VISIT

Welcome

Plan Your Experience

Welcome to Ocean Institute

All programs are designed to maximize immersion, spark curiosity, and inspire a deep commitment to learning.

Bioluminescence Night Cruise
There’s a luminous underwater world just waiting to shine!

Learn about the remarkable ability of some marine animals to glow in the dark and witness this curiously beautiful phenomenon.

Bioluminescence Night Cruise Child/Adult
Price: $55.00
Child/Adult

Bioluminescnece Night Cruise Infant/Toddler
Price: $10.00
0-2 years old
 
Memberships

Jr. Explorer Youth Membership
Price: $50.00
Free year-round Admission
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Free Jr. Explorer plush from giftshop
Ocean Institute Member Sticker
10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
 

Individual Membership
Price: $100.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Ocean Institute Member Sticker
10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
 

Family Membership
Price: $150.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Ocean Institute Member Sticker
10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp
 

Senior Membership
Price: $175.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Senior Saturdays (guest must be 55+)
Complimentary tickets:
(2) Tickets - Whale and Marine Life Tour
(2) Tickets - Sail on Spirit of Dana Point
Ocean Institute Member Sticker
10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp
 

Sea Star Membership
Price: $250.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Complimentary tickets:
(2) Tickets - Whale and Marine Life Tour
(2) Tickets - Maritime Festival – Festival Adventure Pass
(2) Tickets - Holiday Parade of Lights Party
(2) Tickets - Bioluminescence Night Cruise
Ocean Institute Member Sticker
10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp

 

Captains Compass Membership
Price: $400.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Complimentary Tickets:
- (2) Tickets - Whale and Marine Life Tour
- (2) Tickets - Maritime Festival – Festival Adventure Pass
- (2) Tickets - Holiday Parade of Lights Party
- (2) Tickets - Bioluminescence Night Cruise
- (2) Tickets - Sail on Spirit of Dana Point
Ocean Institute Member Sticker and Tote bag
20% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp
Reciprocal benefits at NARM/CAMM participating institutions.
 

Sealife Sponsor Membership
Price: $650.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Complimentary tickets:
- (4) Tickets - Whale and Marine Life Tour
- (4) Tickets - Maritime Festival – Festival Adventure Pass
- (4) Tickets - Holiday Parade of Lights Party
- (4) Tickets - Bioluminescence Night Cruise
- (4) Tickets - Sail on Spirit of Dana Point
Ocean Institute Member Sticker and Tote bag
20% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp
Reciprocal benefits at NARM/CAMM participating institutions.
(1) Complimentary Private tour of Ocean Institute for 15 people.
 

Ocean Advocate Membership
Price: $1,500.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Complimentary tickets to:
- (6) Tickets - Whale and Marine Life Tour
- (6) Tickets - Maritime Festival – Festival Adventure Pass
- (6) Tickets - Holiday Parade of Lights Party
- (6) Tickets - Bioluminescence Night Cruise
- (6) Tickets - Sail on Spirit of Dana Point
Ocean Institute Member Sticker and Tote bag
20% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp
Reciprocal benefits at NARM/CAMM participating institutions.
(1) Complimentary Private tour of Ocean Institute for 15 people.
(1) Complimentary Private Kayak Tour or Tidepool Hike for 10 people.
 

 
Adopt-an-Animal

Join our Adopt-an-Animal program at the Ocean Institute and become an 'Adoptive Parent' to your favorite marine creature. Your adoption fee supports the well-being of our fascinating marine life, empowers educational initiatives, and ensures smooth operations at Ocean Institute. Dive into a world of ocean education and make a meaningful impact today!


Your adoption includes:
  • Downloadable Certificate of Adoption
  • Downloadable Animal fact sheet
  • Adopt-an-Animal tote bag*
  • Adopted animal sticker*
  • (2) General Admissions Tickets (expire 1 year after purchase date)
*Pick-up only at Ocean Institute's gift shop.
 

Horn Shark Adoption
Price: $100.00

California Spiny Lobster Adoption
Price: $100.00

California Moray Eel Adoption
Price: $100.00

Swell Shark Adoption
Price: $100.00

California Skates Adoption
Price: $100.00

Jetty the Western Pond Turtle Adoption
Price: $100.00

 
Stoked on Science Conference
At the Stoked on Science (S.O.S.) Conference, you’ll get the chance to hear from influential ocean scientists about their career journey and how they became experts in their field. You will also be engaging in exclusive hands-on activities reflecting each scientist’s line of work. Breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided as well as a S.O.S. t-shirt and goodie bag. You will rotate around the facilities with the chance to hear from each scientist both in our lab and on the boat. Join us for a fun-filled day of science and leave with an interest in exploring the ocean further!

