whale. Join us for an exciting tallship sailing adventure as you gain new insights into man’s evolving relationship with the ocean and the giants that roam our California Coast as we sail in search of the Gray Whale. 

Sail Prices

$60/Adult (18-54)
$50/Senior (55 & up) and Active Duty Military (ID required)
$40/Child (17 and under; minimum age 4)


Art and Sea
Inspired by the Ocean Institute's Living Collection


Join the Ocean Institute for a one-of-a-kind paint class with Motif Paint Events during the Festival of Whales! Inspired by our adolescent gray whale skeleton, GraySea, artists will create their own canvas painting to take home.

Included with admission to the Ocean Institute for Festival of Whales weekend only. Donations to Motif Paint Events encouraged. 


Film Screening: Humpback Whales
A MacGillivray Freeman Film

Enjoy a spell-binding evening at the Ocean Institute for a special screening of MacGillivray Freeman’s Humpback Whales, narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor. This up-close and personal look into the world of humpback whales includes a short presentation and question and answer session following the film. Join us as we unlock the secrets of the humpback whale.


Public Closed Dates

Due to special events happening at the Ocean Institute, we will be closed the following days to the public. 



Making Waves

Ocean Institute programs have succeeded brilliantly in the most important mission: reaching and actively engaging the imagination of American youth.
- Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Maritime Education