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Ocean Institute

Closed Now: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Open today: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Ocean Institute
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Traveler Overview
  • Excellent52%
  • Very good26%
  • Average16%
  • Poor4%
  • Terrible2%
Travelers talk about
“gift shop”(9 reviews)
“tall ship”(9 reviews)
“sea life”(13 reviews)
The Ocean Institute is open to visitors daily; weekdays, 10 am - 4 pm, and weekends, 10 am - 3 pm. As school children are engaging in ocean science and maritime history programs on weekdays, a smaller portion of the Institute is open weekdays and...more
Closed Now
Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
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Suggested duration: 1-2 hours
24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629-2723
+1 949-496-2274
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Reviews (141)
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All reviews gift shop tall ship sea life tide pools nice little place marine science learning areas great place to learn buy tickets on display underwater world dana point harbor an aquarium couple of hours set sail low tide fish
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1 - 10 of 141 reviews
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Highly recommend the 10:00 am boat ride. The pre-talk (9:15) by Captain Mike was informative and imaginative; we learned so much about gray whales and appreciated his inquisitive spirit. The crew is full of scientists who generously shared their knowledge about what we were seeing....More

Date of experience: December 2018
Thank acmommo
Reviewed December 15, 2018

There are many great experiences you and your family can share at the Dana Point Ocean Institute. Marine science, and California history are all part of the show.

Date of experience: January 2018
Thank Dr_GS_Hurd
Reviewed November 4, 2018

a great learning experience especially for kids. With a small but wonderful aquarium and hands on exhibits

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank Ed P
Reviewed October 31, 2018

Basic ocean information. Tiny "aquarium". Obligatory tacky gift shop. Seems to be geared more towards childrens classes.

Date of experience: September 2018
1  Thank Michael H
Reviewed October 29, 2018

The tall ships are dock over by the institute, plenty of things to keep the kids interested and busy

Date of experience: October 2018
Thank Camper558804
Reviewed October 21, 2018 via mobile

Some people might think this place is an aquarium but while it does have displays it’s not an aquarium it’s and Ocean Institute with a half hour tour. We stopped here during a visit to Dana point and discovered this place by accident so we...More

Date of experience: October 2018
1  Thank Coder
Reviewed September 6, 2018

Educational and worth a look. If for nothing else, to see the location. Steps away from the tide pools if it is low tide and you are willing to get your feet wet. The place is not large and you won't be there for hours,...More

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank adoc4u
Reviewed August 6, 2018

I institute is ok for something to do in Dana Point. It has a lot of educational information to offer along with some aquariums. I thought it was a bit pricey for the amount to see. There are children programs offered but from what I...More

Date of experience: July 2018
1  Thank Craig E
Reviewed August 6, 2018 via mobile

Great Hidden gem touch pools watch an octapus being feed and get tour the pilgrim docked next door for 10. Parking is free afterwards go behind the center of oi to the tide pools or baby beach relax and picnic

Date of experience: August 2018
Thank rsenteno
Reviewed July 9, 2018

The Ocean Institute is a nice little place to spend a couple of hours. There are small exhibits and talks to learn about various marine species. You can purchase a combo pass for $10 and tour an old tall ship dock just next door. Parking...More

Date of experience: July 2018
Thank Bubuflu
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Questions & Answers
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June 16, 2017|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from OIDanaPoint | Property representative |
Admission is $5 on weekdays and $10 on weekends for adults, and $7.50 for seniors and children
Travel Forum Posts
Bath, United Kingdom
Southern California - when to go? April/May or November? (15 Replies)
I'd really appreciate some advice on what time of year would be best for my trip. I'm planning three weeks in Southern California with my 4 year old son and the draft itinerary is: Days 1 - 10 San Diego (La Jolla, Balboa Park, Mission Bay, Belmont Park, Old Town Trolley Tour, Children's Museum, Zoo, Sea World) Days 11 & 12 Carlsbad (for Legoland & San Diego Zoo Safari Park) Days 13 - 16 Laguna Beach (Main Beach, Dana Point, Ocean Institute, Dolphin Safari, Irvine Regional Park,...More
April 08, 2013|
Response frombritpacker23|
Sorry Day 17 should say "on way to Anaheim"!
Pequot Lakes, Minnesota
Renting snorkeling gear/wet suits (2 Replies)
My 12 year old son and I are excited to be booked for the Catalina Snorkeling Cruise through the Ocean Institute this coming Saturday, but I'm having trouble finding any place with a webpage that rents snorkeling gear and wet suits. We'll be getting to Dana Point the evening prior to our cruise, so I really would like to know where we can go when we get into town to rent the equipment. Any suggestions?
August 09, 2009|
Response fromDez40|
I was just at the Ocean Institute today.I would call them to ask their recommendation.The water right now is not too cold,but you may want a wetsuit.
Sacramento, California
Things to do and eat with an almost one year old (4 Replies)
We are travelling to Dana Point for a wedding in March and wanted to see what might be good to do with an almost one year old. We plan to meet some friends on Saturday day at Pretend City in Irvine for a bit. We have all day on Sunday and maybe some time on Monday morning. We were thinking that the Capt Dave's Whale watching might be better when he is a bit older though it sounds fabulous. We were considering visiting the Ocean Institute, trip to Catalina, beach, and the Harbor area but...More
January 15, 2013|
Response fromMarcy C|
Hi there...I live in this area and I have a 6 year old and I am a foodie. In a nutshell with an almost 1 year old you don't really have to plan much. Outside the ocean Institute there are some really lovely tall ships to check out. A nice walk in the harbor is great as well and you will often times see pelicans and a seal or 2 hanging out dockside. If I only had a day and change I would get up and go to RJs for breakfast (its a solild 7 on a scale of 1-10) and then I would spend some time at...More