Planning List for Homestead National Monument Solar Eclipse Viewing

The Total Solar Eclipse will be happening on Monday!

August 21, 2017!

Will you be watching?

The majority of people in my social circle will be watching, many of them will be with me at Homestead National Monument with NASA and Bill Nye. Many of my friends are heading up there with excitement and confidence.

Then, there is my circle of friends who suffer from anxiety like I do. We recognize the educational and once in a lifetime experience this will offer our kids, so we’re going to do our best to deal with the anxiety and attend with minimal overwhelm.

My anxiety is up quite a bit thinking about going to a city I’m fairly unfamiliar with to find parking while there is a ton of traffic around. I have been to Beatrice, and we did visit Homestead National Monument in the past, but it’s been a few years. I’m only slightly confident in what to expect, which means it’s only a slight comfort to the anxiety.

No matter what, this is an event I want my kids to experience, so I’m going to try to contain my anxiety as much as I can and make it happen. The small bit of familiarity with the area will help with that anxiety, as well as knowing there will be quite a few of my friends there.

Another thing that is going to help me with the anxiety is planning out everything we need. To help, I created a planning list to make sure I have everything we’ll need.

Planning List for Homestead National Monument Solar Eclipse Viewing

Parking Plan

Not only will I have the map provided by Homestead National Monument of parking options and shuttle bus locations, but I’ll be containing my anxiety by driving up caravan form with other families. Having someone to follow if I can’t get another adult riding with me should help with the anxiety a bit. We’re going to try to leave as early as possible to make sure we get a decent parking spot. Additionally, with the potential for a huge crowd at Homestead, there is a possibility they’ll hit max capacity and need to redirect viewers to alternate locations. While I will deal with that if it happens, leaving early will help prevent that potential anxiety inducer.

Schedule of Events

There are going to be a lot of activities and a lot of awesome people to talk to going on. I’ll be keeping the schedule of events printed out and on hand because there are different areas we’ll want to visit. My goal will be to hit up everything we want to do at each section before moving on. We’ll want to be at the Heritage Center Stage to see Bill Nye for the eclipse, so we’ll try to schedule things around that based on the crowd.

There is also a special Junior Ranger Badge the girls can earn for the eclipse. Bill Nye and the Planetary Society partnered with Homestead National Park to create this badge. After the eclipse he’ll be doing a program based on the Junior Ranger program. My goal is to have the girls print out and fill out the booklet before we get there, then follow along during the program so they don’t miss anything.

Water

We’ll be bringing along water bottles. I’m hoping they have places to refill water bottles easily because it’s going to be fairly warm. We’ll also have some bandanas on hand so we can wet them and keep them on our necks to cool off.

Food

We’ll bring along a few snacks, but there will also be food vendors. There is a limit on how big a cooler can be that you bring in, and we won’t be bringing in a cooler. I’m taking the route of convenience and bringing cash so we can buy food while we’re there. Keep in mind cash is recommended because there are no ATM’s and it’s likely vendors can’t do cards.

Shade

It sounds like there will be several tents set up around the area for shade. My guess is those spaces will be packed. I’ll probably bring a couple of compact umbrellas to have on hand if we need some extra shade. Hats and sunglasses will also be a must.

Glasses

Speaking of glasses. I’ll have my regular every day glasses, my prescription sunglasses AND our solar eclipse glasses. Of all of these the solar eclipse glasses are the most important. You need them to watch the eclipse. If you don’t have a pair and can’t get any, you can always make a pin hole viewer to watch the eclipse safely. You can make one at home and bring it, or they’ll be making them at the event.

Camera

I’ll admit, I don’t have the right filters for my camera to take pictures of the eclipse. What I can take pictures of is everything else going on. There is going to be so many activities, and so many people, we’re sure to find a handful of awesome photo ops.

What is your plan for watching the eclipse? Share yours in the comments below.

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