Winter classes offered at Padilla Bay nature center

Winter classes are being finalized at Breazeale Interpretive Center in the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Skagit County. Most classes are free; the popular ones have limited space and often fill quickly.

Classes for teens and older people in December through February include “Winter Birds from Upland to Bay to Skagit Flats,” from 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 13.

For tots age 3-5, the Mini Explorers have “Winter Habitat” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11; “Why Animals Don’t Wear Clothes” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Jan. 14 and 15; and “Rocks Up Close” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Feb. 11 and 12. Classes feature age-appropriate stories, games, art projects and science observation.

For ages 6-9, the Junior Ecologists programs feature “Round and Round” from 10:30 to noon Dec. 12 and 13, exploring how water, air and nutrients are changed and recycled in Padilla Bay; “Octopus” from 10:30 to noon Jan. 23 and 24; and “Swans” from 10:30 to noon Feb. 20 and 21. The programs feature beach excursions, science experiments, art projects and other studies.

Breazeale Center features natural history exhibits, displays and aquariums that highlight the creatures and ecology of the Salish Sea. It’s open and free (donations accepted) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Staff members are available seven days a week. The center has free parking, clean restrooms and an outdoor picnic area. Its trails offer access to the Padilla Bay shoreline and to upland areas favored by birders.

Register for classes online at padillabay.gov or by phone at 360-428-1558.