Ocean Institute
Ocean Institute


Dana Point, CA, USA


51-200 employees

founded in


Ocean Institute is adjacent to a 3.5 square mile State Marine Conservation Area and is located in the Dana Point Harbor, our unique campus encompasses 33,000 square feet of hands-on educational exhibits, science labs, and a live collection of 1,100 species native to the California Pacific Coast. The Ocean Institute runs experiential programs aboard the 70-foot research vessel, Sea Explorer, and in the onshore labs. Topics can range from nautical archaeology, marine biology, sustainable seafood, physiology, climatology, and more. Daily programs inform children and adults of ocean life and health and are run by a committed group of educators and volunteers. Some programs emphasize maritime history while others dive deep into the science of various ocean ecosystems. Multiple day, overnight camps allow students to gain an even more immersive experience and learn about the watershed, human impact, animal adaptations, deep-sea discoveries, and more. Along with the unique waterfront campus, Ocean Institute owns and operates two tall ships: Spirit of Dana Point and Pilgrim. The Spirit of Dana Point is a 118-foot topsail schooner built in 1970, and Pilgrim is a 130-foot square rigged brig built in 1945 in Denmark. These vessels serve to engage children and the larger community through day camps and events such as the Tall Ships Festival. The research vessel and the tall ships allow us to truly use the ocean as a classroom and capture student’s full attention. They are tools to develop a passion and foster future interest in the ocean.

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