Holiday Gift Ideas from the Ocean Institute Present Creative Ideas for Kids and Adults

Fying sharks and cruise adventures may find their way under the Christmas tree when shoppers venture to the Ocean Institute gift shop for a gift that gives back to a non-profit.

Need stocking stuffers?  Looking for an unusual gift for a special person on the holiday list?  Want to shop without being overwhelmed by frenzied crowds?

We’ve got the place for you. The Ocean Institute in Dana Point. The Laurena G. Chambers Gallery Book and Gift Shop and the Institute’s Visitor Services for memberships and gift certificates are a go-to.

There’s something special about shopping local, helping a non-profit and being in a relaxing environment by the ocean.  Holiday gift giving Ocean Institute style can
be a habit.

The Ocean Institute is the place for creative gift shopping at buyer-friendly prices.  Who wouldn’t want a remote controlled Air Swimmer such as a flying Shark or Clown Fish?

Starting at 35 cents, nothing in the gift shop tops $250 (brass clocks and barometers). There won’t be sticker shock here.

A list of ideas for holiday gifts:

1.   Membership.  The gift that keeps giving.  A one-year membership ranges from $30 for senior to $1,000 for Ocean Advocate member. Popular memberships include Individual ($35), Senior Family ($50), Family ($60), Sea Star ($100) and Sea Life ($500).  All levels come with their own benefits, including discounts to programs, cruises and special events such as Tall Ships Festival, R/V Sea Explorer cruises and discounts for Summer Camps for children and grandchildren.  (949-496-2274)

2.  Cruises.  Give the gift of adventure.  R/V Sea Explorer cruises on the weekends provide a 2.5 hour experience with our team of naturalists in search of marine mammals.  Non-members $35/adults, $22 children; members $22/adults and $19 children.

3.  Gift certificates.  A gift that offers options.   Let your recipient decide what to buy—membership, something from the gift shop or a cruise. Gift certificates can also be purchased to cover a week-long Summer Camps for children and grandchildren.

4. Tours.  A gift of introduction.  A budget-friendly gift that will give a
fantastic overview of the Ocean Institute and its programs.  A one- hour walking-tour is $2 per person (non-member price), is held on Thursdays and Fridays at 3:30 p.m.

5.  Gifts from the gift store.  From stocking stuffers to home décor, the
gift shop offers an array of imaginative, educational and whimsical ideas.  Among items are ornaments, a variety of books for children and adults, board games (such as Mermaid Island $16.99), snow globes, a selection of jewelry for adults and kids (from sterling to baubles) and clothing (bibs and children and adult t-shirts and jackets).  Don’t forget stocking stuffers—sticker books ($1.50), mood rings, pencils, earrings…and shark teeth.

The Ocean Institute has plenty of ties to Laguna Beach.  More than 1,300 Laguna Beach school children participated in 37 programs in 2012.  Of course, the Institute's major fundraiser--the Laguna Beach Million Dollar Home Raffle--garners the support of Laguna Beach businesses from Pacific Edge to Gina's and, of course, the Sawdust Festival and many others.

Hours at the Ocean Institute are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week (Dec.
24-- 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.).  Information 949-496-2274, ext. 351.

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