Family Programs




Family Science Nights
Ages 4–104

From animals to humans, navigation takes skill, talent, and many tools. Learn from our expert naturalists how whales, birds, and humans navigate yearly migrations, explore the deep sea, or chart a course for adventure. Each month we will explore a new way of navigating. 

Thursdays, 6:00pm – 8:00pm


Little Naturalists: Parent & Me Program
Feathers, Flippers & Fins

Bring out the ‘Little Naturalist’ in your child and discover how humans are connected to the ocean, using different ocean animals as examples. Each Tuesday session of parent-and-me classes includes sensory exploration stations, an art project and a science activity. This program is suitable for children ages three-and-a-half to four years old with parental support. 


Painting by the Sea
Beach Scenes

Enjoy the view of the Marine Protected Area behind Ocean Institute while you paint a beach landscape. Learn painting techniques from OCDC Art & Design in this step by step painting class. Come explore your inner artist in a beautiful setting then enjoy a day of learning at Ocean Institute. All skill levels welcome.


Tidepool Hike: BioBlitz
Ocean Institute Citizen Science

Calling all Citizen Scientists! The Ocean Institute will be participating in the 2019 Snapshot Cal Coast as part of the MPA Collaborative led by the California Academy of Sciences. Snapshot Cal Coast is a statewide effort to document our coastal biodiversity through the observation, recording, and identification of the organisms inhabiting intertidal zones. Join us as we hike down to the Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area and explore the tide pools to document as many species of plants and animals we can see!


Saturday, June 8 at 9:30 am 


Tiny Tots: Mighty Mariners
Parent & Me Program

Join us for this six-week, maritime themed series exploring that will stretch your child’s imagination through creative play that supports language development, social interaction, and problem solving. Each Tuesday session includes exploration, an animal encounter and an activity. This program is suitable for ages two to three years, with parental support.


Beach Cleanup Opportunities

Looking to give back to the ocean and your community? Join us for a two hour Beach Cleanup!

Ocean Institute beach cleanups removed over 1,000 pounds of trash in 2018. Help us prevent even more trash from entering our ocean in 2019. Please wear closed toed shoes and bring a refillable water bottle. Those 16 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Ocean Institute will provide trash pickers and bags! 

Select the “Book Now” button below to sign up.