Family Programs




Special Hours for Special Needs
Enjoy early admission for diverse learners

Ocean Institute will be opening an hour early for special needs visitors and their families or aides. All regular labs and activities will be open in addition to a special sensory activity. Come make Sea Star Squish Bags and learn all about intertidal animals.

It’s sure to be an enjoyable time for all!


Tiny Tots: Parent & Me Program
Mighty Mariners

Tuesdays, June 19th – July 31st | 9:30 am – 10:30 am

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. Eventbrite - Tiny Tots: Mighty Mariners Series Summer 2018Eventbrite - Tiny Tots: Mighty Mariners Drop-In Summer 2018


Tidepool Hikes
Explore the world between tides!

Join the Ocean Institute for a tidepool hike led by one of our expert naturalists.


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 21: Cuttlefish to Cosmos 

Thursday, July 19

Thursday, August 16


Fireworks Safety with OC Fire Authority
WILD Weekend Series

How do you make fireworks safe and fun this 4th of July? Come to Ocean Institute to find out! Join the Orange County Fire Authority at Ocean Institute to learn how to enjoy fireworks safely. The presentation includes a complete list of city sponsored fire work displays and a Q&A with real firefighters! 


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!


Plastic Pollution: Heirs to Our Oceans
WILD Weekend Series

Heirs to Our Oceans will be hosting a table at Ocean Institute to spread their message of a future for clean oceans. Come visit to learn about ocean animals and pollution through games, trivia, and helpful handouts. 


Beach Clean-ups
Help keep our beaches clean

Looking to give back to the ocean? Join us for a two-hour beach clean-up. Meet outside Ocean Institute at 10 am. We’ll provide pickers and trash bags, please wear closed toed shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.