The Science Museum Is Hosting a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party Aug. 21


Things are going to get weird on Aug. 21.
  • Things are going to get weird on Aug. 21.

Who's excited for the solar eclipse on Aug. 21?

Don't be the Debbie Downer who bemoans that only 86 percent of the sun will be blocked from our vantage point here in Richmond. It's still going to be cool, fool.

And don't you think everyone could use a little break from politics as usual, horrific news posts about shootings or fair ride crashes, and online vitriol gone wild? Just a day where people go outside as if in a communal trance, holds hands and stare intensely into the sky (with appropriate eyewear, of course!) Disclaimer: Don't ever look directly at the hot thing up there.

The Science Museum of Virginia is stoked, too. They're holding a large-scale viewing party on their front lawn from noon to 4 p.m. The big event will include "sun, moon and star-themed activities" as well as food and drinks, free eclipse glasses and t-shirts for the first 500 guests, according to a press release.

“The solar eclipse gives us a rare glimpse into the workings of our solar system, which is a real reason to throw a party,” notes Elizabeth Voelkel, director of guest operations and inspiration.

Word, Elizabeth. Seriously, some of us lie awake at night hoping the aliens get here sooner than later. That'll be a good party, too.

Last time something like this happened was in 1994. However, if you miss this one, don't blow a gasket: You only have to wait another 7 years until April 8, 2024.

Here's more from the press release:

The eclipse will begin to be visible in Richmond at 1:17 p.m. By 2:45 p.m., almost 86 percent of the sun will be blocked. Things will return to normal by 4:05 p.m. To avoid eye damage, eclipse viewing glasses should be worn while viewing the eclipse.

Museum activities will begin at noon and will take place both inside and outside the Museum. Guests can enjoy several interactive activities such as creating an Earth, moon and sun model to learn how eclipses work; a mobile of the Earth, moon and sun; a star map to identify constellations; or a star clock, which can help tell time using the constellations’ positions. Guests can also enjoy eclipse-themed Cosmic Expeditions in the Dome Theatre throughout the day.

Local food trucks Cheezilla, King of Pops and Intergalactic Tacos will be onsite, and food and drinks – including special eclipse-themed craft beers – will be available for purchase at the Museum’s Periodic Table Café.

Outdoor activities are free. Museum admission is required for indoor activities. The first 500 guests will receive free eclipse viewing glasses and an eclipse t-shirt with paid Museum admission. For more information, please call 804.864.1400 or visit

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