Plan Your Experience

All programs are designed to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a deep commitment to learning.

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Tall Ships Festival 2017

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A Wave of Jazz 2017

Purchase Tickets Today!

The Ocean Institute turns 40 this year so we hope you will help us celebrate with two nights of exciting musical entertainment from Michael Paulo, Ray Parker, Jr. and more!

FRIDAY MARCH 24, 2017 at 6:00 pm

Join us for a delightful evening of the finest local restaurants, fantastic jazz, delicious food and wine, craft beer, and auction!


Fundraising events are held year round to help support a number of causes. Come and join the fun!

Summer Camp 9:00am to 4:00pmMonday - Friday

Ocean Discovery Camp
Ages 8–9

How do animals survive in the deep sea?  Do fish have a sense of smell?  Why do some objects float in the ocean, while others sink?  Investigate these questions and more as you discover how our ocean works. Assist in collecting samples of local organisms, use microscopes to study plankton, dissect a fish, and discover how animals are adapted to live in their environments.

Other camp highlights include driving a remotely operated vehicle, a two-hour cruise aboard the R/V Sea Explorer, an exploration of the Dana Point Marine Protected Area, and a field trip to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

Summer Camp 9:00am to 4:00pmMonday - Friday

Seafarer’s Odyssey Camp
Ages 9–10

Sailing, rowing, and the arts of the sailor –experience them all with fun, hands-on activities. The odyssey begins with exploration and discovery of human powered vessels as you learn to row a traditional longboat. From there travel on through the Golden Age of Sail aboard our schooner, Spirit of Dana Point, and continue through time, to tour our modern research vessel and explore the sea floor using ROVs and more. From the past to the present, join us as we embark on a maritime adventure through time that you will never forget!

Summer Camp 9:00am to 4:00pmMonday - Friday

Coastal Explorer Camp
Ages 10–12

Explore the beautiful, unique coastline of Dana Point in this activity-packed camp. Throughout the week, you will study the science of the surf zone in our laboratory, out in the field, as well as onboard the R/V Sea Explorer. You’ll also have a chance to participate in fun activities focusing on reusable resources and our impact on the  environment. This camp includes cruising along the coastline looking for blue whales, scientific sampling aboard our research vessel, kayaking in Dana Point Harbor, and exploring the intertidal area.

Summer Camp 9:00am to 4:00pmMonday - Friday

Buccaneer Adventure Camp
Ages 7–8

Set a course for adventure exploring the seas, encountering the unknown, learning to sail and becoming true buccaneers! Learn about the life of a pirate at sea and experience the lost arts of the mariners. Each day is filled with hands-on activities including fun crafts, sail handling, rowing, storytelling, treasure hunts, encountering historic characters (perhaps a pirate or two!) and voyaging to sea aboard the R/V Sea Explorer. Little Buccaneers complete their pirate training by the end of week and celebrate with “Dress like a Pirate Day.” Adventures include dockside activities aboard the tall ship Pilgrim and in our maritime facilities.

Summer Camp 9:00am to 4:00pmMonday - Friday

Neptune’s Mysteries Camp
Ages 6–7

Become a detective as you investigate mysteries from our ecosystems right here in Dana Point! Using scientific tools and techniques you will solve a new case each day in one of our marine ecosystems: tide pools, kelp forest, the open ocean and deep sea. Get excited about helping the sea otter find her family, discovering what sank the pirate ship, exploring the Dana Point Marine Conservation Area and taking a cruise onboard the R/V Sea Explorer! Come join us for a fun-filled week of puzzles to solve, ocean-themed crafts and learning about our onsite marine plants and animals.

Summer Camp 9:00am to 12:00pmMonday - Friday

Sea Squirts Camp
Ages 5–6

Hop, skip, and dive into the habitats of the sea. Observe and touch live animals, travel through enchanted kelp forests, and imagine being at the bottom of the deep dark sea. Each day a song will introduce the theme for the day’s activities with highlights that include daily crafts, crab races at baby beach, and a treasure hunt. Join us for a fun-filled week!



Making Waves

Ocean Institute programs have succeeded brilliantly in the most important mission: reaching and actively engaging the imagination of American youth.
- Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Maritime Education