Family Programs




Open House
Meet & Greet with Ocean Institute's new President & CEO

Join us in welcoming our new President & CEO Dan Pingaro! Enjoy coffee and conversation on Saturday, April 29 from 10 am to 12 pm at the Ocean Institute. 

Admission to the Ocean Institute is FREE for this special event. 

Learn more about Dan here. 

Scott Schmitt

Tiny Tots: Parent & Me Program
Mighty Mariners

Tuesdays, April 4 - May 9 | 9:00am – 10:15am

Join us for this six-week, maritime themed series of exploration and play. Stretch your child’s imagination through creative play that supports language development, social interaction, and problem solving.

Suitable for children ages 2 to 3 years; must be accompanied by an adult. 


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.


Father’s Day Adventure at Sea
Treat Dad to a day at Sea

Sign aboard for an exciting voyage on a real tallship! First, you and dad will enjoy breakfast burritos, fresh fruit, and a beer (for dad) and juice on our Historic Maritime Wharf. Once we set sail on the Spirit of Dana Point, you and dad can join the crew in handling lines and raising sails. You may help steer the ship, or just sit back and enjoy being out on the open ocean. This thrilling sail will create memories you’ll never forget!


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.