2019 Dana Point Festival of Whales Events
Listed by Category with Dates and Times Included
2019 Festival Events by Category
Please visit our online map for shuttle stops, routes, parking options and event locations. (Check back often for updates.)
EVERY DAY OF THE FESTIVAL
The incredible 5,000-mile migration of the majestic California gray whale from Alaska to Mexico begins in December and continues through March. During this peak season, 40 to 50 whales pass by Dana Point each day, using the Dana Point Headland’s 200-foot cliffs near the Dana Point Harbor as a landmark to check their migration path. Dana Point offers the BEST whale watching along the California Coast. Don’t miss it! There’s a whale watching excursion for everyone. If you’re interested in getting a glimpse of these majestic leviathans from land, be sure to visit the Headlands Conservation Park. The Park includes a public trail system, over 3 miles in length, and links all the parks and open space areas of the Headlands. The system includes pedestrian trails, coastal and beach access, scenic overlooks and the Nature Interpretive Center. The parks and trails can be reached either off of Green Lantern or at Dana Strand Rd., limited parking is available along these streets or at the Nature Interpretive Center parking lot. The trails are open from 7 AM to sunset daily. The Nature Interpretive Center is located adjacent to the Headlands Conservation Park, at the terminus of Street of the Green Lantern. Center Hours: 10 AM – 4 PM. From Dana Point Harbor visitors may take the FREE shuttle to the Ocean Institute and then proceed up Cove Road to the Park. It’s a good work out for those looking for a little adventure and some spectacular views!
CLEAN & GREEN
Help Us Keep the Festival of Whales Clean and Green! The Dana Point Festival of Whales is an ocean-friendly event with many of our booths, displays and exhibits being very close to water’s edge. We ask that all our sponsors and exhibitors keep this ocean location top-of-mind and refrain from using balloons, temporary tattoos, or other materials that might easily find their way to the receiving waters of the Pacific Ocean. We also ask all of our guests to keep these practices in mind as they spend a glorious day or weekend taking in the beauty of this special location. Drinking fountains are plentiful for the refilling of reusable water bottles and recycling bins will be available throughout the Harbor. Please help us keep the Festival of Whales clean and green for generations to come.
Click here to learn more
2019 FESTIVAL OF WHALES MERCHANDISE
T-shirts (long and short sleeve), hooded sweatshirts, hats, tote bags and lapel pins will be on sale throughout the Harbor during both weekends of the Festival. All clothing items will be available for online purchase beginning in late December through our Festival of Whales Online Store.
FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE
Available every day of the Festival from 10 AM to 4 PM (extended service hours the morning of the parade (March 2) and the afternoon of the Whale of a Concert (March 10). Please visit our online map for shuttle stops, routes, parking lot and event locations. Park and ride free all day long and migrate with the whales! Click here for our event map
Take a relaxing Harbor Cruise or utilize the boat as an alternative to walking or riding the shuttle from one end of the Harbor to the other. Daily service during the Festival will be offered between Dana Wharf and the Ocean Institute from NOON to 5 PM.
Round trip tickets are $5 per person. and must be purchased on the boat or at Dana Wharf Sportfishing. (Ocean Institute will provide a Lifeguard to assist riders on and off the taxi at the OI dock.)
Hours: 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm (last pick-up at OI will be 5:00 pm)
Take in all the great sights from the water! Your captain will share interesting facts and features about the Dana Point area and its fascinating history.
ARTS AND CULTURE
March 2, 3, 9, 10
Art in the Park 10 AM – 5 PM – Local artists will display and sell a variety of works on the grassy areas at the corner of Island Way and Dana Point Harbor Drive. The Dana Point Historical Society will provide free information on local history and display historic photos, books and gifts for purchase. The Festival’s FREE shuttle has a stop in front of “Herb” the topiary whale, adjacent to the display areas.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a vendor application.
March 2, 3, 9, 10
Dana Point Fine Arts Outdoor Show – Weather permitting. If cancelled, no make-up date will be arranged. However, the next scheduled art show will be Mother’s Day Weekend on the Boardwalk.
Dana Point Fine Arts Association Show & Sale – The Dana Point Fine Arts Association, a nonprofit organization, will host an art show and sale from 10 AM to 5 PM. The art will be on display at the Harbor Boardwalk along the boat docks in Mariner’s Village on the east side of the Coffee Importers Espresso Bar and Harpoon Henry’s restaurant. Watercolor, oil, acrylic, colored pencil, pastels and photography by many award-winning local artists will be available for purchase. Dana Point Fine Arts annually donates a portion of the proceeds from the show to Dana Hills High School Art Department. For more info on this exhibit visit their website http://danapointfinearts.org.
