Local convention and visitor bureaus have teamed with the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.to make areas of three different parks great options for free observation of the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. Another eclipse-related program at the Ernie Miller Nature Center, which required advance registration, has already filled to capacity.
The free viewing opportunities, called Total Eclipse in the Parks, will take place in Antioch, Shawnee Mission, and Heritage Park. These events are for all ages, and are being hosted by JCPRD in partnership with the Lenexa Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Merriam Visitors Bureau, the Olathe Convention and Visitors Bureau, Visit Shawnee, and the Northeast Johnson County Chamber of Commerce.
For this event, participants are invited to bring a blanket or lawn chair, pack plenty of water for late August temperatures, and purchase lunch from local foods trucks which will be in the parks, and then settle in to enjoy the eclipse. For this event, view site hours will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Park locations include: Antioch Park Shelter #2, 6501 Antioch, Merriam; The Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission Park with a separate entrance at 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee; and Heritage Park Shelter #1, 16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe.
The first 200 people at each site will receive a free pair of eclipse viewing glasses. Since only 200 pairs will be available at each site, participants should be prepared to provide their own viewing device. For more information about Total Eclipse in the Parks, call Karen Crane at (913) 403-8999.
Despite the name of the event, Johnson County is expected to experience a partial eclipse amounting to about 99.8 percent of the sun obscured by the moon. Peak viewing here will take place at approximately 1:08 p.m. and will last roughly two minutes. The path of totality is a band 70 miles wide that will move across the U.S. passing to the north of us. The last total solar eclipse to cast a shadow across the continental United States happened in 1979, though partial eclipses have happened since then.
Wherever you observe the eclipse, remember that viewers are cautioned to wear protective equipment to avoid damaging their eyes.