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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 fundraising weekend event combines renowned jazz artists with an elegant evening of epicurean dining, cocktails, and live and silent auctions. Past performers include Gerald Albright, David Benoit, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Mindi Abair and Peter White. Since its beginning in 2003, this extraordinary event has raised over one million dollars to benefit Ocean Institute hands-on, ocean-oriented educational programs.

Event Overview

Friday, January 22, 2016 - Friday Concert
Friday Performing Artists – To be announced
Food & Wine Reception with a Silent Auction followed by the concert

Saturday, January 23, 2016 - Saturday Gala
Saturday Performing Artists – To be announced
Cocktail Reception, Gourmet Four Course Dinner, Silent Auction and Performance

For more information visit www.oijazzfestival.com or call Eileen Hayden at 949-496-2274 x 337 or elhayden@ocean-institute.org.


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, 2015

Join the fun and form a team or sign up individually to participate in the Ocean Institute’s Sea Star Stroll on Saturday, May 16th. 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!

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 Gold Coast Raffle

Ticket sales begin in July; Final Deadline in October; Grand Prize Drawing in November
The Ocean Institute is pleased to announce its 11th Annual Laguna Beach Gold Coast Raffle. Buy a ticket and secure your chance to win a beautiful Laguna Beach home or $1 million in cash. Purchase early to qualify for additional cash and prizes. Click here for complete information.

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! >