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Events at the Ocean Institute

The Ocean Institute hosts unique fundraising events throughout the year to help support our educational programs, facility maintenance, save the ocean drives, and student aid funds. These exciting events are open to the community and play a pivotal role in promoting our mission of ocean education.

Sponsorship and donation opportunities are available for our fundraising events.

Kids' Watershed Conf.
Jazz Festival
January Featured Events
Girls in Ocean Science
On-going Events
Festival of Whales

Boat Show
Sea Star Stroll

April Featured Events
Toshiba Tall Ships Festival
Boat Show
Home Raffle
On-going Events

A Hands-on Learning Exploration

Annual Events

Ocean Institute Jazz Festival
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. Since its beginning in 2003, this extraordinary event has raised over one million dollars to benefit Ocean Institute hands-on, ocean-oriented educational programs. Please support the Ocean Institute and join us at this year's Red Hot Jazz Festival!

Event Overview

The highly popular Ocean Institute Jazz Festival featuring Rick Braun encompasses two evenings of activities:

FRIDAY, JANUARY 22, 2016 is the opening night offering a silent auction and wine reception with a selection of fine wines and hors d'oeuvres located at multiple food stations hosted by local restaurants. There will also be a dessert and coffee offering concluding the reception, followed by the jazz concert performance. Friday's event is limited to 300 guests.

SATURDAY, JANUARY 23, 2016 is the Premier Evening at the Ocean Institute and features a Gala Gourmet Dinner and Jazz Performance. The elegant, intimate affair includes a cocktail reception with passed canapés and an award-winning, four-course taste extravaganza. This year's host chef will be Rob Wilson, the executive chef of the Montage Laguna Beach. He will be spearheading the creation of a menu unique to this event and prepared by celebrated executive chefs from local resorts. The evening also includes connoisseur silent and live auctions. Saturday's event is limited to 180 guests.

For more information visit www.oijazzfestival.com or contact Erin Slattery at eslattery@ocean-institute.org or 949-496-2274 x 416.


Kids' Conference on Watersheds
The Ocean Institute launched its annual watershed program to teach 5th grade students from southern California about the science of the watersheds. 2,000 students per year participate in the program which provides them with the opportunity to present the findings of their studies to their peers, local elected officials, and professionals in the field.

The Watershed program is made possible through the generous support of Miocean, SIMA, Orange County Community Foundation, the Kenneth and Eileen Norris Foundation, and Wells Fargo Foundation.


Girls in Ocean Science Teen Conference
February & March
These exciting conferences are dedicated to inspiring young women to pursue degrees and careers in the sciences. Sixteen prominent female scientists from around the country interact with the girls in a series of hands-on workshops aboard our research vessel, Sea Explorer, and in the Ocean Institute’s teaching labs. The conferences, split into two day-long programs, are designed for enthusiastic middle and high school girls who have an interest in science. Girls will explore careers in areas such as ocean conservation, marine biology and ecology, oceanography, and animal husbandry.
More info >


Festival of Whales
Celebrate the annual migration of the California Gray Whale! Join us as we participate in the community-wide event. See the migration live on our Gray Whale Adventure Cruise. Experience the history of whaling and sailing aboard the Spirit of Dana Point and participate in Citizen Science while touring the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center. Engage in activities throughout our facility, tours, and demonstrations!

Click here for all of the Ocean Institute’s activities.

For complete festival information throughout the city, visit: http://www.festivalofwhales.org/

The Sea Star Stroll

May 14, 2016

Join the fun and form a team or sign up individually to participate in the Ocean Institute’s Sea Star Stroll on Saturday, May 14th. The Sea Star Stroll is a fundraising walk along an exceptionally scenic coastal bluff in Dana Point that ends with an Open House Festival. All funds raised benefit the Ocean Institute's hands-on marine science, maritime history, and environmental education programs. For more information and to register, visit www.seastarstroll.com.


31st Toshiba Tall Ships Festival
Time: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day
(Visiting Ship Tours conclude at 3:30 PM)
September 12 – 13, 2015
(Sunset Parade Sept. 11)

The Ocean Institute is celebrating its 31st year hosting the Toshiba Tall Ships Festival, the largest annual gathering of tall ships on the West Coast! Come and explore the majesty and wonder of tall ships through the smells, sounds and sights of real working tall ships. Interactive living-history encampments including blacksmiths, schrimshaw artists, and the infamous Port Royal Privateers are sure to entertain and amaze guests of all ages and are not to be missed. Come celebrate with us as we celebrate the area’s rich maritime history!

Ticket sales are now open for:

· Pirate Adventures Passes
· Sunset Parade Sail
· Cannon Battles
· Escort Cruises

Participating tall ships typically include the brig Pilgrim, Spirit of Dana Point, Californian, Curlew,Exy Johnson, Irving Johnson, and the American Pride. Visiting ships are subject to change. For complete information about the festival visit: www.tallshipsfestival.com.

11th Annual Laguna Beach Million Dollar Home Raffle

Ticket sales for 2015 have ended, please check back with us in July 2016.

Help support the Ocean Institute by participating in our largest fundraiser – the Laguna Beach Million Dollar Home Raffle. As California's most successful Home Raffle, we have awarded over $12 million in prizes since its inception and have raised necessary funds to support our educational programs. Through your patronage, we are able to provide low cost field trips and educational experiences to students from all across Southern California.

Buy a ticket and secure your chance to win a beautiful Laguna Beach home or $1 million in cash. Tickets are $150 each and a maximum of 20,000 tickets will be sold. Purchase early to qualify for additional cash and prizes.

Click here for complete information or call our Raffle ticket sales office at (949) 542-3600.

HEADLANDS & BEYOND: A Hands-on Learning Exploration

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*
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

*Admission fee includes Pilgrim Tour when available.

Plan your visit! >