Venue Rental FAQ


What is the capacity of the facility?

Due to the unique layout and variety of rooms, it is difficult to provide exact capacities. That said, the Ocean Institute has hosted events as intimate as 40 guests for a seat and serve dinner inside the Surf Science Sleep Deck to events as large as 750 utilizing multiple all 3 facilities for parties with in-and-out flow.

The Samueli Conference Center has hosted:

  • Seat and serve dinners up to 200 (depending on the table layout). 
  • Corporate meetings and presentations with attendance up to 200.
  • Theater seated events with audiences of up to 260

The Surf Science Deck has hosted:

  • Seat and serve dinners up to 60.
  • Cocktail parties with up to 80 guests.
  • Corporate meetings and presentations with attendance up to 60

The Executive Board Room

  • Meetings for up to 12 around conference table and 20 total.

What is the cost of holding an event at the Ocean Institute?

Event rentals range from $1,500- $7,350 (*all pricing subject to change). A quote can be provided by the Manager of On-Site Events. 

Base fee for Social (other than weddings) and Corporate Events begins at $1000 weekdays up to $4,000 on Saturday evening. 

Are there time restrictions/limits?

Private events can be held during the following days and times:

  • Saturday and Sundays after 5:00 pm.
  • Monday through Friday after 6:00 pm.
  • Events must conclude by 11:00 pm.
  • Weekday options are available. Contact the Manager of On-Site Events for availability.

Are there sound restrictions?

Music is permitted but must be approved by the Ocean Institute.  Music is permitted inside until 10:45PM or 15 minutes prior to end of event. Due to the proximity to a residential area, no loud music is permitted and no music of any kind after 10:00PM outside. Noise volume must be contained within the boundaries of the building.

Is smoking permitted?

Ocean Institute facilities are smoke, tobacco and vapor free. If you or your guests wish to smoke, please do so at least 50 feet away from building entrances/exits and windows/vents that open to the inside of a building.

Can we set-up our event the day before?

Load-in and load-out are limited to 2 hours prior to event start time and 1 hour after the conclusion of the event. 

Is parking provided

Yes. Parking is free and open to the public. 

Is the facility WIFI enabled?


Is the facility air conditioned?


Is there a difference in the rental fee on weekdays vs. weekends.

Yes. A quote can be provided by the Manager of On-Site Events. 

Is the facility rental fee negotiable?

The facility rental fee is non-negotiable. 

Do you offer Non-Profit pricing?

Depending on availability a non-profit discount may be available.

How much is the security deposit?


Is the security deposit refundable?

Security deposits are 100% refundable provided the following conditions are met:

  • The room and facility (including outside) are left in a clean and orderly condition per the “Facility Inspection Checklist.”
  • Use of the area does not exceed the scheduled time and no additional staff time is required.
  • The area and its contents, including equipment and furniture, are accounted for and undamaged.
  • All rules and procedures governing alcohol consumption and smoking are met.

If the above conditions are not met to the satisfaction of OI staff, an appropriate fee will be deducted from the security deposit. If cleaning and/or repair costs exceed the amount of the security deposit, the rental group will be billed. Repairs will be billed at the full replacement cost incurred, including labor.

Security deposits paid by credit card will be refunded back to the card within 10 business days. Security deposits paid by cash, money order, or check will be refunded by check within 30 days.

Is insurance required?

 Yes. Special Event Insurance is required by the client for every event.

Do I need special insurance for liquor?

Yes. If liquor is being served, liquor liability insurance must be carried by the company serving the liquor. It is standard for caterers to carry this insurance.

Can I sell alcohol?

If selling alcohol, a temporary liquor license is required for the duration of the Event from the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board or through the Caterer. 

Do I have to select from your catering list?

The Ocean Institute requires that renters select a caterer from the Approved Catering and Recommended Vendor List. If you choose an alternate caterer, they must be approved by on-site management and you will be charged an additional $500 fee.