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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*

Ocean Discovery Camp
Ages 8–9

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How do marine biologists get the animals for their aquariums? How do you feed and care for animals like jellyfish? Immerse yourself in the fun and fascinating world of a marine biologist. You will work in our laboratories creating and maintaining an aquarium display. You will also explore the world the animals live in by bringing samples up from the ocean floor, using microscopes to study some of the ocean’s smallest inhabitants, dissecting a squid and using other scientific equipment to reveal the mysteries of the ocean.

Other camp highlights include a variety of challenges with underwater robots, a two-hour adventure cruise aboard the R/V Sea Explorer, and a field trip to the SEA LIFE Aquarium next door to LEGOLAND California in Carlsbad.

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

Seafarer’s Odyssey Camp
Ages 9–10

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Sailing, rowing, and the arts of the sailor – experience them all through fun, hands-on activities. Our odyssey begins with exploration and discovery of human-powered vessels as our adventurers learn to row a traditional longboat. From there we travel through the Golden Age of Sail aboard a traditional tallship and continue through time, culminating onboard our modern research vessel. 

Seafarer’s adventurers will have the opportunity to crew and set sail aboard the Spirit of Dana Point, row traditional longboats, and work traditional maritime equipment on the Maritime Pier of the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center.  From the past to the present, come embark on a maritime adventure through time that you will not soon forget!

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

Coastal Explorer Camp
Ages 10–12

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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*

Buccaneer Adventure Camp
Ages 7–8

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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

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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

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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!

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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