The Ocean Institute is an ocean education organization located in Dana Point, California. Founded as the Orange County Marine Institute in 1977, it offers ocean science and maritime history programs for K–12 students and their teachers. Over 100,000 students and 8,000 teachers from Orange County and the surrounding counties participate yearly in immersion-style programs in the institute's oceanfront labs and abroad. The institute is open to the general public on weekdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and weekends, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.; visitors can see marine animals and ocean-themed exhibits. While creating the Nickelodeon animated television show SpongeBob SquarePants, biologist and cartoonist Stephen Hillenburg drew inspiration from his time teaching at the Ocean Institute. More information...

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