Plan Your Visit



Tour the facility, participate in lab activities, go on a Whale Watching Cruise or head to see aboard a historic tallship.

Check out our calendar for daily activities and programs!


General Admission
Headlands & Beyond: A Hands-on 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 guided tour of the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center. While you wait for the next tour, explore our Headlands and Beyond exhibit area that includes:

Sprit of Dana Point (left) and the brig Pilgrim (right).

Tallships Sails
Set sail for a high seas adventure!

The Ocean Institute maintains two tallships, the brig Pilgrim, and the Spirit of Dana Point, an accurate replica of a 1770s privateer used during the American Revolution.


Birthday Parties
Celebrate Your Child's Birthday With Us

The Ocean Institute is pleased to offer a unique location and educational experience for birthday celebrations.  A birthday party at the Ocean Institute is an experience your child will not forget!

Parties can be scheduled from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm most Saturdays and Sundays. 

Ocean Institute Birthday Party Package

We provide a birthday party host, private room, tables and chairs, cake, goody bags, and kitchen access, and you provide any additional food, drink, and décor – all for $475.00. 


Laurena G. Chambers Gallery Book and Gift Store
Open 7 days a week 9:00am to 5:00pm

The Chambers Gallery carries the latest educational materials and ocean-themed items with proceeds benefiting Ocean Institute programs. Visit our store to find a variety of unique maritime and ocean-themed books, puzzles, jewelry, home decor and apparel.

Phone: (949) 496-2274 x 351 

Ocean Institute Members receive a 10% discount on purchases.


Whale Watching & Cruises
Adventures at sea for all ages!

Join us on our 65-foot research vessel, Sea Explorer, and voyage to sea for science-based environmental education. Be captivated by local marine life, collect samples, and learn fascinating facts about these ocean animals from our scientists on board.