Where to watch the solar eclipse in the Charlotte area

CHARLOTTE — One of nature’s most spectacular sights, a solar eclipse, is happening on April 8, and several museums and parks in the Charlotte area will celebrate the celestial event.

Charlotte is expected to experience an 80-85% partial solar eclipse that will begin just before 2 p.m. and last for approximately 2.5 hours, concluding by 4:30 p.m.

Discovery Place Science and Discovery Place Kids – Huntersville will offer a variety of free outdoor activities and host viewing parties on their respective parking decks.

Eclipse viewing on the Discovery Place Science parking deck in Uptown will be from 2 to 4 p.m. A livestream event featuring the eclipse in totality will take place in the museum’s IMAX Dome Theatre from 1:30 to 4:15 p.m.

Leading up to the viewing parties, eclipse-focused demonstrations and activities will take place both inside and outside of the museum during regular hours. Outdoor eclipse activities will be available to the public at no charge.

Free eclipse glasses will be distributed to Discovery Place members and ticketed general admission guests inside the museum while supplies last. Glasses will not be distributed during the free activities on the parking deck. For more information, click here.

Discovery Place Kids – Huntersville is closed on Mondays but the children’s museum will celebrate the eclipse with storytelling and hands-on activities such as painting with sunscreen and crafting UV bracelets. Activities will take place on top of the museum’s parking deck from noon to 4 p.m. and will be free and open to the public; however, advanced reservations are required. Reservations can be made through the museum’s website here.

A limited number of free glasses will be distributed beginning at noon while supplies last.

The Schiele Museum in Gastonia will have hands-on astronomy activities, crafts for kids, and glimpses of the sun through sunspotters and pinhole projectors on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. and Monday from 12 to 4 p.m. Visitors can also enjoy eclipse-inspired samples of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams on Monday while supplies last. The museum has solar eclipse glasses available for purchase for $3 at the admissions desk. For more information, click here.

Merchant & Trade in Uptown Charlotte will host an eclipse party from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday on its 19th-story rooftop terrace. Admission is free and complimentary approved eclipse glasses will also be available.

Crowders Mountain State Park in Kings Mountain will host a free viewing event from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Monday. The first 100 visitors can get free viewing glasses. The lake parking lot at the Sparrow Springs Access will be closed off for eclipse viewing and parking will be available in the Visitor Center lot. For more information, click here.

Another spot to check out for the eclipse is Grandfather Mountain in Linville. The park will also

host a day of festivities for the eclipse, where it will be best visible between 2 to 3 p.m., weather permitting.

Most of the park’s daily programs, which will take place from 11 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and are included with park admission, will focus on solar and lunar eclipses.

In addition to themed programs, a designated area will be set up to view the eclipse. The first 100 guests will get a free pair of solar eclipse glasses with their admission. For more information, click here.

Eclipse glasses

Although Charlotte is not in the path of totality and will only experience a partial eclipse, you’ll still need to protect your eyes if you plan to watch it. NASA has a list of approved suppliers of eclipse glasses here.

VIDEO: How to safely watch a solar eclipse