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.
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
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 email@example.com
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.
When you think of ocean science you probably don’t think of bugs, but you should! Insects are very important in making healthy plants, beaches, and oceans.
Visit Ocean Institute on Earth Day weekend, April 21 and 22, to learn why insects are essential to keeping our oceans and beaches healthy. Join us for a comparative anatomy lab of shrimp and grasshoppers, make your own bug box, discover why bees are key, and more.
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.