The ocean is a source of fascination for young and old. So why not encourage that love of exploration and adventure in your budding marine biologist (or baby pirate!) with some ocean movies for kids? From educational documentaries to
fantastical adventures, no matter where your child’s interest lies, we’ve got you covered.
There's a lot you can do to keep your child's love of the life aquatic going, from going tide-pooling to making a trip to your local library or aquarium. But many of these movies gives a look at underwater life that can't be achieved on our own, from deep dives to close encounters with sharks. We've also included more
fantastical underwater stories, full of mythical creatures and swashbuckling pirates! (I can't stress this enough: it would be irresponsible to exclude the pirates!) Because just as the ocean can inspire a deep love of environmentalism, science, and conservation, it can also inspire whimsy and imagination and that's pretty important, too.
Yes, there's lots of oceanic adventure out there, but this list of films (and documentary series, which we're absolutely counting as movies) is a good start!
Octonauts & the Great Barrier Reef
All your kid’s favorite characters from the popular series must find a way to hold back hungry swarms of coral-eating starfish to save this fragile environment in this fun new adventure.
Stream Octonauts & the Great Barrier Reef, rated TV-Y, on Netflix. Oceans
Underwater documentarians Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud dive deep into the worlds oceans to explore this incredible world that sustains our own.
Stream Oceans, rated G, on Disney+. Finding Nemo
When his son Nemo is taken by a well-meaning scuba diver, Marlon must make is way to Sydney Australia to find him.
Stream Finding Nemo, rated G, on Disney+. Puff: Wonders of the Reef Puff explores their world. Netflic
A baby pufferfish — Puff— travels through a microscopic world full of incredible creatures as he searches for a perfect home on the Great Barrier Reef, sharing a little-considered, tiny perspective from the world’s largest reef.
Stream Puff: Wonders of the Reef, rated TV-G, on Netflix. Muppet Treasure Island
The classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson meets the Muppets for this perfect adaptation. Jim Hawkins longs for adventure... and that’s just what finds him when he’s willed an old treasure map. He sets sail with Captain Smollett and a crew with a questionable past, especially the cook, Long John Silver...
Stream Muppet Treasure Island, rated G, on Disney+. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
It’s 1868, and there are rumors all throughout San Francisco that there are giant sea monsters lurking about. A courageous crew of explorers sets off to discover the nature of this creature only to come to a shocking discovery that takes them far below the ocean...
Stream 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, rated G, on Disney+. A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures
A turtle hatches on a beach in 1959, and over the course of the next 50 years, has a whirlwind of adventures, complicated by the tangible effects of climate change.
Stream A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures, rated G, on Amazon Prime. My Octopus Teacher
Documentarian and diver Craig Fosters explores the kelp forests off the coast of South Africa and forms an unlikely bond with an octopus, documenting her life over the course of a year.
Stream My Octopus Teacher, rated G, on Netflix. March of the Penguins
When you think about the ocean, birds probably don’t immediately come to mind, but penguins spend much of their lives in the frigid waters of Antarctica. This classic documentary examines the lives of these incredible birds throughout the year, from the “balmy” 33 degree summers and below freezing winters.
Stream March of the Penguins, rated G, on YouTube. The Little Mermaid
Ariel is a mermaid obsessed with the human world. When she falls head over heels with a human prince, she makes a bargain with a sea witch to be part of his world.
Stream The Little Mermaid, rated G, on Disney+. Journey to Shark Eden
National Geographic explorer Dr. Enric Sala and his team journey to remote islands near Tahiti to explore pristine coral reefs and the sharks that inhabit them.
Stream Journey to Shark Eden, rated G, on Disney+. Atlantis: The Lost Empire
It is 1914. Milo Thatch, an eccentric linguist and cartographer, joins up with a rag-tag crew of explorers to rediscover the lost civilization of Atlantis... and its inhabitants!
Stream Atlantis: The Lost Empire, rated PG, on Disney+. True Spirit True Spirit is based on a true story. Netflix
Jessica Watson may seem like an ordinary Australian teenager, but she has big plans: to become the youngest sailor to have travelled the world alone. But while intrepid, the 16 year old will face unbelievable challenge and danger in pursuit of her dream.
Stream True Spirit, rated TV-PG, on Netflix. Dolphin Tale
When 11-year old Sawyer discovers a young dolphin tangled in a fishing net on the beach, he helps bring her to a local aquarium where marine biologists name her Winter. When a tail amputation threatens Winter’s life, Sawyer helps bring a prosthetics expert in to help her swim again. Inspired by a true story.
