You don’t have to be an astronomy nerd, like myself, to have heard about the huge cosmic event happening right here in Nashville on August 21st. The Total Solar Eclipse will be the first to touch the Lower 48 since 1979! The last time Nashville, specifically, saw a Total Solar Eclipse? You’ll have to travel back in time to the year 1478. This is definitely one of those “once in a lifetime” opportunities that you won’t want to miss.
Luckily, there are a multitude of events going on around town to provide you and your family the perfect viewing location for the eclipse, along with special programming and activities to make this a truly memorable experience. We expect this list of events to continue growing between now and August. Be sure to check back often, as we’ll update the article when new events are announced.
Tennessee State Parks
Too many events to mention! There’s an excellent, easy to navigate list at the link provided above. Some parks are hosting live music, special camping packages, 5K races, and other fun activities.
When: Aug. 19-21, 9-5
Cost: Indoor Activities require ticket purchase. Outdoor activities are free.
Ticket Prices: 13+ $49, 2-12 $29, Family of 2 adults and 2 kids $101.40, Group of 4 adults $127.40
- Nature Unleashed traveling exhibit
- ASC Educator-led Science Live! experiments/activities
- Special guest speakers and presentations
- 3D printing classes
- Back to back showings of Eclipse: The Sun Revealed inside the planetarium
- Over 100 booths of interactive science and technology activities.
Themed areas include:
- “Sci-Fi Science”
From mobile phones to virtual reality, learn about real-life innovations inspired by movies, TV, and books.
- “Tech of Tomorrow”
Discover futuristic gadgets, gizmos, and giant machines and the science that will make them possible.
- “Music City Science”
Check out the science used to shape sound and instruments, make music, and learn to record it.”
- “Journey to Space”
Learn to be a spaceman or woman from real astronauts, build a rocket, and watch rocket teams race.”
Explore biotechnology from nanotech to ferrafluids and build some life-size DNA.”
Other outdoor activities include: “Main Stage featuring Live Music Performances | Small Demo Stages | Solar Telescope Viewing Stations | Science-Themed Games, Contests, and Prizes | Food Trucks | Splash Pad | and so much more…”
Special addition on Aug. 21st:
Giant screen showing NASA’s broadcast of the eclipse from space
Richland Park Branch Special Preschool Story Time
When: Aug. 21st, 10:30-11:30am
What is this thing called an eclipse and should I be afraid? We’ll talk and read stories about the eclipse to find out what’s going to happen later today! For children ages 2-6.
Richland Park Branch Viewing Party
When: Aug. 21st, 12:45-2:45pm
Join us to learn about, prepare for, and view the total solar eclipse. At Richland Park, the totality will occur between 1:27 and 1:30 p.m. Adults, teens, and families are all welcome.
Thompson Ln. Branch Viewing Party
When: Aug. 21st, 1-2pm
Celebrate the total solar eclipse of 2017 with us! All ages are welcome.
When: Aug. 21, 10-6
Location: Bicentennial Mall
The Festival has been designated as an official NASA viewing location for the 2017 Great American Eclipse in Nashville. NASA scientists and educators will be at the festival all weekend preparing for the big countdown on Monday afternoon.
When: Aug 21, 8:30 – 4
From The Hermitage website:
Don’t miss out on the largest solar eclipse event ever to hit Nashville! To commemorate this historic event, we are hosting a FREE Solar Eclipse Tailgate on the grounds of The Hermitage. Guests are invited to pack their vehicles and park in the fields in front of The Hermitage’s entrance gate, which will be prime viewing spots for this celestial event. The first 2,000 guests will get a FREE pair of Solar Eclipse Glasses, courtesy of Deloitte. In addition to your viewing spot, a child’s play area will be set up including historical games, science activities, and a craft table to make their own solar eclipse glasses!
The partial eclipse will begin at 11:59am in Hermitage and the total eclipse will happen at 1:28pm. Space is first-come first-serve and the field will open at 8:30 am, so we recommend arriving early. It will be an open field to maximize viewing, so take heat precautions and bring plenty of water. Pop-up tents are prohibited, but personal umbrellas are allowed.
Food trucks are invited to attend, we will update our website as we get vendors confirmed closer to the date. Guests are welcome to bring their own food and beverages to the tailgate area. Restrooms will be available nearby.
All guests to The Hermitage that day will be offered a special discount on general admission:
$11.00 High school and college students
$8.00 Students through 8th grade
Kids 5 and under FREE
Whether you live down the street or across the country, this is a great opportunity to experience history in many forms at The Hermitage!
Reserved Parking Passes:
VIP parking spaces are available to reserve for this event. These spaces will be placed closest to The Hermitage entrance. Your VIP Parking will also include 2 adult admission passes to The Hermitage. Additional general admission tickets can be purchased separately for a discount at the ticket office. Purchase your VIP Parking pass here.
Once your pass is purchased, you will receive an email confirming your reservation and a VIP Parking Pass to print and place on the dashboard of your vehicle.
