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Published on April 02, 2024
South Florida Prepares for Solar Spectacle with Free Glasses and Educational Fun at Local Museums and Libraries Source: Unsplash/ Jongsun Lee

As the cosmos gears up for a celestial show next week, South Floridians are getting ready to don their special specs for the upcoming partial solar eclipse. Free protective glasses are being handed out, ensuring that folks can safely enjoy the sky's spectacle. In Fort Lauderdale, you can snag a pair at the Frost Science Museum or Broward County Libraries, and even join in on some educational fun while you're at it.

"We have a planetarium show, which will explain what is happening with the eclipse. We’ll have hands-on activities," Douglas Roberts from the Frost Science Museum told WSVN. The eclipse isn't just a chance to ooh and aah, but a learning opportunity too. Over in Broward County, kids can watch the eclipse from the library and dive into the science behind it. "What the eclipse is, how often they happen. If they have their glasses, they can go out on a terrace, and take a look at it," Jill Sears with the Broward County Library.

NASA's Heather Futrell gave us the cosmic lowdown: "It’s gonna be a little longer, because the moon is closer in its orbit to Earth," she said in a statement. As eyes turn towards the skies, remember – even if you miss out on the free glasses, you can still peep the eclipse's shadow play through the dappled light of a tree.

Meanwhile, trained on the other coast, Tampa Bay is gearing up for its own array of eclipse watch parties. The Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) is throwing a bash complete with hands-on activities, kicking off at the Science Park. According to WUSF, a ticket to MOSI gets you not only a view of the eclipse but a pair of those essential eclipse glasses. Other venues like the Great Explorations Children's Museum and St. Petersburg College Planetarium, are hosting their own shindigs, serving up science and skywatching free of charge. And if you find yourself on Clearwater Beach, look for the Visit St. Pete/Clearwater booth – they're handing out glasses starting at noon.

What's more, Hillsborough and Pinellas County libraries have jumped on the sun-block party bandwagon. Plenty of local libraries are transforming into viewing stations where the public can safely gaze skyward. For an updated list of events, checking out the county libraries' websites or the St. Petersburg Astronomy Club Facebook page might lead you to the nearest viewing hot spot. And just a reminder, for a chance to marvel at a solar eclipse without leaving U.S. soil, this is the time. NASA's forecast: no more American eclipses until the year 2044, according to WUSF.

Miami-Community & Society