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Brief History of the Ocean Institute

Ocean InstituteThe Ocean Institute, founded as the Orange County Marine Institute, is a community-based 501 (c) (3) organization that educates 350,000 visitors annually through over 40 marine science and maritime history programs. Located on 2.4 acres in the Dana Point Harbor, at the edge of the Pacific Ocean and adjacent to a Marine Life Refuge, the site is ideal for hands-on learning about the sea.

The Institute grew steadily from inception to the point that the facilities were at 100% capacity. In 1999, the Board of Directors voted to expand, and initiated a capital fundraising campaign for the design and construction of new facilities. Construction of the six building, 33,800 sq. ft. campus began in early 2001. It took 18 months to build at a cost of $16.5 million, all generously donated by numerous friends from throughout the country. The capstone occasion came in October 2002 when the new Ocean Education Center opened for the people of Southern California and beyond.

Today, students, families and the general public become tallship sailors, research scientists, oceanographers, and explorers while immersed in Ocean Institute school-day and weekend programs.