March 2, 3
Dana Point Historical Society Walking Tour of Town Center – 2 PM meet the guide at the newly restored Blue Lantern Café (Coastal Kitchen), 34091 Pacific Coast Hwy. (corner of Blue Lantern and PCH) for the historic town center Walking Tour. See and hear the stories of historic landmarks, S. H. Woodruff’s 1920s planned community and Bluff Top harbor views, c. 1818 to 1939, that represent the area’s early history. A free Walking Tour brochure of Dana Point is included. For more information, call 949-248-8121 or email@example.com. FREE – donations to the nonprofit DPHS Museum appreciated.
Should groups of three or more be interested in a tour the second weekend of the Festival, either March 11 or 12, the Historical Society will take advance reservations. To make a reservation please call the Dana Point Historical Society 949-248-8121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations must be made a minimum of three days in advance of the tour.
Dana Hills High School Young Artists Show and Sale – 10 AM – 5 PM High school art students will display and sell a variety of artwork on the Harbor walkway just east of Island Way. Works will include paintings, photography, graphic design, ceramics and sculpture. Cookies created by the school’s culinary arts classes will also be available for purchase. Proceeds benefit arts education at DHHS.
Cardboard Classic & Dinghy Dash
Westwind Sailing is honored to host the 4th annual Cardboard Classic & Dinghy Dash during the Dana Point Festival of Whales! This event is a fun-filled, family-oriented day that includes a cardboard boat building contest and race (the Dinghy Dash), business boat exhibition and public vote, food, event emcee – Jim Taylor, music and awards. It’s serious fun for competitors and spectators alike!
The Cardboard Classic is a free event and open to the public from 8 AM – 1 PM at Baby Beach, Dana Point Harbor (next to the OC Sailing & Event Center). Our main event is the Dinghy Dash which will feature a beach full of sea hardy captains racing in the Harbor with nothing but a paddle and their cardboard ships!
Dinghy Dash teams will work through the morning designing and building their crafts from corrugated cardboard and duct tape and then competing in age division races in the afternoon.
All building materials for the Dinghy Dash are supplied. Building materials include: cardboard, duct tape, box cutter knife, sharpie pens … that’s it! No outside materials allowed. (Business Barge Division boats are prebuilt with separate rules and parameters. See below)
Up to five people may participate on any team to build a boat but only one person per team may race in any given race (Except Business Barge Division). Adult supervision is required for any team with members under 13 years old.
Awards will be presented to top racers in each category along with 5 judged awards including: The Titanic!
Business Barge (Corporate Team Division)
Back by popular demand is the Business Barge division at the Cardboard Classic! The Business Barge division is unique in that local business’ pre-build their boats. The Barges with be on display during the morning of the Classic and are eligible to win the ‘People’s Choice’ award which is determined by public vote. The boats will be raced in the Business Barge division with a crew of 2 to 4 people. All local businesses are invited to enter as this is a great opportunity for Advertising and Team Building!
• 8 – 12 years old
• 13 – 17 years old
• High School Team
• Business Barge
Dinghy Dash Registration Fees:
• Individual Team = $40 ($35 early bird price – ends 1/31/19)
• Sponsored Boat = $40
• Business Barge (Corporate Team) = $70
Other Great Ways to Participate:
• Volunteer as one of our Dinghy Dash Deckhands! Lots of fun to make the event happen. Score a super duper T shirt and breakfast too!
• Sponsor a Boat! – Local high school science and physics classes will build and race your sponsored boat.
• Donate Supplies! – Donations of Duct Tape, Box Cutter knives and Colored Sharpie pens are needed for the Classic. Individuals and Businesses who donate are recognized as our awesome partners in announcements during the Cardboard Classic
CLASSIC CAR & BOAT DISPLAYS
March 2, 3, 9, 10
This is a must-see display of one-of-a-kind cars! FREE shuttle service available at Island Way and Dana Point Harbor Drive for easy access to the Harbor walkway area.
So Cal Woodies – The best of the best will be on display from 10 AM to 4 PM from the official Southern California Chapter of the National Woodie Club. Stroll along the Harbor walkway and enjoy this unique display! The Club’s goal is to promote the wooden car, and the role it has played throughout automotive history, especially in the California surf culture. For more information visit www.socalwoodies.com.
Pacific Coast Corvettes Presents the Legendary Vette – The Harbor walkway will be replete with a several generations of Corvettes the first weekend of the Festival from 10 AM to 4 PM. The Chevrolet Corvette, known colloquially as the Vette, is a sports car manufactured by Chevrolet. The car has been produced through seven generations. The first model, a convertible, was designed by Harley Earl and introduced at the GM Motorama in 1953 as a concept show car. Myron Scott is credited for naming the car after the type of small, maneuverable warship called a corvette. Originally built in Flint, Michigan and St. Louis, Missouri, the Corvette is currently manufactured in Bowling Green, Kentucky and is the official sports car of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The Antique & Classic Boat Society 10 AM to 4 PM – The Southern California Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society will display a variety of vessels in the East Marina Parking Lot adjacent to the walkway between Dana Wharf and Harpoon Henry’s on Golden Lantern. ACBS is the largest society in the world dedicated to the preservation, restoration and enjoyment of historic, antique and classic boats, as well as providing education about the vessels’ heritage.
