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Ocean Institute

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629
Phone Number: 19494962274
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10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Mon - Fri 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Sat - Sun 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours

The Ocean Institute is open to visitors on weekends, 10 am - 3 pm...

The Ocean Institute is open to visitors on weekends, 10 am - 3 pm. Enjoy hundreds of marine animals in aquaria, ocean-themed exhibits and take a tour of a tall ship. Take a tall ship or marine mammal (whale watching) cruise.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 83 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 45
  • 18
    Very good
  • 13
  • 5
  • 2
Submarine talk

My daughter and I were fortunate to listen to a talk by a man who purchased a submarine for deep water explorations around the world. The institute has displays and talks... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed October 13, 2015

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83 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
51 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

They do PHENOMENAL school and group programs here, but it's not a place you just show up with your kids and wander around. Try that and all you'll see is the gift shop. If you are considering this place for a group learning activity, I definitely recommend it.

Thank AuntJeanne
Fremont, California
Level Contributor
3,248 reviews
2,107 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,871 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We went to the Ocean Institute. We have also attended some of their events in the past such as the Jazz Festival, the Tall Ship Festival, talks, and so forth. Today we enjoyed seeing one of their tall ships The Pilgrim again. We also liked their area where one can practice tying nautical knots. There are other things to see... More 

Thank mini
West Rockport, Maine
Level Contributor
25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 weeks ago

This institute does great work, but definitely geared towards children. We live in another coastal community so we had some questions about this coast, but none of the docents could answer our inquiries. A trip out on one of their excursions would be much more interesting.

Thank d b
Level Contributor
47 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2015

My daughter and I were fortunate to listen to a talk by a man who purchased a submarine for deep water explorations around the world. The institute has displays and talks frequently so good to check their schedule online.

Thank momentobello
Level Contributor
45 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2015

We attended this mid-week in August. There was a camp taking place then so there were two rooms to see. One room had plaques to read, the other was where our kids could climb on a plastic crab and octopus. I thought I was getting a deal when the price was $5 per person but we were robbed.

Thank cactusdave
Chino Valley
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2015

There were several little buildings to divide the learning areas. The boat trip was not running the day we were there as there was a teacher day special going on. Learned some very interesting things. Bring a lunch and cold drinks, there are picnic tables. The jetty was a very nice scene of the ocean with a staircase going down... More 

1 Thank Becki G
Kaysville, Utah
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2015

Great for small kids - not much their for older adults. Everything is geared for very young children.

1 Thank Brian W
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
37 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2015

I wish the volunteer outside would've told us it was closed to us and our two grandkids before we went in. Found out later it was only open to camps and groups M-F. The ticket person told us there was a limited area we could go in...but, we had no idea 'how small' that was. Not even worth the $5... More 

5 Thank Triptaker3355
Level Contributor
67 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2015

The Ocean Institute is one of the premier oceanographic locations on the coast. Especially good for children. Lots of tactile experiences and a wealth of info about local sea life. A don't miss if you are going to Dana Point.

Thank 3522
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2015

Anyone with children looking to visit the Ocean Institute during the week do not waste your time. The website is misleading and does not state that the majority of the experience including the hands on exhibits are closed to the public and limited to one kelp exhibit with your paid addmision on weekdays. The women at the front counter discourged... More 

3 Thank nguid

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?