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Ocean Institute

Mission Statement

Using the ocean as our classroom, we inspire children to learn.


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The Ocean Institute, founded in 1977 as the Orange County Marine Institute, is a community-based 501(c)(3) organization that educates 350,000 visitors annually through over 60 marine science and maritime history programs. We are located on 2.4 acres in the Dana Point Harbor; adjacent to a Marine Life Conservation Area. The facility is an ocean education center that offers in-depth Marine Science, Maritime History and Outdoor Education programs.

The Institute includes state-of-the-art teaching labs, the spectacular Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, two historic tallships, and an oceanographic research vessel. Immersion-based field trips range from one-hour science labs to multi-day programs at sea. All programs are designed to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a deep commitment to learning.

We invite you to explore the ocean’s underwater world and California’s fascinating maritime history through fun, interactive programs and family activities that indulge your ocean curiosity. Weekdays offer entrance into the Headlands and Beyond exhibit, while weekends offer a site-wide journey through the campus. Throughout the year we also offer family programs, summer camps, whale-watching cruises, tallship sails, and various events including the annual Toshiba Tall Ships Festival and Festival of Whales.

deep sea fishOcean Institute Jazz Festival
January 22 & 23, 2016

The Ocean Institute's popular Jazz Festival combines some of the jazz world's most renowned artists with elegant epicurean dining, cocktails and wine reception, as well as live and silent auctions. Come see Rick Braun & Friends: Richard Elliot & Larry Braggs at this year's Red Hot Jazz Festival.

For more information visit www.oijazzfestival.com.


Visitor Information >

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ocean institute programs

At a Glance:

Public Hours
Weekdays: 10:00am to 4:00pm
Weekends: 10:00am to 3:00pm
Pilgrim open most Sundays: 11:00am to 3:30pm

Admission Fees
Admission sales end 45 min. before we close each day.

Members & children under 2: FREE
Guests: $5.00

Members & children under 2: FREE
Adults (13-64): $10.00
Seniors (65+) & Youth (2-12 years): $7.50

Cruise Prices*
$35/adult (Members: $22/adult) $22/child (Members: $19/child)

Sail Prices* (Min age 4yrs)
$40/adult (Members: $36/adult) $23/child (Members: $21/child)

*Includes weekend admission.

A processing fee is added to all credit card, phone, and internet reservations.

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Miocean continues to partner with the Ocean Institute for Watershed programs.
Learn More >