March 9, 10
The Austin Healey Association of Southern California, along with the Jaguar Owners club of LA present the British Invasion
Join the British Invasion along the Harbor Walkway from 10 AM to 4 PM and enjoy a unique display of fine British motorcars including Austin-Healeys, Jaguars, Triumphs and others.
Austin-Healey is a British sports car maker established in 1952 through a joint venture between the Austin division of the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and the Donald Healey Motor Company (Healey), a renowned automotive engineering and design firm. It was the first affordable mass produced sports car that could go over 100 MPH. Classic Austin-Healeys, “Big Healeys”, were produced from 1953 through 1967. The company also produced the Austin-Healey Sprite (1958 -69) and the Jensen-Healey (1972 -76). All of the Healeys were active in auto racing including European rallies, Le Mans, and Seibring. Most Austin Healeys were produced for the North American market, and California probably is the home to more Healeys today than any other state. For more, see http://www.austin-healey.org.
Jaguar is also the producer of classic British sports cars. Jaguar got its name by producing a series of successful eye-catching sports cars, the Jaguar XK120 (1948–54), Jaguar XK140 (1954-7), Jaguar XK150 (1957–61), and Jaguar E-Type (1961-75). The company is still producing cars today, more recently being owned by British Leyland, Ford and now by Tata Motors of India. Jaguar is synonymous with British racing prestige, dating back to Stirling Moss’ 1950s heyday. Jaguar enjoyed great success at Le Mans in the 50s – totaling five wins in seven years. It moved into the Formula 1 mainstream when Ford bought Jackie Stewart’s team in 1999, as Jaguar Racing’s first Grand Prix came at Australian in 2000. For more on Jaguars, see http://www.lajagclub.com.
Also joining the Austin Healeys and Jaguars will be other British cars, including Triumphs, Morgans and MGs.
DANA WHARF WHALE WATCHING AND MORE
March 2, 3, 9, 10
The Original 2-Hour Whale Watching Trip
Simply the best – from the originators of whale watching in Orange County and voted #1 five years in a row by Dana Point Times!
Expert captains and certified naturalists narrate each excursion, detailing the whales’ movements through their natural migration path. As the originator of Whale Watching in Orange County, Dana Wharf remains family owned and operated and is exclusively endorsed by world-renowned marine life artist Wyland. Every trip is a new and different adventure, all showcasing the beauty of the Pacific Ocean underwater world right here, off the coast of Dana Point. Kids rock at Dana Wharf and often get to meet the Captain! Marine Mammal “rain checks” ensure you see a good show of whales or dolphins or your next trip is FREE!
Excursions depart every hour, on the hour, from 8 AM to 4 PM during the Festival weekends and every trip is approx. 2 hours. Prices: Adults $45, Senior and Military $35, Children 3-12 years $29, Children 2 and under are always FREE. Use promo code Fow19 save $10 off all tickets excludes special 8am and 4pm trips. For reservations call 888-224-0603 or check out our schedule and purchase online.
8 AM Trip Special – Want a whale of a deal? $15 per person on all 8am trips! Hurry, the best deal in town sells out fast. Regular price is $45 – huge savings! For reservations call 888-224-0603 or check out our schedule and purchase online
4 PM Sunset Whale Watch Trip – Also take advantage of the wonderful sunsets in Dana Point on our specially priced Sunset Whale Watch trip. Sip cocktails or your favorite wine or beer from our on board bar as you take in the fabulous sunset. All tickets on this 4 PM-6 PM trip are just $29 for adults and seniors and $29 for kids compared to our usual $45 rate for adults and $35 for seniors. (No other discounts accepted on this trip.) For reservations call 888-224-0603 or check out our schedule and purchase online
The 2 1/2 Hour Deluxe Catamaran Adventure – Join Dana Wharf on a special 2.5-hour Whale Watching adventure both weekends at 11:30 AM . Board Dana Wharf’s luxurious 63-foot, state-of-the-art, custom-built OCean Adventures Catamaran or the new 50-foot Lot’ A Fun for a unique adventure Featuring a smooth ride and an incredibly spacious viewing deck, these are the perfect vessels for whale and dolphin watching. Hurry, these trips sell out quickly. Our famous “rain check” for marine mammal sightings guarantee applies to these trips as well. Marine Mammal “rain checks” ensure you see a good show of whales or dolphin or your next trip is FREE! Tickets that include the whale watching, pre trip lecture and continental breakfast are $55 for adults, $35 for seniors and children 3–12, and children 2 and under are always FREE! Use promo code Fow19 save $10 off all tickets excludes special 8am and 4pm trips. For reservations call 888-224-0603 or check out our schedule and purchase online.
