Padilla Bay aquariums glow during special nighttime event


It'll be a night at the museum of sorts this weekend with a special celebration among the darkened aquariums at the Padilla Bay nature center on the Skagit County shore near Bay View.

Visitors will see marine bioluminescence and luminaries - lighted art objects - as well as experience the aquarium displays during a free evening event from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Breazeale Interpretive Center on the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 10441 Bay View-Edison Road.

Richelle Potter, with the Skagit Convservation Education Alliance, said the program is the cumination of art and science classes that were held over the summer, including recent classes on making lighted depictions of sea creatures.

"It should be very fun, very educational and very pretty," Potter said. "People can see fine art luminaries. These aren't just candles in a paper bag. We use LED lights now."

She said example of the students' creations are jellyfish, leafy sea dragons, diatoms, and some objects that visitors will be encouraged to guess at.

In addition, visitors can see the center's new red octopus and phosphorescent plankton.

"We think it will flash for us at the right time. It's dark enough inside," Potter said.

Trained volunteer docents will be on hand to answer questions, she said.

To get to the Breazeale Center, take Interstate 5 to exit 231 west on Josh Wilson Road, turning right after about 6 miles onto Bay View-Edison Road. Parking is free and the center features clean restrooms. Normal hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, except state holidays. For more information, call 360-428-1558 or go to


Firefighters will roll up the apparatus bay doors for open houses from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at stations around Bellingham in an event linked to National Fire Prevention Week this week.

Bellingham Fire Department Assistant Chief Bill Newbold said he hopes local residents will learn about firehouse life and about fire safety.

"It's been awhile since we've done something like this, Newbold said. "It's going to be informal, the bay doors will be open and the apparatus will be there. We're hoping people will walk down and see the firehouse, meet the firefighters, and say hi."

He said there will be light refreshments and a display about kitchen fires, which are the most common type of residential fires.

Stations will be staffed "barring any significant calls," and signs at the stations will explain that firefighters might need to leave at a moment's notice. If a station is vacant, Newbold urged visitors to wait for firefighters to return from calls, which usually take less than an hour.

"Individual crews will conduct tours depending on the crowd," Newbold said. "The feeling that 'This is my firehouse,' that's what I want to capture."

Each of the Fire Department's six stations has an ambulance and an engine - a firefighting truck that carries tools and equipment plus water, hoses and a pump. Other stations house a variety of apparatus for specialized firefighting operations.

In addition to ambulances and engines, Station 1, at1800 Broadway near Dupont Street, has a variety of command vehicles for supervisory officers.

Station 2, 1590 Harris Ave. at 16th Street, also has an aerial ladder truck, as does Station 6, at 4060 Deemer Road near Bakerview Road.

Stations with engines and ambulances are Station 3, at 1111 Indian St. near Chestnut Street; Station 4, at 2306 Yew St. near Alabama Street; and Station 5, at 3314 Northwest Ave.

For more information about the Bellingham Fire Department, including maps to the stations and vintage fire photos, go to

Robert Mittendorf is a Herald copy editor and page designer. Contact him at 360-756-2805 or at

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