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Address: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629-2723
Phone Number:
+1 949-496-2274
10:00 - 16:00
Open now
See all hours
Mon - Fri 10:00 - 16:00
Sat - Sun 10:00 - 15:00
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 111 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 53
  • 31
    Very good
  • 18
  • 6
  • 3
Ocean Education Experience

Great place to visit with kids. So much to learn in a non paid park atmosphere. Sea life both Old and new, great exhibit. You Will enjoy the rest of the day around Dana Point.

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 10 September 2016
Dana Point,
via mobile

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111 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 111: English reviews
Laguna Niguel
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 September 2016

We have been members of the Ocean Institute for many years. We went to see the Tall Ships Festival held at Dana Point Harbor held annually. The institute, who hosted the Tall Ship Festival in league with the city of Dana Point, is situated in a picturesque setting adjacent to Dana Point in the harbor. We knew a little about... More 

Thank Richard B
Dana Point,
Level Contributor
57 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 September 2016 via mobile

Great place to visit with kids. So much to learn in a non paid park atmosphere. Sea life both Old and new, great exhibit. You Will enjoy the rest of the day around Dana Point.

Thank johnsanDanaPoint_
Longmont, Colorado
Level Contributor
58 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2016

The Ocean Institute is a fabulous spot to learn so much more than you ever dreamed of. It is located near a beach area, so the sights are both indoors and outdoors. It is a crown jewel for children, but also teens and adults.

Redlands, California, United States
Level Contributor
66 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 August 2016 via mobile

Visited during the week during family vacation and found parking immediately. Arrived at opening and was reminded when paying for admission that the labs were closed for day campers. Front area was open and took about 10 minutes to peruse. Luckily the swift boat saved the day. Grounds are beautiful and the view from the jetty is breathtaking and free.... More 

Thank Ronald V
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
50 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 July 2016

We came upon this place by accident... just looking into places we could go to see tide pools. It was a great find. $5.00 per person and we got a personal tour of the museum. We saw manta rays, sharks and a lot of different tropical fish and star fish. Oh even sea horses! Really cool place.

Thank Kristine72
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2016 via mobile

Price was right at only $5.00 per person, we had Jack as our guide, he was very good at his job. We spent just over an hour here then headed to the beach. Parking was free!

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2016 via mobile

This place is small and offers various programs for kids all ages that's more for locals, I guess. We wanted to explore the adventures like sailing in their boats which obviously were booked. And we missed the docent guide tour of tide pools by just couple of minutes so we decided to explore it ourselves. You don't have to buy... More 

Thank Suchi J
Naples, Florida
Level Contributor
20 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 July 2016

Very informative for all. Their whale watching trip is excellent with activities for children. We bought our granddaughters a yearly pass so they could partake in other activities offered by the Institute.

Thank cbhello
Arlington Heights, Illinois
Level Contributor
81 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 June 2016

1. This place has a great gift shop with affordable treasures. I highly recommend coming here for that experience and then walking away. 2. Public tours are only done on the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) 3. Public tours consist of a kelp forest (a drawing of one at least); a few sea cucumbers that you can touch, and a sand... More 

Thank dfelt01
Oviedo, Florida
Level Contributor
273 reviews
83 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 110 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 June 2016 via mobile

While this was a nice experience, we really had expected more. What we didn't realize was that weekdays are taken over by summer camp. So, most of the place is off-limits to visitors. Wish we would have known that ahead of time.

Thank wadleyfla

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