Ocean Institute Whale Watching and More
March 4, 5, 11, 12
Ocean Institute – Ocean Education Center 10 AM to 4 PM – During the festival weekends, a hands-on journey into the mysterious and captivating world of whales will allow visitors to explore a variety of fascinating phenomena unique to these magnificent animals. Guests follow the migration of the gray whale as they move through the facility, starting in Baja, moving on to the California Coast, and ending up in Alaska.
Along the way there will be opportunities to investigate how whales communicate and eat, to see how changes to the marine environment affects them, and to learn about ongoing research.
Additional activities include hands-on dissections, animal feedings, driving a remotely operated vehicle, and touch tanks in which guests touch live sea stars and other tidepool animals. Guests may also explore the underwater world and participate in pop-up experiments in our Headlands and Beyond exhibit.
Non-member Admission: $10.00 adults, $7.50 seniors & children. Members and children under 2 are free. For more information or reservations, please go to www.ocean-institute.org or call (949) 496-2274.
Ocean Institute Parking information: The Ocean Institute offers free parking for our guests. During this busy festival weekend, there is a FREE trolley service that offers drop off at and pick up service near the Ocean Institute approximately every 15 minutes to multiple parking lots throughout the Harbor and Doheny State Beach.
Art & the Sea: Paint Class 10 AM to 11 AM – Join the Ocean Institute for a one-of-a-kind paint class with Motif Paint Events during the Festival of Whales! Inspired by our adolescent gray whale skeleton, GraySea, artists will create their own canvas painting to take home. Included with admission to the Ocean Institute for Festival of Whales weekend only. Donations to Motif Paint Events encouraged.
Festival of Whales Movie Screening: “Humpback Whales” a MacGillivray Freeman film presented by Pacific Life 6 PM to 9 PM – Enjoy a spell-binding evening at the Ocean Institute for a special screening of MacGillivray Freeman’s Humpback Whales, narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Ewan McGregor. This up-close and personal look into the world of humpback whales includes a short presentation and question and answer session following the film. Join us as we unlock the secrets of the humpback whale.
Advanced purchase tickets: $10 / At the door: $15. Proceeds benefit the Festival of Whales Foundation as well as the Ocean Institute, to further our mission: using the ocean as our classroom, we inspire children to learn. Click here to learn more
March 4, 5
Whale’s Tale Tallship Sailing Adventure 11 AM to 1 PM – From “Devil Fish” to “Friendliest Whale,” explore how time and discovery have shaped man’s perception of the magnificent Gray Whale. Join us for an exciting tallship sailing adventure as you gain new insights into man’s evolving relationship with the ocean and the giants that roam our California Coast as we sail in search of the Gray Whale.
Pricing: Adults: $60.00; Seniors & Active Duty Military: $50.00; Children (12 and under; minimum age 4): $40.00. Members receive a 10% discount. Weekend admission to the Institute is included with the sail ticket purchase.
March 4, 5, 11, 12
March 4 10:00 AM | March 5 10:00 AM & 1:00 PM | March 11 10:00 AM & 1:00 PM | March 12 10:00 AM & 1:00 PM
Gray Whale Adventure Cruise – Join the R/V Sea Explorer crew on a whale watching cruise to view the whales and dolphins that make the coastal waters of Dana Point their home. Each cruise provides passengers with a one of kind experience in assisting our Marine Scientists with collecting samples from the ocean habitat. Our adventures also include hands on activities for the kids onboard! Weekend admission to the Institute is included with the cruise ticket purchase.
Pricing: Adults:$45.00; Seniors 55 and up: $35.00; Active Duty Military: $35.00; Children (4-17): $25.00; toddlers (3 & under): free. Ocean Institute members receive at 10% discount.