Weekday Tours


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

Tour Times

Monday – Friday
10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 3:30 pm

Last admission for all tours stops 10 minutes prior to each tour time.  


Tour ticket: $5.00 per person
Day Pass (2 or more tours): $7.00 per person

Tickets are available for onsite purchases only. 


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 ext. 369 or email us at publicprograms@oceaninstitute.org.

Learn more about our private tours. 

Tour Types

Ocean Education Center Tour:

On this tour you will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes of one of our learning centers with an expert Ocean Institute naturalist. You will see a select number of our living collection of animals, which represents our local marine (ocean) ecology and learn more about our education programs.

Maddie James Seaside Learning Center Tour:

On this tour, you will have the opportunity to explore our dockside Maddie James Seaside Learning Center.  You can participate in one of our community science projects to document the water quality of the harbor, collect a plankton sample, and get a glimpse of some of local species of animals in our biodiversity lab.

Pilgrim Tour:

You will be able to step aboard one of our historic tall ships the Brig Pilgrim, made famous by Richard Henry Dana Jr. in his classic memoir, Two Years Before the Mast. You will have the opportunity to step into the life of a sailor aboard a tall ship and learn the history our replica.

Sailor’s Life Tour:

You will be able to experience the life of a sailor in the 1830s on our historic maritime wharf. Tie nautical knots, help raise the sail, and learn more about the hide trade of early California.