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Northeast Ohio arts and culture in the air around April 8 solar eclipse

Nikki Welch from NASA Glenn
Kabir Bhatia
Ideastream Public Media
NASA Glenn Research Center spokesperson Nikki Welch is excited for the "once in a lifetime" opportunity to view the total solar eclipse in Northeast Ohio. NASA is hosting a number of exhibits and activities around the eclipse at the Great Lakes Science Center.

On April 8, with Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and Pink Floyd’s “Eclipse” blaring from radios throughout Northeast Ohio, the total solar eclipse will give everyone something to not look at – unless using special glasses. It’s the first such eclipse since 1806 to be visible here. The next one is in 2099. For art and culture lovers, there’s much to savor this time around.

Great Lakes Science Center

Musical offerings scheduled for the long eclipse weekend include a free concert by the Cleveland Orchestra on April 7 at 1:30 p.m. in the Great Lakes Science Center's Wintergarden atrium. Admission is free that day. The program includes space-related musical selections, such as Mozart's "Jupiter" symphony. Images from the Hubble Telescope and International Space Station round out the experience at the Great Lakes Science Center’s Eclipse Fest. NASA Glenn Research Center will stream the eclipse itself from NASA Village, set up on the grounds of the museum. The area will include immersive exhibits about aeronautics, space and solar science from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on April 6-8.

Following the eclipse itself, the film "Small Town Universe" screens in the science center's Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater at 5 p.m. The documentary filmed at the radio telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia, has its world premiere the day before as part of the 48th Cleveland International Film Festival.

Admission to NASA Village is free, but admission to go inside the museum is free only on April 7.

Rock Hall

Next door at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the weekend features extended hours for the first time (10 a.m.-10 p.m.) with access to a dedicated viewing area for the eclipse on Monday. Inside, an eclipse-themed soundtrack will be “blasting” and visitors can see the new “Revolutionary Women in Music” exhibit.

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Down the road in University Circle, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is also hosting a weekend of activities, which will move outside to Wade Oval an hour before the eclipse begins at 1:59 p.m.

Painesville Railroad Museum

The Painesville Railroad Museum will have its trains running for visitors during its eclipse activities from 1-5 p.m.

Sara Lowthian-Hanna, photographer with NASA Glenn
Kabir Bhatia
Sara Lowthian-Hanna, lead photographer with NASA Glenn, says photographing the eclipse requires special solar filters to prevent damage to your camera or phone. Anyone viewing the image through an eye piece should still wear protective eclipse glasses.

Geauga County

In Geauga County, instead of visiting the Observatory Park dark sky park, visitors are encouraged to head to the Geauga County Fairgrounds to accommodate more people. If you’d like to create art, the Fairmount Center for the Arts in Novelty will feature a chalk art activity, science station and more from 1-5 p.m.

Summit County

In Summit County, the Akron Art Museum presents the Pneuhaus Compound Camera art installation, set up outdoors. It’s an immersive dome made of 109 inflatable pinhole cameras which cast a live projection of the surrounding environment. Described as a “tessellated panorama,” museum officials liken it to standing inside the eye of a fly.

The Akron Zoo’s festivities are also open to citizen scientists. The Eclipse Soundscape Project invites visitors to help zoo staff monitor animal behavior during the eclipse. The collected data will be reported to NASA.

At the Cuyahoga Falls location of Wild Birds Unlimited, naturalists will answer questions during the eclipse as birds are expected to go silent. In Downtown Cuyahoga Falls, local bands will take the stage at the Front Street Amphitheatre.


In Medina, the Advance Auto Parts store on North Court Street is inviting car lovers to a cruise-in from 2-5 p.m.


Further south, in Loudonville, the River Zen Trading Post is holding a weekend of camping, capped by a drum circle, at Pop’s Place Launch and Landing.

Catawba Island

And if the eclipse and its activities seem too intense - or too tiring - adults can try the new coffee blonde ale debuting at Twin Oast Brewing on April 8. The Catawba Island taproom’s watch party runs from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Updated: March 7, 2024 at 2:23 PM EST
The orchestra's program and Great Lakes Science Center hours were updated.
Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.