When: Aug. 21, 10-5
Cost: Half price admission to the museum for adults 18+, $6. Admission for Children 6+, $3. Ages 5 and under are FREE.
FREE pair of eclipse viewing glasses for the first 150 guests.
From the zoo website:
Do animals behave differently when experiencing a total solar eclipse? That’s what Nashville Zoo intends to find out a year from now, Aug. 21, 2017 when much of Middle Tennessee will witness an event that last took place in this area more than 150 years ago. To accomplish this, Zoo officials are asking guests to observe and record while experiencing the event.
“There is not a lot of documented observation of animal behavior during a solar eclipse,” says Chad Fifer, Nashville Zoo’s education director. “We’ve read that some animals begin preparing for sleep, some nocturnal animals begin waking up, and others are not affected at all. We are very interested in discovering what our animals will do.”
For Nashville, the solar eclipse will begin at roughly noon on Aug. 21, 2017 and reach totality about an hour and half later. Totality (when the moon is completely covering the sun) will last about 1.5 minutes before the sun begins to shine again. During this time, Nashville Zoo guests will be encouraged to record animal behaviors through various means including photos, video and written observation. The Zoo will provide methods of gathering all data to share with future research.
“This is a huge learning opportunity for science classrooms and home-school students in our area,” says Fifer. “We will be offering tips on observing animals and our keepers will also be at exhibits during the eclipse to answer questions and point out atypical behaviors.”
When: Aug 21, 11 – 4
Cost: FREE for members. 18+ $20, 3+ $13, 2 and under FREE
Typically closed to the public on Mondays, Cheekwood will open its doors from 11am – 4pm for the event, which will feature live music, food trucks, cash bars and protective eyewear for the viewing. The eclipse is set to occur at 1:25pm.
Just $9.99 plus tax per person | Season Pass Holders Free
FREE Solar Eclipse Glasses to First 1,000 Guests
Nashville Shores is the place to be on Monday, August 21, 2017 when a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event will occur: a total solar eclipse. Enjoy this historic event while floating in the wavepool.
The wavepool will be open from 12 pm to 4 pm. Admission is just $9.99 plus tax per person and season pass holders are free. The first 1,000 guests will receive FREE solar eclipse glasses.
Please Note: The wavepool is the only attraction that will be open.
When: Aug 21, 12 – 3
Dave & Buster’s Music City ECLIPSE Watch Party
$25 per person (including tax and gratuity)
Package includes a lunch buffet with a $10 game card with unlimited video/simulator play PLUS souvenir ECLIPSE viewing glasses. We will also be giving away DOOR PRIZES!
Call 615.970.3807 for tickets!
When: Aug 21, 10 – 5:30
The Frist Center invites you to join us in the Turner Courtyard or on our front porch (on Broadway) to observe the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.
We will also be selling the viewing glasses needed to protect your eyes in the Frist Center Gift Shop. Show your glasses (whether purchased here or somewhere else) at our visitor services desk and receive FREE admission to our galleries on this day.
PLEASE NOTE: The Frist Center galleries, Martin ArtQuest, the gift shop, and café will be closed from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
When: Aug 21, 11:30 – 3
Where: The Great Lawn, situated between Greathouse Science Building and Waggoner Library
When the sky goes dark over Nashville on August 21, Trevecca will mark the first total eclipse over Tennessee in more than 500 years with a once-in-a-lifetime family friendly celebration picnic.
As the largest city wholly within the path of the eclipse, Nashville will be a prime viewing location for the solar event, for scientists and citizens alike. So, mark your calendars to join us for SolarFest on Trevecca’s Great Lawn—the perfect viewing location for you and your family.
Not only will you have a clear view of the sky and comfortable place to sit, but Trevecca will supply viewing glasses and more to make sure you don’t miss a moment of the total eclipse.
At SolarFest, you’ll get the opportunity to learn about the science behind the eclipse. Astronomers, Trevecca faculty members and student researchers will be on hand to answer questions, and you’ll get to see real-time data and images from Trevecca’s solar radio telescope and solar telescopes.
In addition, Dr. Matthew Huddleston, professor of physics, and his students also plan to launch a stratospheric research balloon between 12:30 and 1 p.m., with real-time tracking and data on display during SolarFest.
In addition to learning about all the science behind the once-in-a-lifetime total eclipse, when the moon completely overshadows the sun, SolarFest is also a family friendly picnic. The event will include food trucks, live music, games and free ice cream.
When: Aug 21, 11 – 3
Fun field day activities, Inflatables, live entertainment, food trucks, & vendors! Join millions as we watch a historical moment that comes once in a lifetime. Special eyewear must be worn to view the eclipse.
You can purchase a “Survival Kit” for $22 which includes:
- Flying Disc
- Drawstring Bag
Crystal was born and raised, and now raising a family of her own in Middle Tennessee. She currently lives in Murfreesboro with her husband Glenn, and their three children; Hunter, Grayson, and Hailey. They are an unschooling family, meaning they spend lots and lots of time out and about exploring all that this area has to offer!