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Address: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629-2723
Phone Number:
+1 949-496-2274
10:00 - 15:00
Closed 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 110 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 53
  • 31
    Very good
  • 18
  • 5
  • 3
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 bubblesReviewed 13 October 2015

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110 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Traveller type
Time of year
Showing 110: English reviews
Level Contributor
60 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 October 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
43 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 October 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
16 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 October 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 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 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
39 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 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
125 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 July 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.

1 Thank 3522
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 July 2015 via mobile

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 

4 Thank nguid
St. Thomas
Level Contributor
46 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 July 2015

Little did we know that every thought "nautical" could be so beautifully translated into a reasonably priced collection of artifacts, stand alone art pieces of every medium, and yes -- souvenirs. Don't miss it.

1 Thank jaslosky
Yorba Linda, California
Level Contributor
46 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2015

We visited in June with two young girls, they enjoyed it. During the week the tour is very basic. There were some children summer camps that may be interesting.

Thank TJeerddejong
Trinity, Florida
Level Contributor
156 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2015 via mobile

Don't miss this wonderful site. The entrance fee is minimal. It's a great way to learn about the area and the exhibits are worth the time..

1 Thank ParTcake

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  • How should I dress for this tour?