The Montauk Ocean’s Institute is a new installment at the lighthouse that brings the community together to educate and heighten the awareness of our ocean’s health. This small museum makes a big impact on all visitors. The exhibits, installations and programs change to continually strive to address the environmental complexities of our ocean.
There is no charge to enter the Oceans Institute since it is part of the Montauk Lighthouse (There is a fee for the lighthouse and parking. Montauk Lighthouse ). However, donations are happily accepted since they run on public support.
The Institute hours are from 11am to 5pm daily following the open schedule of the lighthouse.
We were very fortunate to have a personal tour with Greg Donohue, local lighthouse hero. There are really no words for his generosity and passion for not only the lighthouse, but the environment. We have fun implementing his “Take 3” policy every time we visit the ocean. Take three pieces of trash in addition to your own and dispose of it properly. It is sadly amazing how much garbage you can find when you walk along the beach. The pictures below show an installation of a whale’s tail filled with trash (plastics included) that were found on the local beaches. Plastic litter that floats into the ocean has been filling the stomachs of sea animals and leading to their death. Through accountability, discipline, and education we can all make a difference.
Family Adventure Rating ♥
♥- If you do this adventure while already at the Montauk Point Lighthouse. This is a terrific learning experience that can empower you to help.
♥♥♥♥♥- If you’re including it with the Lighthouse.
Cost– If you live in Suffolk County, this trip can be very low cost. You can pack your own food and drinks to minimize expenses. Parking, lighthouse tickets, and gas all factor in making this trip under $80 for a family of five. Don’t forget to pack essentials for the day so you don’t incur extra charges (Sunscreen, sunglasses, binoculars, fishing equipment, picnic blanket, cooler for food, etc.)
Parking & Transportation– Parking is close and there’s plenty of it. The lot is in the center of the Montauk Point State Park which allows easy access to each feature- lighthouse, beach access, hiking trails, eatery, bathrooms, playground). The lot can accommodate larger vehicles like RV’s. If you don’t have your own transportation, the LIRR goes to Montauk. (Public buses run primarily in the summer to Montauk.) There are private taxi, bus and limousine services that will bring you to your destination from as far as NYC or as close as the LIRR. Make sure to factor in traffic (Friday night rush hour, late morning beach goers) when planning your trip.
Location– Montauk is isolated at the tip of Long Island surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean so it can be a journey to get there. However, it is its isolation that makes it such a beautiful and relaxing location. You are close to a full day’s worth of activities if you take full advantage of the park.
Day Trip or Overnight– If you live within Suffolk County, this can be a day trip. Depending on how far you live, you may need to start super early and end late. We have left by 8am and returned home by midnight to make a really full day at Montauk (beach, shopping, food, friends). If you’re coming from further, it’s a good idea to stay overnight. There are many hotels, bungalows, campsites and other types of rentals that you can match with your budget. Places fill up fast in the summer, so plan ahead. Hither Hills State Park is close by and has an amazing camping facility on the beach, but it can fill up a year in advance.
Experience- If you enjoy nature, the ocean, and beaches then this is heaven for you. If you love the outdoors and have a conservation-type attitude, you will return again and again. For all others, there’s a significant amount of history to enjoy and some newly rediscovered science fiction for entertainment. Did you know that Netflix’s Stranger Things is based on a book, The Montauk Project, which is based on conspiracy theories surrounding Montauk’s very own Camp Hero (right next to the lighthouse)!
Combination- There is so much to do in Montauk that you can easily find enough to do to fill an entire day or even week. Exploring Montauk State Park can fill an entire day or weekend on its own. Additionally, there are plenty of beaches on the ocean and bay sides, shopping and food.