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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 106 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 52
  • 28
    Very good
  • 18
  • 5
  • 3
Another stop

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!

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 23 July 2016
A TripAdvisor Member
via mobile

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106 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Showing 106: English reviews
A TripAdvisor Member
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 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
8 reviews
8 attraction reviews
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
19 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
271 reviews
83 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 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
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 June 2016 via mobile

This is a very nice place to visit for an hour or two. We were doing a whale watching trip next door otherwise we probably would not have taken a 1/2 hour uber ride for this alone. My boys loved the Pilgrim ship tour! Great tour guide!

Thank Reqtravel
jgraves2011, Public Relations Manager at Ocean Institute, responded to this review

Thanks. Remember, you can tour a smaller portion of the facility during the week as well. More 

Orange, California
Level Contributor
76 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 May 2016

We have been there several times and used to be members. Their boat trips are fun. By the ocean. Nice area to take a walk and sit and watch the waves and sometimes see seals on the rocks.

Thank Gerrie714
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Level Contributor
308 reviews
109 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 103 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 April 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 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 March 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
98 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 March 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

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Questions & Answers

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Typical questions asked:
  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?