This summer I was given the opportunity to experience the Marine Wildlife Exploration Cruise at The Ocean Institute in Dana Point. What a treat! The Ocean Institute sits on the edge of the Pacific and although they are home to a multi million dollar educational facility, their reach goes far beyond this building. Nationally recognized for it's hands on marine science education, more than 110,000 students participate in the immersion style programs here at the Institute. At the Ocean Institute, their motto is "Experience is the best teacher".
I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I learned while on this 2 hour cruise. There are so many whale watching cruises that take you out to sea and keep you staring at the big blue for the hopes that you might catch a glimpse of Blue Whale. Well, this experience was far from the average tourist trap. We did see 2 Blue Whales and were able to learn about their diving techniques and habits. These creatures are truly majestic and words nor pictures could begin to describe seeing one of these enormous mammals in person.
The Marine Biologists and volunteers on board actually teach you so much about not only the different species of Whales but most sea life found in the Pacific including the plankton that they enlist volunteers from the cruise to obtain from the sea floor. Once the specimen is pulled up the Marine Biologists put the specimen under microscopes where you can view them on a big screen as well as placing them under little plates of glass.
You have an opportunity to ask questions during the entire cruise and even the most passive learner will experience and learn so much. I highly recommend the Marine Wildlife Exploration Cruise when you visit The Ocean Institute. Be sure to visit The Ocean Institute online for more information on this cruise as well as many other educational opportunities. Their camps are also highly educational and they have so many special events during the year. The membership is not too pricey either. I believe they have family memberships at $60 a year which gives you FREE admission to the Institute and deep discounts on their events, cruises and camps throughout the year. They are currently holding their annual Raffle to win an ocean view house in Laguna Beach or many other amazing prizes and if you purchase a ticket they include a membership as well.
Make a day out of your visit to The Ocean Institute and take in beautiful Dana Point Harbor. This community is such an incredible beach side gem and be sure to bring your camera. You'll find this town to be a photographer's heaven.
Be sure to visit OC Fun Guide for new and exciting family activities that are FREE and Low Cost.