Rent Dolphin Tale, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. Finding Dory
The forgetful Dory begins to remember her past and crosses the ocean to reunite with her parents, accomplishing what seemed impossible in her own, unique Dory way.
Stream Finding Dory, rated PG, on Disney+. Free Willy
A young boy forms a unique bond with an orca at an aquarium and is determined to release him back into the wild.
Rent Free Willy, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. Luca
A young sea monster name Luca, who appears human on dry land, leaves his ocean home for a magical summer in the Italian seaside village of Portorosso with his new friends Alberto and Giulia.
Stream Luca, rated PG, on Disney+. Moana
Moana is next in line to be chief of of Motunui... but she longs to know what lies beyond her beloved island. When a mysterious darkness threatens life in Motunui, Moana rediscovers her people’s wayfinding past and teams up with demi-god Maui to save the day.
Stream Moana, rated PG, on Disney+. Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina
Carl Safina, founder of the Blue Oceans Institute, documents hopeful stories from the depths of the ocean, highlighting the ways humans
have been able to effect change in these delicate ecosystems. Watch Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. Sea of Hope
Renowned marine biologist Sylvia Earle teams up with National Geographic photographers and teenage aquanauts on a year-long quest to make the case to President Obama to create Blue Parks – aquatic spaces dedicated to preservation – the same way the National Parks Service has made efforts to preserve nature on dry land.
Stream Sea of Hope, rated PG, on Disney+. The Secret of Roan Inish
When Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village on the western coast of Ireland, she learns of her family’s connection to the sea, and the seals that hold a special status among the villagers. Over time, she realizes that this family history might have something to do with her brother Jamie’s disappearance years earlier...
Stream The Secret of Roan Inish, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. Secrets of the Whales
This four-part documentary looks at various species of whales as never before, observing new and exciting things about their behaviors and unique cultures.
Watch Secrets of the Whales, rated PG, on Disney+. Song of the Sea
Ben doesn’t always like his sister, Saoirse. After all, their mother went away after she was born. But when he discovers that his mute sister is a selkie, a mythical creature that can turn into a seal, the family must go on a quest to who must find her voice and free her from the fairies who would have her live with them.
Rent Song of the Sea, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. The Sea Beast Things aren’t always what they seem... Netflix © 2022
With a sea full of terrifying beasts, no heroes are more celebrated than the monster hunters who destroy them. But when an over-eager stowaway joins the crew of famous hunter Jacob Holland, she brings a new perspective... and a discovery that just might change everything.
Stream The Sea Beast, rated TV-PG, on Netflix. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie
When Mr. Krabs is framed for stealing the crown of King Neptune, SpongeBob and Patrick set forth to clear his good name, leaving Bikini Bottom for the hustle and bustle of Shell City.
Stream The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, rated PG, on Amazon Prime. Aquaman
Once an advanced, terrestrial civilization, Atlantis is now an underwater empire ruled by King Orm. But when the power-hungry king goes too far, it’s up to his half brother, Aquaman, to stop him and save the ocean.
Stream Aquaman, rated PG-13, on HBO Max. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
When Will Turner’s beloved Elizabeth is taken captive by pirates, he teams up with the notorious Captain Jack Sparrow to rescue her. They knew it was a dangerous mission, but they weren’t planning on facing a ship crewed by undead pirates!
This movie is definitely for older or less sensitive buccaneers, but if they like this one, good news, there are three more you watch as well, all available on Disney+!
Stream Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, rated PG-13, on Disney+. In the Heart of the Sea
A whaling ship leaves Massachusetts on a two-year run in 1820 aboard the Essex. But when the ship is destroyed by a massive whale, the crew must struggle to survive. Based on the true events that inspired
... maybe don’t watch if you’re about to go on a cruise or something...
Stream In the Heart of the Sea, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime. Pacific Rim
Monstrous creatures called Kaiju have lived in the sea for a millennium, and bring chaos and war to dry land. Mankind has developed giant robots called Jaegers to fight these terrible creatures, but the Jaegers might not be enough this time...
Stream Pacific Rim, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime. Blackfish
Tilikum is an orca at Sea World who has taken the lives of three people. But in the wild, these violence behaviors have never been observed. This documentary explores the remarkable social emotional lives of these mysterious creatures and explores the ethics of keeping them in captivity.
Stream Blackfish, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime.
This article was originally published on
June 17, 2021