Stoked on Science Conference
Price: $70.00

 
Behind the Scenes Aquarium Tour
Join one of our expert aquarists on a behind the scenes tour! Learn about the feeding, habits, and behaviors of over 140 different California species.

General admission is included with tour ticket

Behind the Scenes - Adult
Price: $35.00
15 and older

Behind the Scenes - Toddler
Price: $10.00
0-2 years old

Behind the Scenes - Child
Price: $30.00
3-14 years old
 
Gift Certificates

Gift Certificate
Gift certificates fare good for admissions and tours.
 

 
Gift Memberships

Jr. Explorer Youth Gift Membership
Price: $50.00
Free year-round Admission
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Free Jr. Explorer plush from giftshop
Ocean Institute Member Sticker
10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
 

Individual Gift Membership
Price: $100.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Ocean Institute Member Sticker
10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
 

Family Gift Membership
Price: $150.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Ocean Institute Member Sticker
10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp
 

Senior Gift Membership
Price: $175.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Senior Saturdays (guest must be 55+)
Complimentary tickets:
(2) Tickets - Whale and Marine Life Tour
(2) Tickets - Sail on Spirit of Dana Point
Ocean Institute Member Sticker
10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp
 

Sea Star Gift Membership
Price: $250.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Complimentary tickets:
(2) Tickets - Whale and Marine Life Tour
(2) Tickets - Maritime Festival – Festival Adventure Pass
(2) Tickets - Holiday Parade of Lights Party
(2) Tickets - Bioluminescence Night Cruise
Ocean Institute Member Sticker
10% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp

 

Captains Compass Gift Membership
Price: $400.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Complimentary Tickets:
- (2) Tickets - Whale and Marine Life Tour
- (2) Tickets - Maritime Festival – Festival Adventure Pass
- (2) Tickets - Holiday Parade of Lights Party
- (2) Tickets - Bioluminescence Night Cruise
- (2) Tickets - Sail on Spirit of Dana Point
Ocean Institute Member Sticker and Tote bag
20% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp
Reciprocal benefits at NARM/CAMM participating institutions.
 

Sea Sponsor Gift Membership
Price: $650.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Complimentary tickets:
- (4) Tickets - Whale and Marine Life Tour
- (4) Tickets - Maritime Festival – Festival Adventure Pass
- (4) Tickets - Holiday Parade of Lights Party
- (4) Tickets - Bioluminescence Night Cruise
- (4) Tickets - Sail on Spirit of Dana Point
Ocean Institute Member Sticker and Tote bag
20% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp
Reciprocal benefits at NARM/CAMM participating institutions.
(1) Complimentary Private tour of Ocean Institute for 15 people.
 

Ocean Advocate Gift Membership
Price: $1,500.00
Free year-round admission to the following programs:
- General Admission
- Distinguished Speaker Series
Complimentary tickets to:
- (6) Tickets - Whale and Marine Life Tour
- (6) Tickets - Maritime Festival – Festival Adventure Pass
- (6) Tickets - Holiday Parade of Lights Party
- (6) Tickets - Bioluminescence Night Cruise
- (6) Tickets - Sail on Spirit of Dana Point
Ocean Institute Member Sticker and Tote bag
20% discount on Gift Shop purchases
10% discount on Summer Camp
Reciprocal benefits at NARM/CAMM participating institutions.
(1) Complimentary Private tour of Ocean Institute for 15 people.
(1) Complimentary Private Kayak Tour or Tidepool Hike for 10 people.
 

 
General Admission Experiences

General Admission
 

Explore Ocean Institute's exhibits, touch tanks, and local aquaria!

Our rotating monthly exhibits allow visitors to keep coming back to discover the ocean’s underwater world with our fun, interactive spaces and activities that indulge curiosity. Staff and volunteers stand ready to guide visitors through a wide range of experiences as they gain an understanding of their connection to the ocean!

Pricing:
Adult Admission: $15.00
Senior (55+ y.o)/Military Admission: $10.00
Child (3-13 y.o) Admission: $7.50
Toddler (0-2 y.o) Admission: $0

Elevate your Experience!*
Sea Star Feeding Add-on: $5
Squid Dissection Add-on: $10

*Must also purchase a general admission ticket for all individuals.


 
Membership Benefits

Spirit of Dana Point Sail - Child/Adult Member
 
4 and older

Whale and Marine Life Tour Child/Adult Member
 
3 and older

 
Summer Camp
June 17th - August 16th

Member Registration:
Monday, March 11th*
General Public Registration: Monday, March 18th

Our week-long camps promise an immersive journey into the wonders of marine science and maritime history! Whether sailing on a historic tall ship or exploring tide pools in a marine protected area, our camps encourage life-long learning for your camper!
Register your camper for an unforgettable summer filled with adventure, learning, and lasting friendships.

