While some parts of the St. Louis region will be able to view the full eclipse, in other areas it will only be visible as a partial eclipse. Learn more about the Great American Eclipse.
Specialized eclipse glasses will be required to view the eclipse safely, as looking at the sun directly, even during an eclipse, can cause permanent eye damage. St. Louis Children's Hospital recently shared tips for eye safety during the eclipse, including directions for making viewing glasses.
According to St. Louis County Parks, it is the St. Louis region's first total solar eclipse in more than 400 years. St. Louis County Parks will host a free public viewing event at Jefferson Barracks Park, where the moon's shadow will begin its pass over the sun at 11:49 a.m., with the total eclipse occurring from 1:17-1:19 p.m.. St. Louis County Library will host watch parties at its headquarters, as well as at the Eureka Hills, Oak Bend, Grand Glaize, Cliff Cave, Grant's View, Samuel C. Sachs and Weber Road branches. Times vary; visit slcl.org for details.
Grant's Farm, which is in the path of totality, is teaming up with the National Park Service to host a viewing event from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the main guest parking lot. Note that only the parking lot will be open for the event; the cost to park is $12. The first 1,500 guests will receive free viewing glasses. The event will feature food trucks, a DJ and a countdown to the eclipse.
The Missouri Botanical Garden's family of attractions will be in the path of eclipse viewing. Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit is expected to be one of the best places to view the eclipse in the region, with wide open prairie and about 2 minutes 26 seconds of totality, close to the maximum time. Parking will be first-come, first-served, with a $20 parking fee; plan for travel delays in the region. The garden itself should have about 30 seconds of totality, with the Japanese Garden offering one of the best spots for viewing the eclipse; the first 500 guests will receive free glasses beginning at noon. While the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House will be closed, visitors will be able to view the eclipse from Faust Park, which should have about 70 seconds of totality.
Another "hot spot" to view the Total Solar Eclipse is The Magic House. The children's museum in Kirkwood will host a party in the front garden from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 21. The event, which is included with general museum admission, will feature a dance party and other activities.
St. Charles County Parks is partnering with the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri (ASEM) to offer viewing parties at three county parks. Events will be held at Klondike Park in Augusta, Broemmelsiek Park in Defiance and Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville. Klondike Park will see 2 minutes 14 seconds of totality, Broemmelsiek Park 1 minute 35 seconds of totality, and Quail Ridge Park 1 minute 1 second of totality. Gates will open at 9 a.m. Food, vendors and entertainment will be onsite. For more information or for reservations, visit sccmo.org or call 636-949-7535 for reservations. Carpooling is recommended, as parking will be limited.
Viewing events will also be offered in Wentzville and Dardenne Prairie. Friends of the Wentzville Parks will host viewing parties at Peruque Valley Park and Progress Park at noon on Aug. 21. Protective glasses will be available for purchase in advance for $1 at Wentzville City Hall and Progress Park Recreation Center in Wentzville. Visitors can Go Dark in the Park in Dardenne Prairie from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Glasses may be purchased at Dardenne City Hall for $1; reservations are required.
Washington, Missouri, will host a total solar eclipse event from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Washington Fairgrounds. The event will include viewing and education areas, food, souvenirs and more. Visit their Facebook page for updates. Ellisville will host 2017 Ellisville Eclipse from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 21 in Bluebird Park. The City of Kimmswick will commemorate the event with activities from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 21, including trivia, music, raffles and special artwork.
'Wild' eclipse events
Go a little wild during the total solar eclipse with special viewing events at World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park and the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka. World Bird Sanctuary will open at 9 a.m. and offer Raptor Programs from 9-10 a.m. The eclipse is expected to begin around 11 a.m. at the sanctuary, with the full eclipse visible a little after 1 p.m. Cost to view the eclipse at World Bird Sanctuary is $10 for adults and $5 for children and includes viewing glasses, photo opportunities with the birds and educational literature. Will wolves howl at an eclipse? Find out at Endangered Eclipse from noon-2 p.m. at the Endangered Wolf Center. Cost is $20 per adult and $15 per child, and includes a tour of the center and its animals.
According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, 42 state parks and historic sites and 22 Katy Trail trailheads will be in the path of the eclipse. Felix Valle will have the longest viewing at 2 minutes 40 seconds. Missouri State Parks is offering special camping and lodging packages at state parks in the viewing area, as well as a Total Eclipse of the Katy Bicycle Ride. Missouri Department of Conservation has published a list of conservation areas in the path of the eclipse as well.
Viewing events in Alton, Illinois
Though they will not be in the path of totality, Alton and Godfrey, Illinois, will both boast 99 percent eclipse coverage. Visit the Liberty Bank Alton Amphitheater from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. for live music, a live NASA feed of the solar eclipse, games, food trucks and more. Lewis and Clark Community College will also host a free event from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. featuring games and free food. Both locations will provide free viewing events, while supplies last. Learn more at visitalton.com.
Learn more about the total solar eclipse
To learn more about the solar eclipse in advance of the event, catch a Live Sky: Eclipse show, which is offered at 2:30 p.m. daily at James S. McDonnell Planetarium. The program includes a pair of eclipse glasses. Gateway Arch Visitor Center will also host an Eclipse Speaker Series: Gateway to the Stars at 8 p.m. Aug. 6. Rangers and guest speakers will lead a discussion of the eclipse, followed by a free telescope viewing of the moon and Saturn (weather permitting). The Arch grounds will also be open to visitors for viewing the day of the eclipse. St. Louis County Library will also host a series of programs leading up to the event. Little readers can also get in on the fun! Local teachers in the Wentzville School District have published a book, "Eddie's Eclipse," which is available for purchase online.
Want to learn more about astronomy? Visit these stellar spots for summer stargazing in St. Louis.