Drone Demo with Our Marine Life Top-of-Mind 2 PM – 5 PM.
How do they do it? How do the professionals fly drones safely and respectfully, while keeping the safety of our marine wildlife top-of-mind? See how they operate Dana Wharf’s drones and learn how to get that perfect shot while maintaining a safe distance from whales and other marine wildlife. We will have a 30-minute demo during our 2.5-hour trip that focuses on this new technology that we use daily, to get you up close and personal with the marine life we see off our coast. From the expansive decks of the OCean Adventures our experts will answer your questions and show you how it is done. This is a great trip for all you techies out there that want to learn more and discover tips on operating your drones safely and respectfully in our waters.
Prices $55 for adults, $35 for seniors and children 3–12, and children 2 and under are always FREE! Use promo code Fow19 save $10 off all tickets excludes special 8am and 4pm trips.All adult guests will receive a copy of Dana Wharf Whale Watching’s new whale and dolphin DVD, “Sharing the Shores off Dana Point” (a $20 value). Click here to purchase tickets
March 2, 3, 9, 10
Marine Mammal Lecture Series 10 AM-11 AM at Harpoon Henry’s – This special lecture series from 10 am to 11 AM includes continental breakfast at Harpoon Henry’s. Perfect for those who want a one-on-one educational experience, marine biologists and guests present recent findings on local whales, dolphins and other marine mammals.
Saturday, March 2 – Lei Lani Stelle, Ph.D. – Blue Whales: Professor, Department of Biology, University of Redlands
Her current research is focused on investigating human impacts on marine mammals off Southern California. She incorporates citizen science into her efforts with funding and assistance from Earthwatch volunteers. In addition, she initiated and co-developed Whale mAPP, a collection of GIS-based web and mobile tools, to encourage public reports of animal sightings. With the assistance of students and volunteers, her research group monitors the distribution, behavior, and physiology of populations of all local cetacean and pinniped species.
Sunday, March 3 – Alisa Schulman-Janiger – California Orcas/Gray Whale Census: Alisa is from the California Killer Whale Project and the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Cetacean Society. She will be speaking on two topics: the ACS/LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project as well as the killer whales that have been seen in California, whales that she has been studying for over 35 years.
Saturday, March 9 – Todd Mansur – Gray Whale Foundation: Todd Mansur was born in Laguna Beach and for the past 32 years has had a career on the ocean. Through a variety of experiences he has had the opportunity to observe hundreds of different marine species, both fish and mammals. At the young and impressionable age of 13 he was the only crew member for a 20-passenger operation that fished during the spring, summer and fall. During the winter he crewed for a whale watching operation. This early exposure to Mother Ocean had a huge impact on Todd. At 19 he actually purchased his own vessel and has continued to work on the ocean and enjoy its bounty in many ways, and in turn has generously shared his up close and personal knowledge with thousands. In 1992 he became Dana Wharf Whale Watching’s lead naturalist and conducts all of the pre-excursion in-classroom education for Orange County’s schools. This is also a major role for Todd with the Gray Whale Foundation. Todd is a published author on the topic of marine mammals and does public speaking engagements on the topic. http://www.
Sunday, March 10 – Kirsten Donald – Director of Education, Pacific Marine Mammal Center – Sea Lion Entanglement, Rehabilitation and Research: Kirsten Donald is a marine mammal scientist whose career started in 1996. Kirsten earned her Master’s degree in Marine Mammal Science from University of Wales in Bangor, Wales UK. Kirsten has been involved in education and research program development, visitor engagement, animal care and training, marine mammal research and population management analyses, conservation efforts as well as marine mammal stranding and rescue efforts including whales and dolphins, manatees, seals and sea lions.
Following the lectures, those who want to continue the experience may board Dana Wharf’s luxurious 63-foot, state-of-the-art, custom-built OCean Adventures Catamaran for a unique adventure departing at 11:30 for 2.5 hours. Featuring a smooth ride and an incredibly spacious viewing deck, this is the perfect vessel for whale and dolphin watching – not to mention a full-service deli-style galley. Hurry, these trips sell out quickly. Our famous “rain check” for marine mammal sightings guarantee applies to these trips as well. Marine Mammal “rain checks” ensure you see a good show of whales or dolphin or your next trip is FREE! Tickets that include the whale watching, lecture and continental breakfast are $55 for adults, $35 for seniors and children 3–12, and children 2 and under are always FREE! (No senior rate when combined with Marine Mammal Lecture and continental breakfast. Without lecture and breakfast, Senior rate is $35.)
