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

Summer Camp 9:00am to 4:00pmMonday - Friday*

Coastal Explorer Camp
Ages 10–12

Explore the beautiful, unique coastline of Dana Point in this activity-packed camp. Throughout the week, explore how scientists use models to study our impact on the coastal ecosystem. 

Use your engineering skills to reconstruct a prototype of a Remotely Operated Vehicle to accomplish a specific mission.   Participate in fun activities focusing on marine animals and their environment. This camp includes a two-hour cruise along the coastline looking for blue whales and a full day of scientific sampling and fishing aboard our R/V Sea Explorer. 

Highlights also include kayaking in Dana Point Harbor, a beach day, and exploring the intertidal zone. 

Summer Camp 9:00am to 4:00pmMonday - Friday

Marine Science Careers / Internship Academy
Ages 14–17

This week-long program introduces you to intertidal ecology, animal husbandry, laboratory investigations, and shipboard research in preparation for a marine science internship or career. Program highlights include a snorkeling field trip, an ROV workshop, a 4-hour research cruise aboard the R/V Sea Explorer, and various leadership/team building activities.

Successful program graduates may apply to intern with one of our departments: Animal Husbandry, R/V Sea Explorer, Marine Conservation Area, Public Programs, or Citizen Science. If selected for an internship, you will work on a research project during the school year and present your findings at a symposium hosted at the Ocean Institute.

Summer Camp 9:00am to 4:00pmMonday - Friday*

Buccaneer Adventure Camp
Ages 7–8

Set a course for adventure exploring the seas, encountering the unknown, learning to sail and becoming true buccaneers! Learn about the life of a pirate at sea and experience the lost arts of the mariners. Each day is filled with hands-on activities including fun crafts, sail handling, rowing, storytelling, treasure hunts, encountering historic characters (perhaps a pirate or two!) and voyaging to sea aboard the R/V Sea Explorer. Little Buccaneers complete their pirate training by the end of week and celebrate with “Dress Like a Pirate Day.” Adventures include dockside activities aboard the tall ship Pilgrim and on the floating Maddie James Seaside Learning Center.

Summer Camp 9:00am to 4:00pmMonday - Friday*

Neptune’s Mysteries Camp
Ages 6–7

Become a detective and solve mysteries each day using scientific tools and techniques.  Investigate new cases from our marine ecosystems right here in Dana Point: tide pools, sandy beaches and the open ocean. Use your scientific detective skills to figure out why Becky Blue Whale is so far from home and who-dun-it in our Mackerel Murder Mystery by exploring the Dana Point Marine Conservation Area, taking a Marine Mammal cruise onboard the R/V Sea Explorer, and exploring habits and adaptations of marine creatures. Join us for a fun-filled week of puzzles, ocean-themed crafts, and onsite marine plants and animals.

Summer Camp 9:00am to 12:00pmMonday - Friday*

Sea Squirts Camp
Ages 5–6

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a shark, turtle, sea star, or whale? This camp brings to life some of the biggest and smallest animals in the sea. Each day you will sing a song to introduce a new theme for the day’s activities with highlights that include crafts, sand castle building at Baby Beach and a hunt for treasure. Join us for a fun-filled week!


Whale Watching Cruise

Join Ocean Institute scientists on a Whale Watching Cruise aboard the R/V Sea Explorer to view the whales and dolphins that make the coastal waters of Dana Point their home.

Year-round sightings include Fin whales, Minke whales, Bottlenose and Common dolphins. Other marine mammals can be seen during their annual migrations.



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