Will you be traveling to see the April 8 total solar eclipse?

Will you be traveling to see the April 8 total solar eclipse?

Valerie Puma
Nationwide, up to 3.7 million people are expected to travel for the event .

The first total solar eclipse in the U.S. in seven years will take place on April 8th, and many cities and businesses along the eclipse’s path are preparing for an influx of tourists. Nationwide, up to 3.7 million people are expected to travel for the event that won’t happen in Western and Central New York again for 55 years.

A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. The sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk, according to NASA. The duration of totality will be up to 4 minutes and 27 seconds in affected locations, almost double that of The Great American Eclipse of August 21, 2017.

AAA anticipates that cities along the path of totality will experience high tourist volumes and increased traffic leading up to April 8, 2024. Totality is expected to begin on April 8 at 3:18 p.m. in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, 3:20 p.m. in Rochester, and 3:23 p.m. in Syracuse and Watertown, NY.

Drivers will need to take precautions to avoid distractions this April. Click here for AAA’s advice for drivers and pedestrians.

Although many hotels started booking for eclipse weekend a year in advance, don’t worry! In the Buffalo area, there are many eclipse-watching events to consider!  The Buffalo Harbor, Niagara Falls, and Knox Farm state parks will be open to visitors and Buffalo State University’s planetarium  is hosting Eclipse Fest. For families with younger children, the Buffalo Zoo is providing a pair of free eclipse glasses for the first 500 visitors each day April 6 through 8, and Kelkenberg Farm of Clarence is hosting a Celestial Celebrating April 8th from 11am-6pm featuring pony and hay rides, barnyard activities, and farm-fresh food to enjoy while waiting the cosmic spectacle.

Visit buffaloeclipse.org for more information and a list of participating locations.

The Rochester Museum and Science Center is hosting a three-day festival including dozens of Rochester exhibitors with hands-on activities, solar telescope viewings, planetarium shows included with admission, a post-eclipse concert, food trucks and much more! The George Eastman Museum will also provide a beautiful background to the view of the total solar eclipse from one its National Historical Landmark Gardens and the City of Rochester Public Market will be open from 10am to 5pm that day! For families looking to camp under the stars that weekend, the Livingston County Historical Society Museum is hosting up to 30 tents on the lawn.

Check out rochestereclipse2024.org for more info and events happening in the Rochester area.

In Syracuse, the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST) is hosting a 2024 Solar Eclipse Festival that afternoon. Free eclipse glasses will be available as supplies last. The festival will take place on the museum’s east lawn in Downtown Syracuse featuring tabling activities from the MOST and other community partners, as well as food trucks. Visitors are encouraged to bring a blanket or beach towel to hang out on the lawn. Leading up to the big eclipse, the MOST also has a daily solar eclipse planetarium show for all ages.

For a more complete list of Central New York solar eclipse events, click here.

Last but never least, Watertown, NY will have one of the best views of the total solar eclipse! The city of Watertown sits directly in the center of the path of totality, and at approximately 3:22 p.m. on April 8, 2024, Watertown will plunge into darkness for three minutes and 39 seconds. To mark this momentous occasion, the City of Watertown will host “Total Eclipse of the Park” at the historic Thompson Park. The event will feature not only a stellar view of the eclipse, but also free eclipse glass as supplies last, entertainment, family-friendly activities, food trucks and more. Tickets are free, but due to limited capacity the city is asking all attendees to obtain a ticket for entry. For more information, visit watertownnewyorkeclipse.com.

Whether you’re traveling for the perfect view, joining your community at one of the many eclipse events taking place, or enjoying the eclipse from the comfort of your backyard, now is the time to start organizing your family’s total solar eclipse plans for April 8th!