Excitement about the solar eclipse is bringing constant flow of visitors to Boonshoft

DAYTON — With about 10 days until the solar eclipse, Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is seeing a constant uptick in visitors.

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Parker Lynch, planetarium manager at the children’s museum, science and technology center and zoo in Dayton, said young and old have been coming to the facility to learn more about the special occasion.

Dayton is in The Path of Totality across the United States, which is estimated to be a little more than 100 miles wide.

In the Miami Valley, the eclipse is expected to begin just before 2 p.m., with the moon covering the sun just after 3 p.m. The eclipse is expected to end about 4:30 p.m.

“We’re noticing more and more people come to our planetarium shows every day where we talk about the eclipse and kind of explain a little bit about how they happen and why they happen and what makes this such a special and rare event,” Lynch told News Center 7′s Nick Foley on Thursday.

“And so we’re seeing just a lot more crowds here at the museum, which is really exciting around this time.”

Boonshoft has been offering daily programs from lessons about the sun’s active periods, Foley said, to toddler baskets that make astronomy more approachable to younger visitors but museum leaders know that nothing will compare to the real thing.

“I know you had the partial here not too long ago. Partial and at the same time,” said Tracey Tomme, CEO, Dayton Society of Natural History. “It’s like a totally different event. So I think people will be blown away is if we have a clear day it’d be even better, but even if it’s cloudy, it’s gonna go dark.”

Cloudy or not, the eclipse will be unlike anything enthusiasts have seen.

“I really love the feedback that we get from our youngest visitors because they a lot of times don’t know what a solar eclipse is,” Lynch said. “They’ve never experienced one before and so they’re super excited to see something like this. Even if they don’t completely understand all of the science behind exactly what’s going on.”

The Ohio Department of Transportation’s forecasting map for the state estimates that as many as a half-million people could come to the Buckeye State to watch the eclipse. The map also shows that most of the Miami Valley will see heavier traffic, up to 500 percent above what’s normal on northbound I-75.

Count on News Center 7 and our coverage of Total Eclipse 2024 on WHIO-TV and WHIO.com.

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