Family Programs




Finding Dory Party
Family Film Screening

Join us, Friday, June 16 at 5:00 pm for a screening of Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory!

Dr. Chris Lowe, Courtesy OC Register

Guest Lecture Series: Sharks
Dr. Chris Lowe, CSU Long Beach Shark Lab

Join the Ocean Institute in welcoming guest lecturer Dr. Chris Lowe from CSU Long Beach’s Shark Lab! 

Eventbrite - Special Lecture Event: Dr. Chris Lowe of CSULB Shark Lab

$10.00 per person* 
*Members receive 10% off when you enter your member ID number at checkout. 

With shark sightings along our local coastline increasing, Dr. Lowe will speak on sharks, their behavior, and the research done at the Shark Lab.

Light refreshments will be available.


Tiny Tots: Parent & Me Program
Tuesdays, July 11-August 15
9:00 AM

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: 9:30am – 10:30am

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


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!


Father’s Day Whale Watching Cruise

While aboard the R/V Sea Explorer, enjoy a wonderful morning with Ocean Institute scientists as they introduce you to wildlife along southern California’s coastline, including a wide variety of birds, fish, microscopic plankton, and animals that live in sediment retrieved from the ocean floor. Encounter a pod of playful dolphin or cruise alongside a passing whale. Light pastries, cookies, and coffee will be provided.


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. 


Family Science Nights
Ages 4–104

Thursdays, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Spend a summer evening in our Samueli Conference Center getting “up close and personal” with local scientists. Each experience will include a presentation by a special guest speaker with alternate activities for kids. A different topic will be covered each week.

Thursday, June 22: Slugs and Bugs with the Environmental Nature Center

Thursday, July 22: The Scoop on Poop with Ocean Institute’s Outdoor Education Program 

Thursday, August 17: SLIME!


4th of July Fireworks Cruise

Eventbrite - Copy of 4th of July Fireworks Cruise

Join us aboard the R/V Sea Explorer for a sunset cruise! At sea, you’ll have a unique and unbeatable view of the fireworks while enjoying wine, beer, and light snacks.

Parking Update: The Ocean Institute parking lot may be impacted by holiday traffic. Please consider using the Dana Point Trolley system to get to the Ocean Institute, and have a plan for after the cruise. The Ocean Institute will not be providing a shuttle when the cruise returns.