Take advantage of our early registration and 10% member discount on Summer Camp!
*Family, Senior, Sea Star, Captains Compass, Sea Life Sponsor, and Ocean Advocate Members. Click here to Become a Member!

A $10 registration fee (convenience fee) will be added at checkout for each camper registered. Before registering please familiarize yourself with our cancellation, transfer, and refund policy located on our Summer Camp Website.
 

Sea Squirts
Price: $410.00
Ages: 5-6 years old 

Are you ready to explore the ocean? This camp explores different ocean habitats and the animals that live there! Each day a song introduces the theme for the day’s activities with highlights including meeting animals, daily crafts and games, and a treasure hunt! Join us for a fun-filled week in this half-day or full-day camp! Ages: 5-6 years old

Half Day: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Non-member price: $410 / Members receive 10% discount.

Full Day: 9:00 am-4:00 pm (add full-day at checkout)
Non-member price $520 / Members receive 10% discount.

Must be 5 by Sept. 1, 2024

Neptune's Mysteries
Price: $595.00
Ages: 6-7 years old

Become a scientific investigator to unravel the mysteries of the ecosystems right here in Dana Point! Using scientific tools and techniques, you will study a new case each day: Who ate Mickey the mussel? How can we find Becky Blue Whale’s family? To more closely examine our clues, we will embark on a marine mammal cruise aboard the RVSE and hike through the Dana Point MPA. Come join us for a fun-filled week of puzzles, ocean-themed crafts, and learn about our local marine plants and animals!

Must be 6 by Sept. 1, 2024

Buccaneer's Adventure
Price: $595.00
Ages: 7-8 years old

Set a course for adventure to discover the life of pirates! Learn the ropes to survive at sea with dockside activities on our historic tall ship, The Spirit of Dana Point, before venturing out to the open ocean aboard the R/V Sea Explorer in search of sea creatures. Program highlights include learning lost mariner arts like sail handling, rowing, storytelling, and “Dress like a Pirate Day”. 

Must be 7 by Sept. 1, 2024

Ocean Discovery
Price: $595.00
Ages: 8-9 years old

What adaptations help animals survive in their habitats? What does it take to care for sea creatures? What does the inside of a fish look like? Find out the answers to these questions and more in a summer camp all about the ocean. Explore animal habitats and ecosystems through hands-on science labs, a two-hour whale watching trip aboard the R/V Sea Explorer, and tide pooling exploration in the Dana Point Marine Protected Area. 

Must be 8 by Sept. 1, 2024

Shipwreck Hunters
Price: $615.00
Ages: 9-11 years old

What happens to ships lost out at sea? If you like to problem-solve and uncover mysteries, challenge yourself this summer as a maritime archaeologist and discover more about the shipwrecks off our coast! Each day explores a different shipwreck, making observations, and testing questions. Highlights of the week include building your own ship, learning nautical navigation, piloting Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to discover the ocean floor, and explore the high seas aboard two of our vessels; our historic tall ship, Spirit of Dana Point, and our Research Vessel Sea Explorer.

Must be 9 by Sept. 1, 2024

Coastal Explorers
Price: $660.00
Ages: 11-13 years old

Discover the unique coastline of Dana Point in this activity-packed camp! Study the physical science of the ocean and coast in our hands-on labs and aboard the R/V Sea Explorer. Learn about the history behind Dana Point Harbor. Explore techniques marine scientists use to conduct research. This camp includes a day cruising along the coastline searching for Blue Whales and collecting samples, catch-and-release fishing, kayaking in Dana Point Harbor, and exploring the tide pools in the Marine Conservation Area. 

Must be 11 by Sept. 1, 2024

Counselor in Training Program
Price: $380.00
Incoming Freshman - Seniors in High School

Our Counselor-In-Training Summer Program is designed for high school students to gain leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills. During the Counselor-In-Training Program, participants will work alongside our summer camp counselors and assist with check-in, check-out, daily activities, and camper care.

Must be a freshman or Senior in HS by Sept. 1, 2024

Marine Science Career and Internship Academy
Price: $640.00
Ages 14 – 17 years old

“I want to be a Marine Biologist! Now what?”
This week-long program introduces you to intertidal ecology, animal husbandry, laboratory investigations, and shipboard research to spark interest in careers and internships in marine science. Program highlights include a sail on the Spirit of Dana Point, 4-hour research cruise aboard the R/V Sea Explorer, creating and conducting a research project in the Dana Point Marine Conservation Area. This week long camp will also guide participants through resume building, internship or career applications, writing a cover letter and engaging in leadership and team building activities. Participants are welcome to continue their learning by applying for our internship program or volunteering at Ocean Institute post summer camp! 

