Myriad Gardens hosts solar eclipse watch party in downtown Oklahoma City

A crowd gathers to watch the eclipse using many different viewing devices on the top of the Empire State Building in this 1932 file photo. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

On Monday, April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will pass right over Oklahoma. The totality of the shadow will be most visible in southeastern towns like Broken Bow and Idabel. If hotel prices are too high or it’s too soon to plan a trip, the Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City is another way to experience the eclipse. NASA will also be livestreaming the eclipse at This map from NASA shows the path of the eclipse.


The Gardens will have a free event from noon to 2 p.m. on the Devon Lawn. According to Leslie Spears, director of marketing and public relations for the Myriad Gardens, “Attendees will have the opportunity to witness a remarkable 93.9% solar eclipse coverage at 1:45pm, promising a truly awe-inspiring sight. To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all participants, the Dean McGee Eye Institute will generously provide free solar glasses to the first 500 attendees.”


If you arrive later than the five-hundredth guest, you can also make an eclipse viewer to look at the astronomical event safely. To make this you need:

  • a small box like a shoebox
  • aluminum foil
  • tape
  • paper 
  • pin to poke viewing hole
  • box cutter or small knife

The viewing device can be made by first cutting a small hole in one end of the box, adhering the aluminum foil to it, and poking a tiny hole with the pin. Then, on the adjacent side, cut a two-inch viewing hole. For a complete tutorial with images, see this article from livescience.

Using solar glasses or a viewing device is important because looking at the sun unprotected can seriously and permanently damage your eyesight. However, the good news is that solar protection is easy to buy or make. If you would like to order your own glasses, the American Astronomical Society has a list of approved solar glasses that will prevent any eye damage.

Solar eclipses are a phenomenon made possible by some particular math. The moon is around 400 times smaller than the sun while also being about 400 times closer to Earth. Therefore, they are about equal size when we look up at the sky. When they line up just right, it means the moon will block out the sun, turning a brightly lit day to a reddish, moody night. 

It will be another two decades until the next solar eclipse visible like this in the U.S. in 2044. This is a much longer gap than last time, with 2017 being the last time a solar eclipse was visible in Oklahoma.

The Gardens’ event will also include three food trucks, including Wondervan Pops and Wicked Hangry. “And we’ll be playing really fun music, you know, ‘Black Hole Sun.’ You know, of course, the Bonnie Tyler song,” Spears said.

Across state lines in Austin, TX, Vampire Weekend will also be performing their new album when totality occurs. The new album is called “Only God Was Above Us” with two songs out now, “Capricorn” and “Gen-X Cops.” The album title is perhaps incomplete, as the eclipse will also be above them at that time. The show is sold out.

Multiple sources on TikTok warn to stay off the roads on eclipse day if at all possible. Citing the 2017 eclipse as an example, one creator said that each highway on-ramp had long lines of cars and that their average speed was around 5 miles per hour. Alternate routes, she said, were no better, so plan accordingly! 

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