General Admission


General Admission
Visit Us

Discover the ocean’s underwater world and California’s fascinating maritime history through fun, interactive tours and activities that indulge your curiosity.


Weekday Tours
Guided experiences for all ages

Join us for a 30-minute guided tour with one of our expert naturalists and get a behind the scenes view of one of our learning centers, historic ships, or the dockside Maddie James Seaside Learning Center. Tours vary daily; read the descriptions below of each of our tour options.*

Headlands and Beyond exhibit area is included with tours featuring an intertidal touch tank, artifact displays, pop-up experiments, and children’s playscape. 

*Admission for each tour stops 10 minutes prior to each tour start time


Weekend & Holiday Admission
Saturdays, Sundays and Select Holidays

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!

*Purchase tickets on site 


$7.50 for Children (3 – 14 years) & Seniors (55+)
$10.00 for Adults (15 – 54 years) 
Free: Ocean Institute Members & Children 2 and under


Maritime History Center
Celebrate Local History

Located in the Chilcote Family Custom House directly across from the brig Pilgrim , the Maritime History Center brings to life the history of Alta California from the 1840’s through the present day. Step in to 1840’s California to learn the ropes of a sailor aboard a trade ship, study the impact of Richard Henry Dana Jr. on American maritime laws, and share your own memories of your time aboard the replica brig Pilgrim. Admission to the Maritime History Center is Complimentary


WILD Weekends
We Inspire Learning through Discovery

WILD (We Inspire Learning through Discovery) Weekends at the Ocean Institute highlight take-home science activities for families.

Each WILD weekend will focus on a different science topic ranging from marine pollution to terrestrial ecology. At the end, families will have the tools to keep the discovery going at home.

Join us for one of the WILD Weekends below. 


Private Tours
For Groups of 10 or more

Ocean Institute offers a variety of docent-led private tour options for groups of 10 or more that range from an exploration of our aquaria to touring our historic tall ship. 

Select from the options below, or ask us about a customized tour to suit your interests. 

Reservations are required and must be made at least three weeks in advance.