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


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.


Adventure Sail
Pirates, Patriots, and Privateers

Set sail aboard the schooner Spirit of Dana Point and experience California from the perspective of an early tallship explorer.  Join the crew to help raise sail, handle lines, and steer the ship, or simply sit back, relax and enjoy the majesty of sailing the seas aboard a tallship.


Bioluminescence Night Cruise

There’s a luminous underwater world just waiting to shine! Learn about the remarkable ability of some marine animals to glow in the dark and witness this curiously beautiful phenomenon.*


Sunset Parade Sails
Friday, September 9th

Sunset Sail:

Join the armada as you cast off for adventure aboard a historic tall ship. Sing sea shanties, haul up sail, or simply sit back and enjoy the spectacular demonstration of skill, knowledge and survival!


Sails ‘n Ales Tall Ships Festival Kickoff Party
Friday, September 9

Enjoy the Parade of Sail from the Ocean Institute

Help us celebrate the start of 32nd Annual Ocean Institute Tall Ships Festival presented by Toshiba with our Sails ‘n Ales Party!

Featuring beer tastings, live music from LA Edwards & Jesse Daniel Edwards, food trucks, and mermaid encounters, it’s an event the whole family can enjoy!

Tickets include admission, souvenir tasting glass, unlimited tastes,
live music, and free parking. 

Tastings from: Sierra Nevada, Stone Brewing, Bottle Logic Brewing, Mother Earth Brew Company, and Valiant Brewing. 


Mermaid Breakfast
Saturday, September 10 and Sunday, September 11

Courtesy Sheroes Entertainment LLC


Join us and our special guest, Mermaid Catalina, for a one-of-a-kind breakfast experience! Meet and greet with our special Mermaid friend, make a fun mermaid craft, enjoy pancakes from Party in a Box catering, and watch our mermaid swim underwater! Family fun for all mermaids at heart! 

Pricing: $40.00 per person*
*Includes a Tall Ships Adventure Pass for admission to the Festival; Members receive 10% off when you enter your member ID at checkout. 



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