(credit: Robin W./Yelp)

(credit: Robin W./Yelp)


One cannot deny the beauty of Southern California’s beaches that includes everything from Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Dana Point. The Ocean’s Institute was established to educate and better appreciate the connection between the ecosystems of the land and sea. More than 115,000 students and 6,000 teachers participate annually in the institute’s immersion programs. To better understand and get the full experience of what this educational facility has to offer, here are some top five things to keep in mind when trying to navigate through the facility.

Ocean Institute
24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive
Dana Point, CA 92629
(949) 496-2274
www.ocean-institute.org

(credit: Dania N./Yelp)

(credit: Dania N./Yelp)


Voyage To The Sea

One of the best ways to get students to understand oceanography and science is through experience. This institute offers the experience of voyaging into the sea in order to get the feel for the being out in the water, seeing living specimens in the their natural habitat and observing the migration of whales and collecting data. This proves to be a great experience for children that are looking to develop a better understanding of the ocean. 

(credit: Dania N./Yelp)

(credit: Dania N./Yelp)


Educational Facilities

The main purpose of this venue is to provide education and teach the importance of the ocean’s health. This institute provides programs  that help deepen the understanding  and appreciation of the connection of the sea and land. Some of these primary teaching facilities include the Ecology Learning Center and Children’s Theater, the Folino Center for Technology and Communications, Lazy-W Ranch, Madie James Seaside Learning Center and a Marine Protected Area.

(credit: Dania N./Yelp)

(credit: Dania N./Yelp)


Pop-Up Experiments

One way the venue is able to keep the youth interested in continued learning about the ocean and its ecosystem is its experiments and experiences. One to note is the Surfscience Center that is rich in the sciences of surf zones and its history. The Oceanography Test Tank, Wave Tank, Shark and Ray Pool and Shipboard Research Station all provide teaching exhibits to help the children learn about each particular topic. The Sleeping Deck also provides lots of expansive views of the ocean.

Related: Best Zoos And Aquariums in OC

(credit: Edgar A./Yelp)

(credit: Edgar A./Yelp)


Education

The Laurena G. Chambers Gallery Book and Gift Store within the institute offers educational material that is filled with ocean-themed items for purchase. The Samueli Lecture Hall and Conference Center is used for many educational programs that take place throughout the year. It holds some of the best state-of-the-art equipment for these specific events. The educational experience at the institute is designed to do the following: spark curiosity, maximize immersion and inspire commitment to learning.

(credit: Teep E./Yelp)

(credit: Teep E./Yelp)


Annual Events

Some of the annual events to keep your eye on include the 31st Toshiba Tall Ships Festival, where you can join the crew and sail the seas aboard the ship. In its 31st year as a host to this annual event, the institute will boast the largest annual gathering of tallships on the west coast with the Toshiba Tall Ships Festival. For other events like the Blue Whale Discovery Cruise and Bioluminescence Night Cruise, the institute offers access to the 65-foot sea explorer to discover more about the marine life world throughout each event.

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Elle Toussi is a freelance journalist covering all things Southern California. She has traveled to the Middle East in 2013 and 2014 covering the Syrian refugee situation in Jordan. That experience inspired her to become the founder of InOneMinute.org which uses the power of mobile technology and philanthropy to meet specific needs of women around the world. Her previous work can also be found on Examiner.com and AXS.com.
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