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Unique Marine Biome Learning Programs

On weekends, we open our doors to the public for a sneak peek into how science, history, and literature are used to inspire life-long learners! We also offer a variety of cruises, sails, and special programs.

Upcoming Programs

Holiday Events

Enjoy two festive evenings at the Ocean Institute with the added ambiance of Dana Point’s IlluminOcean light event.

Parade of Lights Viewing Party – December 5
Celebrate the holidays at our annual Member Holiday Party. Bring the family to enjoy refreshments and crafts, while watching the Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights. Registration is required. Members are free; Non-Members have an admission fee.
Click here to register >

Boat Parade of Lights Cruise – December 12
Join us aboard the R/V Sea Explorer for a festive holiday cruise around the beautiful Dana Point Harbor in the annual Parade of Lights. Enjoy holiday music as well as scrumptious hors d'oeuvres, sweets, and hot beverages.
Click here to register >


Ocean Institute Jazz Festival
January 23 – 25, 2015

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. This extraordinary event has raised over one million dollars to benefit Ocean Institute hands-on, ocean-oriented educational programs. Tickets and sponsorships are now available.


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Thank You Ocean
Weekends in November & December; 10am – 3pm
The ocean provides a vast array of resources for humans and this is your opportunity to understand in greater detail just what these resources are. In these two months we will learn not only about what the ocean gives to us, but about our own native treasures here in Southern California, from marine resources to unique plants and animals on the coast. Make your own cards for the holidays and show your appreciation and gratefulness for Earth’s gifts by making your own! Activities are included with general weekend admission.
2015 Festival of Whales
March 7 – 8 and 14 – 15, 2015
10am – 4pm

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.
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Ocean Education Center Exhibits and Visiting
Public Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10:00am - 3:00pm
Tour: Thursday & Friday, 3:30pm - 4:30pm
Admission Fees & More | Members are free, join today!
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Annual Programs

Sailing Tallships and Sailing
Join the crew or simply sit-back and enjoy the majesty of sailing the seas aboard a tallship.

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R/V Sea Explorer R/V Sea Explorer and Cruising
Cruise with our experienced and knowledgeable staff on a variety of programs.

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ABTS Kids Members-Only Events
Unique events just for our members including Parade of Lights Viewing Party, Cruises and more!

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Sailing Toshiba Tall Ships Festival
This year, the Ocean Institute is celebrating its 30th year hosting the Toshiba Tall Ships Festival! Come and explore the majesty and wonder of tall ships through the smells, sounds and sights of real working tall ships.
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At Sea

Educational Programs for Schools/Small Groups

On weekdays, students participate in our innovative and award-winning educational programs.

Ocean Institute Representatives will come to your school and meet with you.

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General Information

Contact Information

Ocean Institute
24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr.
Dana Point, CA 92629
Phone:(949) 496-2274
Fax: (949) 496-4296
email: oi@ocean-institute.org

Office and Registration Hours

(open for summer camps and school programs; exhibits closed)
Saturday and Sunday:


Gift Shop Hours

9:00am to 5:00pm

Public Hours

Saturday and Sunday:
(Closed Monday - Friday)
Admission Rates:
Members: Free
Adult (13yrs +): $6.50
Youth (3yrs - 12yrs): $4.50
Kids (2yrs and under): Free

Behind the Scenes Tour Hours

Thursday & Friday:
3:30pm 45 min.
$2.00 per person, members are free.

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ocean institute programs
What is the Ocean Institute?
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programs ocean institute
Bob McKnight: CEO Quiksilver
Hear what Bob McKnight has to say about the programs at the Ocean Institute.
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ocean institute programs
California Travel Expert
View video clip of the Ocean Institute as seen on California Travel Expert with Veronica Hill.
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programs ocean institute
ocean institute programs
California Travel Expert
View video clip of the tallship Pilgrim as seen on California Travel Expert with Veronica Hill.
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programs ocean institute
ocean institute programs
California Travel Expert
View video clip of Marine Wildlife Cruise as seen on California Travel Expert with Veronica Hill
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