Must be 14 by Sept. 1, 2024
Session Session 4 (July 15 to 19): Mon, Jul 15, 2024 - Fri, Jul 19, 2024 9:00AM - 4:00PM (8 AVAIL)

 
Homeschool Day

Child Admission
Price: $12.00
3-13 years old

Adult Admission
Price: $10.00

Family Four Pack
Price: $40.00

Whale Watching Cruise
Price: $35.00
Includes general admission to Homeschool Day

Squid Dissection
Price: $5.00

Tidepool Hike
Price: $15.00
Includes General Admission to Homeschool Day

 
4th of July Fireworks Cruise
Join us on the water for Dana Point's Annual 4th of July Firework Show!

Fireworks Cruise Ticket
Price: $50.00
3 and older

Toddler Fireworks Cruise Ticket
 
2 and under

 
Whale and Marine Life Tour
Join our crew for an experience you will never forget!

Whale and Marine Life Ticket includes access into Ocean Institute for General Admisson.

Whale and Marine Life Tour Child/Adult
Price: $40.00
3 and older

Whale and Marine Life Tour Infant/Toddler
Price: $10.00
0-2 years old

Whale and Marine Life Tour Veteran/Active Military
Price: $0.00
Ocean Institute invites both veterans and active military members to a special Memorial Day whale watching cruise. Identification will be required when redeeming tickets. 
 
Spirit of Dana Point Sail
Set sail aboard the schooner Spirit of Dana Point and experience California from the water! Must be 4 y.o to sail

Sail Ticket includes access into Ocean Institute for General Admisson.

Spirit of Dana Point Sail - Child/Adult
Price: $65.00
4 and older

 
Distinguished Speaker Series
Speakers present on a variety of topics ranging from ocean researchers, ocean authors, ocean artists, and ocean athletes.

Light snacks & Refreshments available for purchase at event.

Distinguished Speaker Series Child/Adult
Regular Price: $10.00
Member Price: $0.00
3 and older

Distinguished Speaker Series Student
Price: $0.00
Please bring student ID

Distinguished Speaker Series Infant/Toddler
Price: $0.00
Infant/Toddler
 
Tidepool Hike
Check back to see available dates.

Hike Difficulty Rating: Moderate, 1 – 1.5 mile round trip. Please be prepared for rocky, uneven, and slick terrain for the entire hike.

Closed-toed, Closed-heeled sturdy shoes are required. We recommend sunscreen, light layers, and water.

Tidepool Hike Child/Adult
Price: $15.00
3 and older
 
Sharks After Dark
Take a deep dive and explore our local sharks and their surrounding environments at Sharks After Dark!

Our sharks are very active at night, making it a great time to observe them; however, touching will not be permitted.

Sharks After Dark - Adult
Price: $15.00

Sharks After Dark - Child
Price: $7.50

Sharks After Dark - Infant/Toddler
Price: $0.00

Sharks After Dark - Senior and Veteran
Price: $10.00
55+ or Veteran
 
Senior Saturdays
Some things just get better with age!

Come enjoy the sophisticated side of ocean exploration with special hours for seniors-only.

Senior Saturdays Seniors (55+)
Price: $15.00
55 and older
Some things just get better with age! Come enjoy the sophisticated side of ocean exploration with special hours for seniors-only.
 
Girls in Ocean Science Conference 2024
The Girls in Ocean Science Conference connects influential female scientists with the next generation of ocean ambassadors. At the GIOS Conference, you’ll get the chance to hear from influential female scientists about their career journey and how they became experts in their field. You will also be engaging in exclusive hands-on activities reflecting each scientist’s line of work. Breakfast, lunch and s cks will be provided as well as a GIOS t-shirt and goodie bag. You will rotate around the facilities with the chance to hear from each scientist both in our lab and on the boat. We have one day dedicated to middle school students and one day for high school students. Join us for a fun-filled day of science and leave with an interest to explore the ocean further!

Girls in Ocean Science Conference 2024
Price: $70.00

 
Jr. Naturalist
Calling all Junior Naturalists! Join us for this "Mommy & Me" style program dedicated to exploring your world through song, movement, and your senses. Enjoy new activities each session & expand into a new animal every month!

Participants can register for either a monthly pass and get 4 classes, or choose to do a daily drop-in class. Tuesday classes are from 4:30pm to 5:30pm, and Thursday classes are from 9:30am to 10:30am. 

Day Pass
Price: $20.00
Recommended ages ~2-4 y.o.
 

 

Contact

Information

Address

24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr.
Dana Point, CA 92629