Total Solar Eclipse Family Viewing Parties

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Find a local family festivity celebrating the once-in-a-lifetime celestial phenomenon on Monday, Aug. 21.

If you’re not aware that a total solar eclipse is happening on Monday, Aug. 21, you must be living under a rock somewhere on a distant planet. Seriously.

Dubbed “The Great American Solar Eclipse,” it’s the first total solar eclipse to sweep the United States coast to coast since 1918. The last time Nashville was in the path of totality was 1478! The path of totality is 70 miles wide, and it touches no land outside the United States. Nashville is the largest city within the eclipse’s path. Talk about being the IT city!

The partial eclipse phase starts at 11:59 a.m., and the total eclipse occurs at 1:27 p.m.

Middle Tennessee boasts tons of viewing parties. We’ve hand picked the family-friendliest ones that include activities and other fun happenings. Further below, find safe viewing info.

DAVIDSON COUNTY

ADVENTURE SCIENCE CENTER
800 Fort Negley Blvd., Nashville
615-862-5160 • adventuresci.org/eclipse
Aug. 19: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Aug. 20: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Aug. 21: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Indoor Festival cost (per day): $29 adults, $49 age 2 – 12
Outdoor activities are FREE
The ticketed indoor festival includes exploration of Nature Unleashed, hands-on science activities and demonstrations, discussions and special guest speakers. Kids can also learn about 3D printing and other technology in the Innovation Incubator and see ECLIPSE: The Sun Revealed in Sudekum Planetarium.

The outdoor festival on Monday is free. It includes a day full of activities, including Sci-Fi Science, Tech of Tomorrow, Music City Science, Journey to Space and BioWorld prior to the main event.

BELMONT UNIVERSITY
1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville
belmont.edu/solareclipse
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. — REGISTRATION REQUIRED
FREE
High school students (perfect for homeschoolers!) can experiences presentations from the psychology and physics departments on solar eclipses and activities of the moon. Lunch is provided along with view glasses.

BICENTENNIAL CAPITOL MALL STATE PARK
600 James Robertson Pkwy., Nashville
italianlights.org
10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
FREE
Enjoy the festivities of the Italian Lights Festival’s final day, which includes children’s activities. The festival includes a special viewing party for the eclipse.

CHEEKWOOD
1200 Forrest Park Drive, Nashville
615-356-8000 • cheekwood.org
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
$6 – $10
Normally closed on Mondays, Cheekwood’s open for the celestial sensation, complete with live music, food trucks, cash bars and protective eyewear.

DAVE & BUSTER’S AT OPRY MILLS
540 Opry Mills Drive, Nashville
615-970-3807 • facebook.com
12 – 3 p.m.
$25
A lunch buffet, $10 game card, unlimited video play and souvenir eclipse glasses, plus door prizes.

FIRST TENNESSEE PARK
19 Junior Gilliam Way, Nashville
615-690-4487 • nashvillesounds.com
10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.
$5
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry will welcome the crowd at 11 a.m. followed by music from Nashville Symphony, science demonstrations with Adventure Science Center staff and eclipse viewing with special solar glasses. The Nashville Sounds play the Iowa Cubs at 4:05 p.m. ($10 – $60). While the eclipse viewing party by itself is free, there is a $25 Commemorative Package through Ticketmaster that includes the viewing party, Sounds game ticket and eclipse-themed T-shirt.

FONTANEL
4125 Whites Creek Pike, Nashville
615-724-1600 • fontanel.com
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
FREE
Food, drinks, lawn games and free viewing glasses.

FRIST CENTER
919 Broadway, Nashville
615-244-3340 • fristcenter.org
10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
FREE
View the big event from the Frist’s Turner Courtyard. Viewing glasses available to purchase for $1. Show your glasses (bought at the Frist or bring your own) to the Visitor Services Desk to receive free admission to the Frist’s galleries on Monday, Aug. 21 only.

GENERAL JACKSON SHOWBOAT
2812 Opryland Drive, Nashville
615-458-3900 • generaljackson.com
11:15 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
$45 – $100 adults, $30 – $76 ages 4 – 11
Experience the eclipse while cruising the Cumberland River. Your ticket can include lunch and a Broadway-style show, too.

