In ancient China, people believed a mythological creature called Tengu had swallowed the sun when the sky turned dark and daylight disappeared. It was considered one of the worst omens, and people set up firecrackers, beat drums, and made loud noises in hopes of driving Tengu away. Thankfully, with modern science came our understanding of what came to be known as a Solar Eclipse: a very rare space phenomenon where Earth, Moon, and Sun line up perfectly. Instead of acting out of fear and anxiety, we now celebrate an Eclipse with excitement – and fun watch parties!
By now, you must have heard that San Antonio will soon be home to TWO solar eclipses. The first one will be the Annular Eclipse on October 14. In downtown San Antonio, the partial eclipse will start at 10:23 am, while the annular eclipse will begin at 11:52 am and reach its peak at 11:54 am. The annularity will last for about 4 minutes and 21 seconds, with a total of 3 hour 9 minutes eclipse time. National Eclipse is a great online resource, and has provided detailed viewing estimates for selected locations around San Antonio, as well as the weather forecast to prepare us for this once in a lifetime event. ACM Reminder: Watching an eclipse without proper eclipse glasses can still be very harmful to your eyes.
Here are just some Solar Eclipse events happening around the city, as well as some home watch-party ideas to help make this once-a-lifetime experience as phenomenal as the eclipse itself.
Get Ready before the THE DAY
San Antonio Public Library – Get Eclipse Ready!
San Antonio Public Library is offering a series of educational events about the upcoming eclipses, as well as information on how to view them safely. Spanish-speaking subject matter experts will be available at most of these events. Check their website for the schedule and locations.
Leon Valley Public Library – Eclipse Series & Ring of Fire
Leon Valley Public Library will be hosting a series of Eclipse educational programs with fun activities on 9/30 at 11am, 10/6 at 4pm and 10/14 at 10:24 am. Visit their website to learn more.
Witte Museum – Saturday with a Scientist: Eclipse & Equinoxes
On Saturday, 9/23 from 12pm to 2 pm, learn from and engage with a real scientist! Dr. Chris Packham, professor of astrophysics at UTSA, will be at the Witte during the Fall Equinox to answer your questions about space, the movement of the planets, and the change in seasons.
NASA – Solar Eclipse Mini Lessons
Have a little astronaut who can’t get enough educational information about the eclipse? NASA has a series of mini lessons and interactive activities, all published online to help them take their Eclipse learning one step further!
Eclipse Day Around San Antonio
Eclipse Party at SeaWorld
Complimentary glasses (for the first 5000 guests), an Eclipse party zone, Lights-On haunted houses; as well as Eclipse-themed snacks, drinks, and merchandise. Party starts at 10:30 am.
Six Flags Fiesta – Solar Eclipse at the Park
Six Flags Fiesta will be offering solar eclipse viewing packages, including an “I Was There” T-shirt and Viewing Glasses package, an Eclipse Fireworks and Drone Show viewing package, and an Eclipse viewing & festivals survival kit.
DoSeum – Moon at Noon
Free admission for the first 500 guests, who will also receive special viewing glasses, plus many fun activities. The party starts at 11 am.
Scobee Education Center – La Fiesta del Sol: Celebrating the Sun
Sponsored in part by the NASA community anchor grant and the Boeing Company grant; guest speakers, live music, activities for youngsters, solar filtered telescopes for public viewing, food trucks, and much more await! Free solar filter glasses will be available for families, while supplies last. $5 parking on college campus for non-VIP attendees. From 9:30am to 2:30pm.
Roar & Soar: Eclipse Extravaganza at San ANTONIO Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo will provide special viewing glasses, as well as hosting a herd of fun and educational activities throughout the day. Learn more about their nocturnal animals, how the moon’s cycle impacts their behaviors, and how the zoo uses the moon to study animal behavior. This all-day festival begins at 10 am.
Annular Solar Eclipse Watch Party at Casa Navarro
Watch the Solar Eclipse at a local historic site! Free viewing glasses are included with admission, and families are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets to watch this unique celestial event.
Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio Eclipse Party
Habitat for Humanity’s party will run from 11 am to 1:30 pm. Enjoy a piñata party, free eclipse glasses, and family-friendly games; a bounce house and food while we gather to witness the mesmerizing eclipse together. Area high school teachers will also be on site to provide learning sessions for attendees.
Annular Solar Eclipse at Mission San Jose
Join San Antonio Missions National Historical Park to view this spectacular phenomenon. Located at Mission San Jose between the mission compound and visitor center, visitors will have the opportunity to speak with astronomers and participate in fun, educational activities.
Eclipse Viewing Parties at the Parks
Several local city parks, such as Eisenhower Park, Phil Hardberger Park (West) and Phil Hardberger Park (East), are also hosting eclipse viewing parties. Educational information about the sun, solar radiation and the greenhouse effect will be provided. Limited supplies of solar eclipse glasses may be provided at different locations.
Solar Eclipse Watch Party with The Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas
This event will provide an opportunity for astronomy enthusiasts, families, and girls of all ages to witness the breathtaking phenomenon of an annular solar eclipse. All attendees will be provided protective eyewear and instructions on how to observe the annular solar eclipse safely. This event is free and open to the community. You do not need to be a Girl Scout member to attend!
Eclipse Watch at Home
A rare phenomenon like this typically attracts crowds, so we recommend you plan extra time for traffic if you are heading out to any of the Eclipse Watch parties around the city. Don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of heading out, the traffic and the crowd? You can watch the Solar Eclipse from the comfort of your own home! Whether you are hosting a home eclipse watch party, or just simply hanging out with family and friends, here are a few tips to add some Eclipse flair to your party!
Eclipse Snack Basket
Moon Pies, MilkyWay, Starburst, SunChips, Orbit gum, Eclipse gum, even Pop Rocks. You will be surprised how many store-bought snacks fit perfectly with this theme!
Proper Eclipse Glasses
It is never safe to look directly at the sun, even during the annular or total solar eclipse. It is important that everyone wears safe solar eclipse viewing glasses, rather than just regular sunglasses, at all times when watching an eclipse. To read all of NASA’s eye safety guidelines, please click here.
Kid-friendly Eclipse Glasses
You can find endless options for solar eclipse glasses online or at your local store. However, most of them are probably way too big for the little ones. One mom had a great idea to make worry-free eclipse glasses for kids using just a paper plate, when the 2017 Solar Eclipse passed by her hometown. Click here to see how she made it.
K-12 Solar Eclipse Activity Guide
NASA has published a helpful guide filled with various eclipse activities, grouped by grade levels. Click here to download a PDF copy for yourself, your children, or your students! You can also check out their website here for other fun, less science-heavy activities.
Where will you be on October 14, 2023 and April 8, 2024? How do you plan to celebrate the Solar Eclipse? Share your plan and ideas!