March 2, 9
Wyland Whale Watching Art Lessons in the Wild 10 AM – 10:45 AM – Dana Wharf and The Wyland Foundation have entered into a partnership to offer the most unique and creative experience on the water. Learn from one of the masters of marine art by joining us for a dockside presentation and art lesson aboard the OCean Adventures Catamaran, via video feed, by renowned environmental artist, Wyland! Guests will learn how Wyland has created some of the most well known marine wildlife paintings and sculptures of our era. Children can enter their art in an end-of-season contest for the most accurate portrayal of marine mammals to be judged by Wyland. The winning child will receive a framed limited edition signed and numbered giclee on paper of “Celebrate The Sun” – Grand Prize Valued at over $3,000. Other prizes will be awarded!
The price for the art lesson is $5 per child, with all proceeds going to the Wyland Foundation. The mission of Wyland’s foundation is to give both children and adults alike, the tools they need to become more creative, positive and solution oriented through art. Whale watching excursions are available at an additional cost, and the children who participate are given a free Whale Watching trip to be used on the same day as the art lesson at any time with a reservation and with a paid $45 adult ticket, trips will be departing Dana Wharf every hour on the hour during the Festival of Whales. Click here to register and purchase tickets
March 3, 10
Kids Free Fishing Clinic and Free Fishing Trip 12 PM (Noon) – 12:30 PM – Dana Wharf Sportfishing invites all children to come to their dock side fishing clinic and learn hands on techniques on fishing from the experts. Prizes will be raffled off at the end of the clinic. After the clinic Dana Wharf will be running a fishing trip from 12:45 PM – 5:15 PM, adults are $46 plus license and equipment, children 12 and under fish for FREE. Extra bonus is the chance of spotting whales, dolphins and other marine life! This trip includes equipment! More information and reservations call Dana Wharf 949-496-5794.
Diamond Dig 11:30 AM – 1 PM on Baby Beach, in the Dana Point Harbor. Come to Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary Club’s Annual Diamond Dig at Baby Beach!! For one hour, starting at noon sharp, you and your child have a whale of an opportunity to become rich by digging for treasure, toys, prizes and for ONE lucky person, a beautiful piece of diamond jewelry, donated by Marinelli Fine Jewelry.
Kids and adults are encouraged to arrive early at Baby Beach starting at 11:30 AM, pay $10 for your special Diamond Dig shovel and get ready to dig for treasure at noon sharp. Dress as a pirate and get a head start looking for the buried treasure!
DOHENY STATE BEACH
Whale Walk Painting – Whale Painting Fun for Everyone! Join friends and family to help paint a life size whale that will add to the collection of wonderful whale paintings already on display. We will paint from 9 AM – 2 PM and supply the paint and brushes. You will supply the artist’s touch. Free and open to the public. We will be on the Doheny State Beach “Whale Walk” by the snack bar (Boneyard Beach Cafe). Please alert the entrance staff upon arrival so they can direct you to parking and the “Whale Walk.”
Hourly parking in the Doheny State Beach lot is $3/hour with a $6 minimum (at onsite payment kiosks) for this event and throughout the Festival weekends. After painting you can hop on the FREE shuttle service and take in the rest of the Festival of Whales activities and displays throughout the Harbor. You may also pay for parking via the PassportParking Mobile Pay app for smartphones and tablets. This app is available for both iPhones and Android phones (App Store and Google Play). Sign up online at https://ppprk.com/park/. The benefit of the PassportParking Mobile Pay application is in addition to making the initial payment for parking, time can also be added remotely in case you are having a great time at the Harbor events and don’t want to return to the parking lot just yet to retrieve your car. For more information, contact Ed Neely (Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association) at email@example.com or 949-233-0476.
Whale of a Beach Cleanup – Festival of Whales Toast to the Coast!
9 AM – Noon – Bring your work gloves and a recyclable bag or bucket and help clean up Doheny State Beach. Meet Park Naturalist Vicki at the Lifeguard Headquarters and learn more about how you can help maintain our precious coastal resources.
Hourly parking in the Doheny State Beach lot is $3/hour with a $6 mininum (at onsite payment kiosks) for this event and throughout the Festival weekends. You may also pay for parking via the State Park’s PassportParking Mobile Pay app for smartphones and tablets. This app is available for both iPhones and Android phones (App Store and Google Play). Sign up online at https://ppprk.com/park/. The benefit of the PassportParking Mobile Pay application is in addition to making the initial payment for parking, time can also be added remotely in case you are having a great time at the harbor events and don’t want to return to the parking lot just yet to retrieve your car. FREE shuttle service to Doheny from most Harbor parking lots.
