This past weekend the temperatures soared near 100 degrees in Southern California. I knew that if we headed to the coast we would get much needed relief from the scorching heat. Our family decided that it would be the perfect weekend to visit the Ocean Institute in Dana Point.
The Ocean Institute is an educational facility that is open to the public only on the weekends. On weekdays the center is exclusively used by students and educators. The Institute is not really a museum or an aquarium, it’s more of a hands on marine educational center. Call it what you want, this gem is a must visit for your family.
My children loved the institute from the moment they walked through the doors. The kids marched straight to the tide pool exhibit and had the opportunity to touch starfish and sea cucumbers. They loved learning about the different sea life that is found in our local tide pools . They also had a special craft area set up for the kids that was also a big hit with my daughter. My son was in love with the remote operated vehicle display. My husband and I couldn’t tear him away!! My husband loved the octopus and jellyfish display. I was intrigued because I had never seen any close up. My personal favorite was being able to touch starfish and sea cucumbers. The cucumbers feel like squishy sponges!! The Institute also offers story time for the little ones a couple of times a day.
I loved the individual attention that we received from the Institutes’s staff. Everyone was very friendly, provided us with valuable information and answered all of our questions. I love that the center caters to people of all ages. Whether your family is made up of toddlers or teenagers or anything in between, everyone will find something of interest at this great place. We paid a visit to the Institute on Saturday, however if you visit on a Sunday, you will be treated to look on board the Ocean Institutes’s historic brig Pilgrim, which hosts unique Living History programs based on the book Two Years Before the Mast. If you’re looking for something to do that is fun and educational make sure to plan a visit to The Ocean Institute in Dana Point. You will not be disappointed.
24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr.
Dana Point, CA 92629
Fax: (949) 496-4296
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00am-3:00pm (for public entry; administrative offices are open for extended hours)
General Admission (13yrs +): $6.50
Youth (3yrs – 12yrs): $4.50
Kids (2yrs and under): Free
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