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Winter classes, programs at Padilla Bay nature center

Visitors examine aquariums in the eelgrass exhibit at Breazeale Interpretive Center.
Visitors examine aquariums in the eelgrass exhibit at Breazeale Interpretive Center. rmittendorf@bhamherald.com

Padilla Bay’s nature center is taking reservations for its winter classes and activities for children, teens and adults.

Events at Breazeale Interpretive Center are mostly free, and focus on the environment and ecology of coastal Skagit County and the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Many of the programs are highly popular and limited in size.

Online registration is unavailable temporarily. To register, call 360-428-1558 or send email to alex@padillabay.gov, including name(s) of participants, title, date and time of class, phone number and email address. Other information is available at padillabay.gov, including a tides table, maps of local trails, a birding guide and a Kids Page.

A storytime featuring Eric Carle’s “A House for Hermit Crab” is at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5.

Breazeale Interpretive Center is a nature center and natural history museum with small aquariums and interactive displays at 10441 Bayview Edison Road in the village of Bay View, just north of Bay View State Park. Several new exhibits focus on climate change and how it affects the local environment.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, although staff members are available daily. It’s closed Christmas, New Year’s and state holidays. Admission is free; donations are accepted. The center has free parking, clean restrooms and beach access via a trail.

▪  A storytime program featuring Eric Carle’s “A House for Hermit Crab” reading and coloring activity for children is at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, in the Breazeale Interpretive Center’s Hands-On Room. Afterward, examine live hermit crabs under a miscroscope and see them in the center’s aquariums. No registration required.

▪  Mini Explorer programs for children age 3 to 5 include “Wrack and Wreath” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 16 and 17; “Mammals” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Jan. 13 and 14; and “Songs and Stories” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Feb. 10 and 11.

An aquarium tour and fish feeding is free at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 30. No registration is required.

▪ For Junior Ecologists age 6 to 9, programs are “Wrack and Wreath” at 10:30 a.m. and noon Dec. 18 and 19; “Wild About Water” at 10:30 a.m. and noon Jan. 22 and 23; and “Marine Mammals” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Feb. 19 and 20.

▪  Presentations and lectures for adults (and older children) include “Winter Botany” from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5; “Introduction to the Hawks of Skagit” from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 2; and “Winter Birding” from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Jan. 9, and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21.

▪ “Meet the Stars — and Fish — and — Snails” offers an in-depth look at the animals in Breazeale’s fish tanks at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21. Fish and other creatures include sea stars, nudibranchs, sea cucumbers, anemones, pipefish, sculpins and Pacific red octopuses.

▪ A quarterly aquarium tour and fish feeding takes visitors behind the scenes of the aquariums at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 30. No registration is required.

▪ A five-week “Raptor Class” with local expert Bud Anderson offers detailed study of the area’s stunning winter population of hawks, eagles, falcons and harriers. Cost is $175 for the course, which meets from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays starting Jan. 5 with a Saturday field trip.

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