Many great places to visit along the Eclipse Path from Texas to New England

By Eileen Ogintz
Tribune Content Agency
Taking the Kids

Mark your calendars! There will be a rare solar eclipse on April 8. People plan to travel to see the moon’s shadow totally block out the sun — for less than five minutes in the afternoon.

In the U.S., the path of the eclipse will run in an arc from southwest Texas to northern Maine. You can see it if you are in the path on this NASA map. States from New York to Ohio, Kentucky to Tennessee, Oklahoma and parts of Canada and Mexico will also have good views. Even Alaska and Hawaii will boast a partial view of the total eclipse. Astronomy experts remind travelers to use eclipse glasses, special viewers, or welder’s glasses to protect their eyes. Never look directly into the sun.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the impact of the total solar eclipse to those flying should be limited to the kinds of delays on high-travel days. That might mean delays in landing and takeoffs. Airports in Texas, Vermont, Maine, Canada, New Hampshire, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky and Missouri will be primarily affected by the eclipse, the FAA said.

This eclipse is extra special because it can be seen by millions of people. The next total solar eclipse won’t be visible from North America until 2045. According to American Travelers Sentiment, 1 in five American travelers are planning to travel to see the eclipse.

Cities and towns are busy getting ready. This may be the chance to visit a place that hasn’t been on your travel list. Bloomington, Indiana, is preparing for what has been called, “the largest tourism event in Indiana history” and is looking forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to the Bloomington area to share the experience of this historic event on April 8.

During Indiana University’s Hoosier Cosmic Celebration at Memorial Stadium, William Shatner will narrate the eclipse, joined by artists and choreographers from IU. Shatner will also be joined by Grammy Award-nominated singer, songwriter and actress Janelle Monáe, and former NASA astronaut, Dr. Mae Jemison. Events will range from“ Drinking in the Dark” at the Butler Winery & Vineyard, film screenings across town, and eclipse viewing opportunities at the city’s parks.

At the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Illinois, there’s an after-hours, adults-only celebration of the Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition on Friday, March 15 from 6 to 10 p.m. The Black Creativity Experience: Art. Music. Party “will allow guests to explore the museum while enjoying bites, drinks, live music, live art, and more.” There will also be several science camps for kids centered around the eclipse, including National Robotics Week, and more!

Head to Texas Hill Country for the Texas Eclipse Festival, which is being billed as a combination science fair, Ted talk, experiential art museum and music festival with actor Adrian Grenier, astronaut Ron Garan, a Meow Wolf installation, and has invited 300+ performers and participants who hail from diverse backgrounds and fields of expertise, and embody the spirit of collaboration and unity. Together they will create an unparalleled convergence of captivating experiential art installations, space exploration, cutting-edge technology, futurism with pioneers in web3 and AI with holistic and movement workshops, psychedelic sessions and more.

The Intrepid Museum in New York City will “host a special celebration offering visitors the chance to watch the solar eclipse from the dramatic setting of the flight deck of the legendary aircraft carrier, USS Intrepid on Monday, April 8.” Visit to register.

Astronauts from every spaceflight provider, including NASA, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin, will be joining the Texas Eclipse while the music lineup will blend ancient traditions with contemporary tunes.

Additionally, the festival will showcase 12 different global collaborators – Symbiosis (California), Re:birth (Japan), Strawberry Fields (Australia), Earth Frequency are among those curating immersive art, workshops, yoga, kids and family programming, wellness retreat experiences, and a bush spa.

At the same time, Grapevine, Texas, promises to give viewers“ an unmatched view” of the eclipse. Families can gather in Grapevine parks, the Historic Main Street District or Historic Nash Farm to share the experience as music plays and galactic characters roam the streets. Local eateries are offering space-themed food and drinks (think The Blackout Sandwich at Weinberger’s Deli and a Blackout Sour at Harvest Hall and a Solar Eclipse Shake at Son of a Butcher. Visitors will even get to experience a hands-on, craft-making session where they will learn to make a pinhole camera while enjoying party games and eclipse stories.

Looking Up At The Solar Eclipse

There is even a VIP experience with front-row access at Peace Plaza complete with a swag bag.

The HomeExchange Collection offers a selection of luxury homes on the eclipse path for travelers who want to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime event. Check out Campspot’s specific eclipse page. Campspot is a leading booking site for private campgrounds.

Mansfield, Ohio, expects thousands of visitors as the first total solar eclipse covers Ohio in 208 years. Richland County Fairgrounds will be transformed into a massive OHclipse Mansfield viewing party with seating for 2,500 people, 200 campsites and three days packed with events and activities. A massive marketplace of local vendors and artists, indoor kids play area, souvenir eclipse glasses, food trucks, half a dozen live bands and some of the best viewing in the U.S. will take place on 100 acres with dozens of buildings and shelters. (Admission is $5 on Friday, $20 Saturday and Monday, and $10 on Sunday. Parking is $20. A four-night tent and RV Camping Package is $500. The two-night package is $400.

Another good viewing bet is Malabar Farm State Park, just 10 miles from downtown Mansfield and with 900 acres of wide-open farmland.

Genesee Country Village & Museum, in Mumford, N.Y., about 25 minutes from Rochester, is hosting Solar Spectacle event: a four-day festival (Friday, April 5 to Monday, April 8), culminating in a total solar eclipse over its 19th-century Historic Village on Monday, April 8.

(Check out the NASA Kids page with lots of activities from building your own solar system to coloring books to even a solar system cookbook (Gummy Greenhouse Gases, perhaps?) San Francisco’s Exploratorium has also created some activities to give kids what they need to know about viewing and understanding eclipses. Check what programs and online activities your local science museum might be offering.

And don’t forget your special eclipse glasses.

Viewing any part of the sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury, NASA warns. When watching an annular solar eclipse directly with your eyes, you must look through safe solar viewing glasses (“eclipse glasses”) or a safe handheld solar viewer at all times.

Eclipse glasses are NOT regular sunglasses; regular sunglasses, no matter how dark, are not safe for viewing the sun. Safe solar viewers are thousands of times darker and must comply with the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

(NASA says if you don’t have eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, you can use an indirect viewing method, which does not involve looking directly at the sun. One way is to use a pinhole projector, which has a small opening (for example, a hole punched in an index card) and projects an image of the sun onto a nearby surface. With the sun at your back, you can then safely view the projected image. Do NOT look at the sun through the pinhole!)

Be safe out there!

(For more Taking the Kids, visit and also follow TakingTheKids on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments. The fourth edition of The Kid’s Guide to New York City and the third edition of The Kid’s Guide to Washington D.C. are the latest in a series of 14 books for kid travelers published by Eileen.)

©2024 Eileen Ogintz. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.