DOLPHIN SAFARI WHALE WATCHING AND MORE
March 2, 3, 9, 10
Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari – Join Orange County’s number one rated whale watching tour on TripAdvisor, Google+ and Yelp. Celebrating 20 years!
Bring the kids, family, and friends for a chance to get up close and personal with gentle gray whales, as well as fin whales, humpback whales, minke whales and more, plus five different species of amazing wild dolphins, including mega-pods that can number in the thousands!
Why Captain Dave’s? Because you and your family deserve the very best!
Capt. Dave’s has a Five Star rating and is Dana Point’s No. 1 outdoor activity on TripAdvisor and offers the best customer service!
Exclusive Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods: Go underwater, without getting wet, and experience what it’s like to swim with dolphins and whales while aboard our high-tech catamaran sailboat MANUTE’A.
Capt. Dave’s unique catamarans are never crowded with a maximum of 12 to 49 passengers, depending on the vessel, for an intimate whale watching experience.
We are a real eco-tourism company providing only sustainable wildlife viewing.
Orange County’s only U.S. Coast Guard inspected rigid hull inflatable boat, FAST CAT, is also available throughout the Festival.
Originators of the Eye-Spy viewing platform: Eye-Spy Dolphin & Whale Tram Nets on our catamaran sailboats put wildlife inches below your feet.
Our knowledgeable marine naturalists explain how these animals live for a fun and educational oceanic adventure that adults and children of all ages will love.
Captain Dave and rescue team members have been recognized worldwide for their conservation and whale rescue efforts.
Mrs. Captain Dave’s famously yummy Triple Fudge Brownies are served complimentary on every whale watching trip.
We are the home of Dana Point’s most viewed YouTube channel, featuring Captain Dave’s award-winning (Phinfest 2015) drone footage of whales and dolphins with over 12 million views. Subscribe to our channel!
Captain Dave is a marine naturalist, conservationist, photographer, award-winning filmmaker and author, and whale watching captain. A founder of Orange County’s first whale disentanglement group, Captain Dave was a guest on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to raise awareness of bycatch from fishing gear entanglement. He is often called upon as an authority on wild dolphins and whales, and was a keynote speaker at the LA Drone Expo for his spectacular use of drones for filming whales and dolphins in his acclaimed video “Drones Over Dolphin Stampede and Whales off Dana Point and Maui.” Videos and photographs from Captain Dave’s safaris have been featured on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” “CBS this Morning,” “NBC Nightly News,” “The Today Show,” Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and in feature films, including the Academy Award-nominated Racing Extinction.
Capt. Dave’s Under the Sea Eco Carnival Noon to 2 PM – It’s adventure time again with Captain Dave and his crew! Join us at our carnival, and learn how you can do your part to keep our ocean clean while still having fun. Bounce the day away in our under-the-sea bounce houses, have fun at our selfie station, come see how much waste we can fit in our fluke, and learn about different ways to recycle household items. Dive deep with Captain Dave’s one-of-a-kind Underwater Viewing Pod simulation to see what it’s like to bow-ride with some of Dana Point’s most beautiful inhabitants while you wait for a chance to get your face painted. All ages are welcome!
Carnival entry is FREE; face painting is available for a small fee. 24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive, next to Baby Beach. For more information on the Under the Sea Eco Carnival, call us at 949-488-2828 or visit www.dolphinsafari.com.
Capt. Dave’s Presents: Entangled Whales: What Can We Do? 2 PM to 3 PM Join Captain Dave Anderson for an informative presentation about whale entanglement and rescue. Learn about recent disentanglements that Captain Dave and others were hands-on involved with, including the first disentanglement effort of a blue whale that recently made national headlines. You’ll discover more about what is being done to help these animals, including new equipment Capt. Dave is developing for tracking whales, and also what you can do (such as buying U.S. caught fish) to make a difference. Throughout the presentation you’ll enjoy amazing, never-before-seen rescue footage and drone video, and have the opportunity to look at and touch the special equipment used to help entangled whales. Captain Dave believes it is critical to let people know that nearly 1,000 dolphins and whales are estimated to die every day worldwide in fishing gear entanglement. He has been able to share this information through many of the television shows he has been featured on, such as “The Ellen Show,” “CBS this Morning,” “National Geographic,” “The Today Show,” and many others, and through his book and videos which have reached over 25 million views on YouTube.
Captain Dave organized Orange County’s first whale disentanglement group in 2008. As part of a network of NOAA trained disentanglement teams, he has been hands-on involved with multiple disentanglement efforts in coordination with NOAA. Captain Dave is also a marine naturalist, award-winning wildlife filmmaker, author, conservationist, whale watching captain and YouTube vlogger.
Whale of a Pizza Party – Grab a slice of Beach Harbor Pizza and a drink, served up by the Veritas Lodge from 11:30 AM to 4 PM adjacent to Baby Beach during the Sand Sculpting Contest.
