Family Programs




Film Screening: Humpback Whales
A MacGillivray Freeman Film

Enjoy a spell-binding evening at the Ocean Institute for a special screening of MacGillivray Freeman’s Humpback Whales, narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor. This up-close and personal look into the world of humpback whales includes a short presentation and question and answer session following the film. Join us as we unlock the secrets of the humpback whale.


Whale Tales
Festival of Whales 2017

During the festival weekends, a hands-on journey into the mysterious and captivating world of whales will allow visitors to explore a variety of fascinating phenomena unique to these magnificent animals. Guests follow the migration of the gray whale as they move through the facility, starting in Baja, moving on to the California Coast, and ending up in Alaska.

Along the way there will be opportunities to investigate how whales communicate and eat, to see how changes to the marine environment affects them, and to learn about ongoing research.


Mother’s Day Whale Watching Cruise

Eventbrite - Mother's Day Whale Watching Cruise

This Mother’s Day, give your mom an experience she won’t soon forget!

Join the Captain and crew of the R/V Sea Explorer as you cruise alongside local wildlife. Sea lions and marine birds are a sure thing. You are also likely to encounter dolphin that are coastal residents and maybe even a whale. Cookies, pastries, coffee, and tea are provided.


Art and Sea
Inspired by the Ocean Institute's Living Collection


Join the Ocean Institute for a one-of-a-kind paint class with Motif Paint Events during the Festival of Whales! Inspired by our adolescent gray whale skeleton, GraySea, artists will create their own canvas painting to take home.

Included with admission to the Ocean Institute for Festival of Whales weekend only. Donations to Motif Paint Events encouraged. 


Earth Day 2017

Ocean Institute invites you celebrate Earth Day with us, April 22, 2017! Events are happening all day long! 

Paint the Earth Day: Tie Dye Workshop

Tie dye a reusable shopping bag using Native American techniques and natural dyes. This workshop is being offered only for Earth Day 2017- sign-up now as spots are limited!

10:30 am
12:30 pm 
2:00 pm 

Workshop Fee: $5.00 (in addition to Ocean Institute Admission)

Eventbrite - Paint the Earth Day: Tie Dye Workshop 


Family “Sea” Over
Ages 8–Adult*

New for 2017

Ages 8–Adult*

Experience all the Ocean Institute has to offer with this unique overnight experience designed for the whole family. Join the crew of our historic ship, Pilgrim, raising sail, hoisting cargo and more! After you’ve worked up an appetite, enjoy a home cooked meal by our cook around our campfire. Learn sea chanties, legends and lore, and the secrets of celestial navigation. Families will camp out in our facility before embarking on a whale watching cruise the following morning aboard the R/V Sea Explorer. Search for dolphins, whales, and other local marine mammals with our expert staff.