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Address: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629-2723
Phone Number: 19494962274
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 daily; weekdays, 10 am - 4 pm, and...

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 most of the facility on weekends. Enjoy hundreds of marine animals in aquaria, ocean-themed exhibits and take a tour of a tall ship. For an extra charge, take a tall ship sail or whale watching cruise.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 99 reviews
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    Very good
  • 16
  • 5
  • 3
Slithering, and sliding swimming creatures seize the day.

Great value for seniors for a visit of an hour or so on a sunny day. We enjoyed an interactive class on 'whale sounds', from blue to grey, sperm to hunchback, and orca to dolphin... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed April 16, 2016
Gail G
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
via mobile
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99 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 99: English reviews
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Level Contributor
296 reviews
105 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2016 via mobile

Great value for seniors for a visit of an hour or so on a sunny day. We enjoyed an interactive class on 'whale sounds', from blue to grey, sperm to hunchback, and orca to dolphin. Enjoyed the tank filled with rays and watched kids try to feed the sand sharks...took a look at a little "inky" who slid through a... More 

Thank Gail G
Carmichael, California
Level Contributor
25 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2016

We had been trying through the years to visit but it turns out only in the last couple years have they opened to the public - prior they were educational.

Thank tiggerbear51
Level Contributor
87 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2016

Our weekday admission of $5 per person was the best deal we have received in California in many years. The young docent, Shellsy,provided information and insight with a bright smile and enthusiasm. She was attentive to us and other guests and sensitive to the small children and the couple with mobilty problems. This would definitely be on our agenda for... More 

2 Thank Robert M
Dana Point, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 18, 2016

excellent outing to entertain and educate the young ones. we all enjoyed the working sailing adventure on the wooden boat too. an amazing adventure for all. excellent walking path to the tide pools too.

Thank ibisroost
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
227 reviews
106 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 8, 2016

This is a very nice little museum for kids. There are many hands-on activities and things to observe both inside and outside at the shore. The kids loved the chance to touch sea creatures, turn the wheel on a land-bound ship, etc. There is enough variety that even the small kids did not get bored.

Thank RyanLChicago
Lake Forest, California
Level Contributor
151 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2016

I was pretty disappointed in this place. I expected better displays than they delivered. It appears to be really more of a rudimentary working facility that let's the public in on weekends. There are some artful elements, but the tanks holding live specimens were arranged in a bewildering manner and not well labeled. Some of the staff and volunteers knew... More 

Thank kooikermom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2015

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
4,340 reviews
2,789 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2,250 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2015

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
28 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2015

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
59 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 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

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