General Admission


General Admission
Headlands & Beyond: A Guided Exploration

The Ocean Institute invites you to explore the ocean’s underwater world and California’s fascinating maritime history through fun, interactive programs and family activities that indulge your ocean curiosity.

Weekday Offerings


On weekdays, our campus bustles with eager students on educational field trips, but we invite you to join us on a 30-minute guided tour and get a behind the scenes peak of one of our learning centers. While you wait for the next tour, explore our Headlands and Beyond exhibit area that includes:

  • Local sea creatures in the Rocky Reef tank
  • Interactive Globe
  • ROV touchscreen
  • Pop-up experiments
  • Children’s playscape

Weekday Themes: Come back every day of the week to learn about a different ocean themed topic. 

Marine Mammal Monday: Marine mammals have developed many adaptations to survive in the oceans. Learn about these animals with our pop-up activities and presentations. 

Tide Pool Tuesday: Tide pools are important coastal habitats and residents in this ecosystem have adapted to live in both wet and dry conditions.  Learn about this habitat and the animals that live there. 

Wave Wednesday: Examine the coastline: wind, waves, sand, coastal access, and the animals that live along the coast. 

Thank-the-Ocean Thursday: The ocean is a vital resource that provides food,  recreation, and even the air we breathe. Learn about what our ocean does for us and how we can best protect it. 

Fin-tastic Friday:  Fish come in many shapes and sizes. Learn about the fin-tastic abilities of fish with our pop-up activities. 

Facilities Open : Our Headlands & Beyond exhibit is open from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. Last admission at 3:15 pm. Guided tours run every hour starting at 10:30 am. 

Admission:  Adults- $5, children under 2- free.                                                                 

For groups of 10 or more: Please call ahead to arrange your visit. We offer private tours of our labs and ships but only if arranged in advance. Please contact our reservations department at (949) 496-2274 or email us at 

Weekend Offerings

Saturday & Sunday

On weekends, we open the campus and welcome you to explore our site-wide, immersive journey into the mysteries of the Pacific Ocean. Come and learn all about Moon Jellies, encounter live animals in our Discovery Pool touch-tank, join in animal feedings, and even conduct squid dissections if you’re adventurous!

Facilities open: Headlands & Beyond exhibit, tidepool playscape, Maddie James Seaside Learning Center and  all labs inside the Ocean Education Center, the Brig Pilgrim.* 

*Tours of the Brig Pilgrim are offered on Sundays during regular admission hours. 

Groups of 10 more receive special pricing of $5.00 per child and $7.50 per adult when you book in advance. Call us at (949) 496-2274 to reserve your tickets. 


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!


Tidepool Hikes
Explore the world between tides!

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


Public Closed Dates
2017 & 2018

Due to special events happening at the Ocean Institute, we will be closed the following days to the public.