Looking for a place to watch totality on August 21, 2017?
Consider joining author Jeffrey Bennett in Idaho Falls, ID, for a series of special events over the preceding weekend and on eclipse day. Other guest speakers will include astronaut Alvin Drew, University of Colorado planetary scientist Nick Schneider, and astrophysicist Dr. Erica Ellingson.
Please note: All four speakers are volunteering their time and paying their own travel to offer these events. Big Kid Science author Jeffrey Bennett also fully funded creation of the Totality app and has donated more than 100,000 eclipse glasses, including 22,000 to schools in the Idaho Falls and Ammon districts and 5,000 for the event at Melaleuca Field. If you wish to show your support, please make a tax-deductible contribution to Story Time From Space and consider purchasing Big Kid Science books.
Eclipse Day Schedule
Thanks to the Idaho Falls Chukars minor league baseball team, we will be hosting a free eclipse watching event at Melaleuca Field ballpark in Idaho Falls, where we will have 1 minute and 50 seconds of totality and should be able to accommodate approximately 10,000 people in the stands and on the field. Here is the schedule of events:
- 8:30 am: Gates open.
- 9:00am – 9:35am: Formal events start with the Max Goes to the Moon movie projected on the jumbotron.
- 9:35am – 10:15am: Presentation by astronaut Alvin Drew.
- 10:15am – 11:30am: Partial eclipse phase; we’ll have presentations and discussion by our scientist panel of Jeffrey Bennett, Erica Ellingson, and Nick Schneider while you watch the progression of the eclipse.
- 11:33 – 11:35am: Totality.
- 11:40am – 1:00pm: The final partial eclipse phase, which ends at 12:58pm. During this time we’ll answer questions, and you can enjoy lunch and the post-eclipse atmosphere.
- Throughout: You’ll find tables with activities and information from NASA, Big Kid Science, Story Time From Space, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and the Idaho National Lab.
Important Ballpark Information
- Getting there: Parking is very limited and traffic is likely to be extremely heavy, so if at all possible, please try to walk or bike.
- No outside food or drink will be permitted, except bottled water.
- Concessions will be available. A portion of all proceeds to benefit the Greater Idaho Chamber of Commerce.
- Free eclipse glasses to the first 5,000 attendees, courtesy of Big Kid Science. Or click here to purchase eclipse glasses in advance.
- We recommend you also bring:
- Picnic blankets and/or chairs so you’ll be comfortable.
- Water — but no other outside food or drink; water will also be available at concessions and drinking fountains.
- Capacity is limited, so we suggest arriving early.
- Be prepared to get the most out of the eclipse by downloading the free app “Totality by Big Kid Science,” available for both iOS and Android. We especially recommend viewing the information on the Learn screen, which you get to from the main menu in the upper left.
Pre-Eclipse Weekend Schedule
We hope you’ll also attend some of our exciting weekend presentations for kids and grownups. All events are free and open to the public.
For Children: All events at Museum of Idaho Maeck Family Education Center (map) with author Jeffrey Bennett; recommended for ages 5-12, parents welcome.
- Saturday, August 19, 10-10:45 am: Max Goes to the Moon
- Saturday, August 19, 11-11:45 am: Max Goes to Mars
- Sunday, August 20, 2-2:45 pm: The Wizard Who Saved the World
- Sunday, August 20, 3-3:45 pm: I, Humanity
- Sunday, August 20, 3:45 – 4:30 pm: Meet and greet with astronaut Alvin Drew, immediately following the book readings. Get an autographed photo or take your picture with Alvin!
For the general public: all ages, but especially for middle school, high school, and grownups. All events at Eagle Rock Middle School Auditorium (map).
- Friday, August 18: We have had to cancel the originally planned Friday night talks, due to a family emergency that has delayed Dr. Bennett’s arrival to Idaho Falls. All other events are still on, so please join us!
- Saturday, August 19:
- 7-7:45pm: Global Warming Demystified, with astronomer/author Jeffrey Bennett
- 8-9pm: Mars — Everything You Want to Know, with planetary scientist Nick Schneider
- Sunday, August 20:
- 7-7:45pm: Ancient Astronomy of the American Southwest, with astrophysicist Dr. Erica Ellingson
- 8-9pm: Get Ready for the Eclipse! with panel Erica Ellingson, Nick Schneider, Jeffrey Bennett, and astronaut Alvin Drew.
Also be sure to check out additional NASA-sponsored events at the Museum of Idaho.
Lodging in Idaho Falls
Lodging for the eclipse is difficult to come by and expensive, but with some effort you can probably still find options. The city and surrounding region have numerous opportunities for camping or parking of RVs. Also check Airbnb and local hotels. If you’d like to attend our events but can’t find lodging in Idaho Falls, try nearby communities like Rexburg (also on the eclipse path) and Pocatello (just south of the path, but only about 45 minutes from Idaho Falls).
Getting to Idaho Falls
Driving is probably your best option; just be aware that we expect traffic to be completely insane on eclipse day, so be sure you come out at least a day or two in advance of the eclipse (and expect similar traffic madness after the eclipse ends). If you want to fly, Idaho Falls has a small regional airport that is very convenient, though flight options tend to be limited and expensive. Alternatively, you can fly to Salt Lake City, from which you’ll have an about 3 1/2 hour drive to Idaho Falls.
Also see the Eastern Idaho eclipse web site set up by folks in Idaho Falls.