Family Programs




Holiday Lights Viewing Party
During the Annual Dana Point Parade of Lights

Join us this holiday season for a night of mermaids, merriment and more!

Eventbrite - Ocean Institute Holiday Lights Viewing Party

From story-time with a live mermaid, to pictures with Santa on the Spirit of Dana Point Tallship, we truly have something for everyone. Sip on gourmet hot chocolate and enjoy a beautiful light display in Dana Point Harbor while being serenaded by carolers all evening. And don’t forget to swing by the Laurena G. Chambers Gift Shop to purchase a discounted, limited edition 2016 Ocean Institute ornament as a keepsake from this beautiful night.


Mermaid Under the Sea Holiday Tea
Join us for Tea, Treats, and Amazing Mermaid Feats

A special holiday tea with our favorite Mermaids, will make this holiday season extra sweet! 

Eventbrite - Mermaid Under the Sea Holiday Tea Saturday December 10th, 2016

Join us for a late morning tea including finger sandwiches, specialty teas, hot chocolate bar, and cupcake decorating. Our favorite mermaid friend, Catalina, will join us for a meet & greet, story time, and a swim! 


Mermaid Swim Shows
See our Mermaids Swim in this special Holiday Show!

Join us on Saturday, December 10 and Sunday, December 11 for two special 20 minute Mermaid Swim Shows at 1:30 and 2:30! 

Tickets include admission to the Ocean Institute for the day of your swim show purchase. 

Pricing: $12.50 per child/$15.00 per adult
*Free member admission is not valid for this special event.

Tickets are limited so please purchase in advance. Ticket show times cannot be switched or cancelled. 


Holiday Bonus Days
Explore more this holiday season!

For special weekdays throughout this holiday season, we will open our labs for visitors to explore! Join in special presentations and dissections, or simply explore our touch tanks and labs on your own!

Admission is just $5.00! 

Upcoming Bonus Days: 
Friday, November 25 
Monday, December 26 
Tuesday, December 27 
Wednesday, December 28 
Thursday, December 29 
Friday, December 30 

We hope you can join us!


Tidepool Hikes
Explore the world between tides!

Join the Ocean Institute for a tidepool hike lead by one of our expert naturalists.The hike will take us into the rocky Marine Protected Area located directly behind the Ocean Institute. Families can explore the area and search for snails, crabs, sea stars, and other animals that make the tidepools their home.  The winter months are the best time to explore these majestic marine ecosystems!


Tiny Tots: Parent & Me Program
Tuesdays, January 17-February 21, 2017

Sea Star Adventures

You and your child are invited to join us for this six-week adventure exploring shapes, colors, textures, and more with everyone’s favorite tidepool animal, the sea star! Each Tuesday session includes exploration, an animal encounter, and an activity. Suitable for ages 2 to 3 years.

Time: 9:00am – 10:15am

Drop-in class: $30.00  (6 week series: $150.00 is not available after January 17 )