Whale of a Breakfast at the Beach – Join the Knights of Columbus for a delicious, freshly cooked breakfast from 8 AM to 11:30 AM adjacent to Baby Beach.
Whale of a BBQ – A hamburger and hotdog barbecue will be served up by the Knights of Columbus from 11:30 AM to 4 PM adjacent to Baby Beach during Ocean Awareness Day.
7th Annual Whale of a Clam Chowder Cook-Off – Sample a variety of tasty chowders from local restaurants and organizations and then vote for your favorite from 11 AM to 3 PM at Baby Beach grassy area. Tasting packets will include taste sampling tickets, tasting cups and spoons – only $10 to taste every sample – makes a great lunch! Prizes will be awarded for the People’s Choice Best Chowder, Best Booth Design and Mayor’s Choice. The Perpetual Trophy will be presented at 4 PM. This year enjoy a Beer & Wine Garden for adults over 21 with a valid driver’s license. Kids and adults will both have a chance to win fun gifts when participating at our game booths! Proceeds will benefit Fish for Life, a nonprofit program that takes children with special needs ocean fishing…in grand style!
Boat Builders’ Brekky and BBQ on the Beach – Breakfast is served by the Veritas Lodge at the OC Sailing & Event Center from 8 AM to Noon. Fuel up while watching or participating in the Cardboard Classic Dinghy Dash boat building contest and race at Baby Beach.
Whale of a Concert BBQ – Scrumptious barbecue specialties will be available from Noon to 5 PM at Baby Beach, along with a Spirits Garden for those over 21 years old with a valid driver’s license.
March 2, 3, 9, 10
Harbor Music Series – Presented by the Dana Point Harbor Association in the Dana Wharf Courtyard, Harpoon Henry Grassy Area near Mariner’s Village and at Art in the Park near Island Way from 12 PM (Noon) to 3 PM. Enjoy a variety of musical styles and sounds. 949-923-2255 or danapointharbor.com
Whale Songs & Other Tails from the Opera: A Musical Event with Lyric Opera of Orange County 6 PM – Opera returns to the Ocean Institute to help celebrate the Gray Whale migration! Join us for a beautiful evening of whale song, cat calls, bird trills, and other operatic animal music plus refreshments overlooking the high seas at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. An elegant evening of eclectic opera, with a view you won’t want to miss. Click here for tickets
This event is weather permitting. If canceled, no make-up date will be arranged.
Concert on the Water 12 PM (Noon) to 5 PM – In honor of the whales migrating by Dana Point Headlands “singing their song” the Festival of Whales festivities will include a FREE outdoor concert at Baby Beach with bands performing on the water atop a specially designed floating stage. The concert will feature 3 bands, with music starting at noon and going until 5 p.m.
Noon-1 PM Neon Nation – The Ultimate Live ’80s Experience
1:30 PM-3 PM Keston & The Rhythm Killers
3:30 PM-5 PM DSB – The Next Best Thing To Journey
Bring your low back beach chairs or blankets and enjoy an afternoon of great music! Delicious BBQ favorites will be available along with a Spirits Garden for adults 21+, with valid driver’s license.
Baby Beach is located adjacent to the OC Sailing & Events Center, 34451 Ensenada Place, Dana Point. For more information call the City of Dana Point Community Services Department at 949-248-3530.
OCEAN AWARENESS DAY
Ocean Awareness Day – Presented by the Dana Point Harbor Association, featuring interactive displays, demonstrations and entertainment showcasing ocean and environmental programs and issues related to our ocean. The event is located at Baby Beach at the OC Sailing & Events Center, 34451 Ensenada Place, 11 AM – 4 PM. The event and parking are FREE and there is also FREE shuttle service from most Harbor parking lots. 949-923-2255 or danapointharbor.com
OCEAN INSTITUTE WHALE WATCHING AND MORE
Ocean Institute Education Center
March 9, 10
Magical Migration at the Ocean Institute – Ocean Education Center 10 AM to 3 PM During the second festival weekend, 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.
Admission: $10.00 Adults; $7.50 Children 3-12 & Seniors 55+
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.
March 2, 3, 9, 10
Join the Ocean Institute as we explore the history of sailing along the California shore. Learn how sailing impacted development of Dana Point, interactive history talks about Richard Henry Dana Jr., whaling exhibition, tours of the historic tall ship, the Brig Pilgrim, and more. Hours: 10 AM to 3 PM Last admission at 2:15 PM
Pacific Marine Exploration Cruise aboard the R/V Sea Explorer: 10:00 am and 1:30 pm
Join the Ocean Institute’s marine educators in exploring the ocean from top to bottom, while searching for some of the world’s largest and smallest creatures during our 2.5-hour long marine life exploration program.
