Solar Eclipse 2017
On Aug. 21, the United States will experience “The Great American Eclipse” — an event nearly a century in the making. As the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire country since 1918, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime celestial spectacle. Those within the 70-mile-wide line of totality, which starts in Oregon and ends in South Carolina, will get to witness up to 2 minutes, 40 seconds of darkness.
In this series, we’ll spotlight a few of the best viewing locations along the path, including Idaho Falls, ID, Casper, WY, Nashville, TN and Greenville, SC. Whether you travel to your preferred city the weekend before or turn the trip into a weeklong summer vacation, you’ll find no shortage of things to do in each locale.
Viewing Location Spotlight: Nashville, TN
One of the best viewing areas along the path is in Nashville, TN. Fly into Nashville International Airport, where you can pick up a vehicle from Advantage Rent A Car and set out for an unforgettable family adventure in Music City.
As the largest U.S. city in the line of totality, Nashville has lots of great locations to observe the nearly 2 minutes of darkness — including city and state parks, as well as outside all of the city’s major attractions.
Official viewing parties include First Tennessee Park, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, Dave and Buster’s and many other locations throughout the city. In addition, pre-eclipse festivities will be held at the Adventure Science Center, Italian Lights Festival, Grand Ole Opry and more.
While you’re in town, board the Music City Hop, a DIY hop-on/hop-off tour by trolley and double-decker bus with 16 stops that let you visit more than 100 attractions and points of interest. One stop includes the Country Music Hall of Fame, where you can see more than 2 million priceless artifacts while the kids can try their hands at new and familiar instruments in the museum’s Musical Petting Zoo. For real animals, visit the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere or head over to Lucky Ladd Farms, home to more than 100 friendly farm critters, plus pony rides, a playground, splash pad and more.
For more active outdoor fun, swing between the trees by zip line at Adventureworks or Treetop Adventure Park, test out your climbing skills at Soar Adventure Tower, or cool off during the dog days of summer at Nashville Shores or Wave Country.
Take it easy aboard the Pontoon Saloon, where you can BYOB and food, and enjoy some of the best views of the city’s skyline from the Cumberland River.
Speaking of food, Nashville’s culinary scene alone is more than enough reason to make the trip. With its famous hot chicken, Southern breakfasts and barbecue, and restaurants that are uniquely Nashville, the options are endless — and mouthwatering!
No matter how long you get to spend in Nashville, you’re sure to leave Music City on a good note.
Solar Eclipse Fun Facts
- A solar eclipse occurs when the sun, moon and Earth are in exact alignment.
- The year the last total solar eclipse was visible in the United States was 1979 — in just five states. The total solar eclipse of 2017 will pass through 12 states from coast to coast.
- The sun and moon appear to be the same size during a total solar eclipse, but this is an illusion. The sun is 400 times wider than the moon and 400 times farther away, so they only coincidentally appear the same size
- The faint light that appears around the moon during a total solar eclipse is part of the sun’s outermost atmosphere, called the corona.
- Wildlife can be confused by totality. As the sky grows dark and resembles twilight, you may hear roosters crowing and grasshoppers chirping.