GRAND OLE OPRY TOTAL ECLIPSE PLAZA PARTY
2804 Opryland Drive, Nashville
800-733-6779 • opry.com/eclipse
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
FREE
Live music on the Opry Plaza plus commemorative gifts, eclipse glasses, barbecue, eclipse-themed cocktails and more. The Opry Eclipse Concert on Sunday night featuring Little Big Town, Wynonna and Darius Rucker is SOLD OUT.

GREEN DOOR GOURMET
7007 River Road Pike, Nashville
615-942-7169 • greendoorgourmet.com
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$5
Live music, food trucks, lawn games and kids’ educational activities.

HADLEY PARK
1037 28th Ave. N., Nashville
tnactivists.com
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$10 suggested donation
The Tennessee Activist Coalition, Nashville Peace and Justice, New Earth Matters TN and other organizations present live music, perofrming artists and speakers with messages of peace, inclusion, equality and justice.

THE HERMITAGE
4580 Rachel’s Lane, Nashville
615-889-2941 • thehermitage.com
8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.
FREE
The Hermitage hosts a Solar Eclipse Tailgate on a first-come, first served basis (you can purchase reserved VIP spots for $100 that include admission to the mansion and solar glasses) that is free. There will be food trucks, and the first 2,000 guests get free glasses. A child’s play area features historical games, science activities and crafts, including make-your-own eclipse viewing glasses. Attendees receive an admission discount to the mansion.

HOLIDAY INN VANDERBILT
2613 West End Ave., Nashville
615-327-4707 • holidayinn.com/smilesahead
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
FREE
Scholastic characters Clifford the Big Red Dog and Geronimo Stilton will be on site to participate in space-themed crafts, story time and photo ops with kids prior to the eclipse. Viewing glasses provided.

LANE MOTOR MUSEUM
702 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville
615-742-7445 • lanemotormuseum.org
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
$6 adults, $3 ages 6 – 17, free ages 5 & younger
Adults get half-price admission on Eclipse Day, and the first 150 guests get free viewing glasses.

NASHVILLE ZOO
3777 Nolensville Road, Nashville
615-833-1534 • nashvillezoo.org
12 – 2 p.m.
$16 adults, $11 ages 2 – 12
Catch the eclipse and bring your cameras to help observe and record animal behavior during the big event. The first 5,000 guests receive free safety glasses.

SHELBY BOTTOMS NATURE CENTER
1900 Davidson St., Nashville
615-862-8539 • nashville.gov/parks
11:58 a.m. – 2:54 p.m. — REGISTRATION REQUIRED
FREE
There will be safety glasses and a few activities on tap. Plus, a guided viewing opportunity. Bring picnic baskets and blankets for lunch.

TREVECCA NAZARENE UNIVERSITY
333 Murfreesboro Road, Nashville
615-248-1200 • trevecca.edu/solarfest
11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
FREE
Learn the science behind the eclipse with the school’s astronomers during the SolarFest event. There will also be food trucks, games, live music and free viewing glasses (while supplies last). Plus, see real-time data and images from solar telescopes and solar radio telescopes.

Find more events in Davidson County, including festive adults-only outings HERE.

RUTHERFORD COUNTY

DISCOVERY CENTER
502 S.E. Broad St., Murfreesboro
615-890-2300 • explorethedc.org
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
$8
Special activities include viewing stations, eclipse education activities, a preview of the Tennessee STEAM Festival, safe-viewing tips and more.

LINEBAUGH LIBRARY
105 W. Vine St., Murfreesboro
615-893-4131 • linebaugh.org
1 – 2 p.m.
FREE
Ms. Mindy and Ms. Laura lead the viewing event on the city plaza that includes viewing glasses while supplies last.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY
1301 E. Main St., Murfreesboro
mtsu.edu/eclipse
11 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.

FREE
Live music by student bands on the outdoor lawn in front of the new science building with multiple activities, including presentations from professors. Viewing glasses available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last.

SIEGEL PARK
515 Cherry Lane, Murfreesboro
615-217-3017 • murfreesborotn.gov/parks
1 – 2 p.m.
FREE
Solar viewing glasses available on a first-come, first served basis.