First, learn how scientists identify the largest mammals on earth based on their unique characteristics in an optional pre-cruise Mammal Talk. Then, embark on the R/V Sea Explorer to test your new knowledge as we search for whales, dolphins, and sea lions. Lastly, assist the Ocean Institute staff in collecting samples of sea floor mud and the smallest organisms on earth – phytoplankton and zooplankton! We are pleased to provide the area’s only whale watching program that allows your family to be a scientist for the day!
Pricing: Adults $35.00; Children (12 and under; minimum age 4): $15.00 Members receive a 10% discount. Weekend admission to the Institute is included with the sail ticket purchase.
For more information or reservations, please visit www.ocean-institute.org or call 949- 496-2274.
Whale Songs & Other Tails from the Opera: A Musical Event with Lyric Opera of Orange County 6 PM Opera returns to the Ocean Institute to help celebrate the Gray Whale migration! Join us for a beautiful evening of whale song, cat calls, bird trills, and other operatic animal music plus refreshments overlooking the high seas at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. An elegant evening of eclectic opera, with a view you won’t want to miss. Click here for tickets
March 2 – CANCELED
This event is weather permitting. If canceled, no make-up date will be arranged.
The Festival of Whales Parade 10 AM – The Festival of Whales Parade kicks off the two-weekend celebration of the California Grey Whale migration. The parade embraces the Festival’s theme of Magical Migration with parade floats and entries decorating in an ocean/whale theme and costumes. Giant helium parade balloons of a Blue Whale, Orca and many other sea life creatures fill the air over head during the parade. The parade promptly begins at 10 AM with a route along Pacific Coast Highway beginning at Selva Road and ending at Golden Lantern in Dana Point, approximately 1 mile. FREE shuttle service to and from Harbor parking lots to the parade viewing area will be available beginning one hour (9 AM) from the parade start time. Come early and enjoy breakfast in the harbor before catching a shuttle to the parade viewing area. If you are interested in having an entry in the parade, please contact Sherry Murphy, Recreation Manager at the City of Dana Point (949) 248-3533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAND SCULPTING FUN
Whale of a Sand Sculpting Competition 8 AM to 1 PM on Baby Beach – The annual Sand Sculpting Competition at Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor is a day of fun, sun and creativity for families, friends and sand sculpting enthusiasts. Contestants may choose to make sand creations including whales, ocean creatures, pirates and ships, surfing and tropical island themed creations. The sculpting begins at 8 a.m. and judging will start at 1 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to the first through third place contestant finalists. Walk-up entries will be accepted the day of the event, on a first come, first served basis. Pre-registration is not required, but to ensure you get a spot, click here for a registration form. Contestants please check in at the Festival of Whales merchandise and info booth on the grass at Baby Beach.
SAILING AND PADDLING
March 2, 3, 10
Sailing Rides 10 AM – 3 PM – Take a sailing ride and learn how to steer and sail a Capri 14! Ages 5 and up. $15 per boat, three people maximum (half-hour session). Weather and conditions dependent. Lifejackets provided. Find our booth at the OC Sailing & Event Center. Contact Westwind Sailing for details: (949) 492-3035. All proceeds are donated to the Dana Point Aquatic Foundation for educational boating scholarships benefiting At-Risk Youth and Adaptive Boating programs.
Stand-Up Paddling Clinics – Join the SUP craze and learn first hand why it’s the fastest growing water sport today! 45 min on the water clinics held each hour on the hour – weather and conditions dependent. Ages 12 and up, (12- to 14-year-olds must be accompanied by an adult) 10 AM – 3 PM. $10 per person. Lifejackets provided. Find our booth at the OC Sailing & Event Center. Contact Westwind Sailing for details: (949) 492-3035. All proceeds are donated to the Dana Point Aquatic Foundation for educational boating scholarships benefiting at-risk youth and adaptive boating programs.
March 2– CANCELED
This event is weather permitting. If canceled, no make-up date will be arranged.
Street Fair from 10 AM to 3 PM – The Pet Project Foundation hosts the Street Fair and Whales and Tails Wag-a-Thon at La Plaza Park. Shop at over 70 vendor booths, enjoy music, food trucks, a kiddie area, pet costume contest, souvenirs, a chance to win great prizes and so much more. Funds raised help Pet Project Foundation support the San Clemente/Dana Point Animal Shelter.
Register to walk in the parade with your costumed pet by contacting Vickie at email@example.com.
Admission is FREE.
Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Center
March 2 & 3
Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Center 10 AM to 4 PM – This state of the art 1,000-square-foot learning exhibition on wheels features a 4-D multisensory theater and six interactive stations. The exhibit delivers a museum-quality science experience that allows visitors to explore how the quality and availability of water affects the quality of our lives. www.wylandfoundation.org