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School Field Trips

Dana Wharf Whale Watching’s original film Share the Shores off Dana Point bebuted on DVD in 2016, over 10,000 copies have  been sold and given to schools since then until now it is available on YOUTUBE for free.

The History of Dana Wharf & an Audio Reading of the Captain Don Book
Virtual Whale Watching Field Trip

Book Your Whale & Dolphin Watching Field Trip!

Field trips available Monday – Friday. Reservations required. Trips depart 10 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m. daily. All vessels are U.S. Coast Guard approved and meet school district insurance standards. Call 949-496-5794 x 2  or fill out the form at the bottom of this page.

Gray Whale Watching Season School Group Special Nov-April

2-Hour Whale Watching Cruises For Only $18 $16 Per Person!

It’s Gray Whale season at Dana Wharf! Since 1971, Dana Wharf has been offering the best in Dana Point Whale Watching. Dana Wharf is a family-owned-and-operated business and the originator of whale watching in Orange County. Dana Wharf proudly takes over 25,000 children out whale watching every year!

Join us for a two-hour whale watching adventure during the Gray Whale season which runs from November through April. Known as a landmark for whale sightings, Dana Wharf’s tours offer rare glimpses into a huge variety of underwater wildlife that you’ll never forget! The giant Gray Whales may spy hop, breach, or fluke. Enjoy the playful dolphins and sea lions too!


Whale & Dolphin Watching

Fun for all ages!

Multiple cruise times daily, with flexible departure times and whales sighted year-round. Don’t miss the 2019 gray whale migration!

Two-Hour Adventure Trips

$18 $16 per student

Dana Wharf has been providing Southern California students year-round marine life learning experience since 1971.

Teacher Resources

Access a list of whale and dolphin information designed to supplement classroom curriculum.

Top 10 reasons to book your students’ Whale & Dolphin Watching Field Trip with Dana Wharf:

  1. We are Orange County’s First Whale & Dolphin Watching Company. Operating out of Dana Point Harbor since 1971.
  2. Our expert captains are all certified by the American Cetacean Society.
  3. We are endorsed by artist and marine conservationist WYLAND.
  4. We spot marine wildlife year-round, including Gray, Humpback, Blue and Fin Whales to name a few. We also see 5 different types of dolphins year-round.
  5. Common dolphins, as well as sea lions, are regularly spotted on our trips and the dolphins put on a fantastic show.
  6. All of our boats are US Coast Guard approved and inspected.
  7. Whale & Dolphin Watching tickets are just $16 $14 each on trips Monday – Friday.
  8. Marine Mammal Guarantee ~ In the unlikely event you don’t see anything, you may come back again for free another time. (Children will get free tickets for a return visit with a paid parent.)
  9. Complimentary Parking (up to four hours).
  10. FREE thumb drive or DVD of our award-nominated short film “Sharing the Shores off Dana Point.” (1 free DVD per 20 or more.)

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Meet Our Educators


Don Hansen

Owner and Founder of Dana Wharf Whale Watching

Don Hansen’s love for the Gray Whale inspired thousands to come to Dana Point each year for the annual migration, the longest migration of any living mammal on earth! Today his children continue the tradition of offering Whale Watching from our large comfortable boats.


Todd Mansur

Lead Naturalist and School Coordinator

In 1992 Captain Todd 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 as a Board Member of the Gray Whale Foundation.


Nona Reimer

Science Education Advisor and Cetacean Naturalist

Nona is a graduate of UC Santa Barbara with a degree in environmental studies. She taught 31 years for Capistrano Unified School District as a Master Teacher and Science Mentor. She served four years as the Orange County CREEC (CA Regional Environmental Eduction) Coordinator for the CA Dept of Education. Twice Teacher of the Year, Orange County Science Teacher of the Year, she was recognized as the 2015 Earth Month Hero by the Wyland Foundation. She recently completed the American Cetacean Society Naturalist training program. Nona says, “Seeing the look on a child’s face when they see a whale for the first time never gets old!”