SMYRNA OUTDOOR ADVENTURE CENTER
100 Sam Ridley Pkwy. E., Smyrna
townofsmyrna.org
12 – 2 p.m.
FREE
Family activities will take place prior to the eclipse, and free solar viewing glasses will be given to the first 50 families in attendance.

STONES RIVER NATIONAL BATTLEFIELD
1563 N. Thompson Lane, Murfreesboro
615-893-9501 • facebook.com
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
FREE
Participate in a variety of activities ranging from astronomical to historical, including presentations by park rangers. Free glasses to the first 1,500 in attendance.

SUMNER COUNTY

MEMORIAL PARK
151 E. Main St., Hendersonville
eventbrite.com
11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. — REGISTRATION REQUIRED
FREE
Ward 2 Aldermen Pat Campbell & Scott Sprouse hosts this viewing party that includes free safety glasses and hot dog lunches for everyone who registers.

MOSS-WRIGHT PARK
705 Caldwell Drive, Goodlettsville
615-851-2241 • goodlettsvilleparks.com
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
FREE
Live music, food trucks, inflatables, eclipse viewing and more. There’s also a kick-off party in the park on Sunday from 5 – 7 p.m. with music and food trucks.

TRIPLE CREEK PARK
Champion Drive, Gallatin
888-301-7886 • eventbrite.com
9 a.m. – 3 p.m. — REGISTRATION REQUIRED
FREE
Activities include group yoga, live music and eclipse viewing. Free glasses available while supplies last.

VOLUNTEER PARK COMMUNITY COLLEGE
1480 Nashville Pike, Gallatin
615-452-8600 • eventbrite.com
9 a.m. – 3 p.m. — REGISTRATION REQUIRED
FREE
Education presentations, live video viewing of the eclipse in other parts of the country, live narrating during totality, science exhibits for kids and more.  Free viewing glasses while supplies last.

WHITE HOUSE SOCCER COMPLEX
2784 Hwy. 76, White House
615-672-3937 • facebook.com
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
$10 parking fee
Live feeds from NASA, food trucks, music, education stations and more.

Find more events in outerlying Sumner County spots HERE.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY

OWL’S HILL NATURE SANCTUARY
545 Beech Creek Road, Brentwood
615-370-4672 • owlshill.org
11 a.m. – 4 p.m. — REGISTRATION REQUIRED
FREE
Bring a picnic to view the eclipse at Owl’s Hill Meadow. Free viewing glasses to the first 40 registrants.

TIMBERLAND PARK
5001 Natchez Trace Pkwy., Franklin (mile marker 437.2)
615-790-5719 • wcparksandrec.com
12 – 2 p.m.
FREE
The party starts with guided hikes, a bounce house, snow cones, moon rock painting and more.

WILSON COUNTY

CHARLIE DANIELS PARK
1075 Charlie Daniels Pkwy., Mt. Juliet
615-758-6522 • mtjuliet-tn.org
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
FREE
Start off with field day activities, inflatables and live entertainment. Viewing glasses are $2. There will also be $22 “survival kits” for sale that include the glasses, a T-shirt, Koozie, flying disc and drawstring bag.

WILSON COUNTY FAIR SOLAR ECLIPSE EVENT
945 E. Baddour Pkwy., Lebanon
615-443-2626 • wilsoncountyfair.net
Fair opens at 10 a.m.
$10 advance/$12 gate adults, $6 ages 6 – 12, free ages 5 & younger
Enjoy all the fun of the fair prior to the eclipse. Viewing takes place at the motorsports area, and glasses are provided at admission while supplies last.

STATE PARKS

Several Tennessee State Parks host viewing parties. Find those activities HERE.

SAFE VIEWING TIPS

Never look directly at the sun, even during an eclipse. Direct sunlight on the retina will damage it, often permanently.

For direct viewing, you’ll need special Solar Filter Glasses, and you’ll want to make sure they are certified. A recent NASA report says there are unsafe eclipse glasses on the market, so be sure you get the right ones for yourself and your kids.

NASA reports there are five manufacturers that uphold the international standards for safe solar eclipse viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers.

Locally, Adventure Science Center offers safe viewing tips for direct and indirect viewing.

 

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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