Family Programs




Tiny Tots: Parent & Me Program
Sea Star Adventure Series 2018

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.


Visiting Vessel: Hikianalia
Arrival & Welcome Ceremony

Join the Ocean Institute as we welcome the crew of the Hikianalia, a traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe, to Dana Point. Cheer the crew as they make their way into the harbor accompanied by local outrigger canoe clubs and greeted on shore by representatives of the Achajamen Nation. Escort the crew into the Ocean Institute for the official welcoming ceremony featuring traditional songs and dances.

This event is free and open to the public.


Hikianalia Tours
Free Public Event
Visiting Vessel

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to sail, navigate and live for weeks at sea aboard a Hawaiian voyaging canoe? Tour the Hikianalia during their dockside open-house canoe tours. These tours are free and open to the public of all ages


Kayak Harbor Tour
Join us for our Public Kayak Program!

This program includes: 
- 2 hour interactive tour around the Dana Point Harbor
- A history of the harbor and its unique ecosystem
- Admission to the Ocean Institute
- Ocean Institute baseball cap and bag

All experience levels are welcome. Must be at least 12 years old to participate. Guests under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. 


Painting by the Sea
Thankful for Our Ocean

Explore our kelp forest in the Headlands & Beyond exhibit to learn about the many reasons we are thankful for kelp. Then create your own masterpiece paying tribute to the ocean. 

OCDC Art & Design will teach you the techniques needed to create your own vibrant painting. 

Minors must be accompanied by an adult at all times. 


Special Hour for Special Needs

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.


Public Tidepool Hikes
Explore the world between tides!

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

Have fun, be creative, and learn and Ocean Institute

DIY Fall Centerpiece Workshop
Fall Family Fun

Does your Thanksgiving table need a centerpiece? Come to our workshop and create a living centerpiece using succulents, pumpkins, and other fantastically fall decorations. Our centerpieces are plastic free and environmentally friendly. 


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.

To sign-up, select “book now” below.