Going Dark in Indy

Experience a total solar eclipse and swap day for night in Indianapolis.
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NASA visits the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF IMS PHOTO

On April 8, don’t look directly at the sun without wearing special glasses (ISO 12312-2), because North America will experience a total solar eclipse, the first one since August 21, 2017. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun and plunges the world into darkness for a few minutes. Unlike last time, Cincinnati will kiss the Path of Totality, but Indianapolis will be in the crux. The eclipse will start around 2 p.m. EDT and reach totality at 3:06 p.m. Indy and surrounding cities will host events on the day and leading up to the day. The next total solar eclipse won’t occur until 2044, so take advantage now.


INDIANAPOLIS

Indy is known as the “eclipse capital of the Midwest” because it’s the largest city outside of Texas to experience a direct totality. It’s also the city’s first total solar eclipse in almost 819 years. For 3 minutes and 46 seconds, visitors will be able to see the total eclipse. From April 5 to 8, the city will host Indy Eclipse Weekend. NASA will broadcast from Indianapolis Motor Speedway—tickets cost $20—and will be on hand to answer questions. For the kiddos, visit Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for giveaways and fun activities related to the event.

Artwork celebrating the upcoming eclipse.

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FESTIVAL COUNTRY INDIANA


HAMILTON COUNTY, INDIANA

A mere 30 minutes from downtown Indy, Hamilton County consists of Carmel, Sheridan, Fishers, Noblesville, and Westfield. Conner Prairie, a living history museum located in Fishers, invited Valparaiso, Indiana, native astronaut Mark Brown to lead scientific discussions alongside musical acts and dance companies.

In Sheridan, leave the science behind and pay $20 to indulge in cocktails and pizza at Hunt Club Distillery’s eclipse party. Looking to stay in the area? Renaissance Indianapolis North Hotel has a couple of sun-themed eclipse packages, one of which comes with Capri Sun, beer from local brewery Sun King, and Sun Chips.


FRENCH LICK

If watching the eclipse at a resort is more in your wheelhouse, book a stay at French Lick Resort. From April 5 to 8, the resort offers viewing locations for guests, commemorative etched Woodford Reserve bottles, complimentary viewing glasses, family-friendly activities, and themed restaurant specials.

On April 8, the Orleans Chamber of Commerce, in nearby Orleans, hosts the cheekily named I Totally Blacked Out in Orleans, Indiana, watch party at Congress Square. It will have DJs and food trucks, and hopefully no one will actually black out.


You can view the astronomical phenomenon from a campsite on Lake Lemon.

BLOOMINGTON

Between April 4 and 8, get out of the city and head to Lake Lemon for clear views of the sky. Riddle Point Park plans on having an entertainment lineup and a two-night RV and tent camping package.

Starlite Drive-In Theater will already be up and running for the season, and will open gates at 10 a.m. on eclipse day. Admission is free and limited concessions will be on sale. The Theater encourages people to bring Frisbees and cornhole boards to pass the time before the big episode.

After all that eclipse watching, in the evening at 7:30 p.m., visit Waldron Arts Center for a screening of the 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, a reminder that Stanley Kubrick predicted AI.

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