Now you see me, now you don’t; catch nature’s biggest game of hide and seek on Monday, August 21st when the sun disappears behind the moon in a solar eclipse. And it’s not just any eclipse, it’s the first total eclipse in the continental United States in 38 years! While Los Angeles isn’t in the path to see the total eclipse, you and your aspiring astronomers can safely view, and learn about, this once in a lifetime event right here at home.  Read on to learn when, where and how.

photo: Irwin van der Meer via Flickr

Total Eclipse Story Time at the Central Library
Before the eclipse comes, you need to get ready!  The Central Library downtown is hosting a family free family story time on Saturday, August 19 at 2 p.m.  There will be stories, information, and hands-on activities to get you excited for the show.

630 W. 5th St.
DTLA
Online: lapl.org/whats-on/events/family-storytime-space-day

Kidspace Museum’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Viewing Party
On Monday morning starting at 9:30 a.m., join NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Kidspace, where you and your little space loving kiddos can safely view the eclipse using special, free, solar sunglasses from JPL. You can also make and decorate your own pinhole viewers in the Imagination Workshop. Since Pasadena won’t experience a total solar eclipse, Kidspace will be showing the NASA live stream as it occurs across the United States. The event is included with regular Kidspace admission, which is $13 for everyone over the age of 1.

480 N. Arroyo Blvd.
Pasadena
626-449-9144
Online: kidspacemuseum.org

photo: VeerBloke via Flickr

Griffith Park Observatory
Telescope viewing of the eclipse will be available from the front lawn, sidewalks and of course the Coelostat (solar telescope), at the historic Griffith Observatory, Monday morning from 9 a.m.-noon. The gift shop will be open and selling reusable solar eclipse viewing glasses as well as solaramas (special boxes that project the eclipse’s shadow onto any surface). Bring a picnic lunch and make a day of it.

2800 E Observatory Rd.
Griffith Park
213-473-0800
Online: griffithobservatory.org

LA State Historic Park
Meet park rangers at the new Gateway to Nature Center in El Pueblo at 8:30 a.m. sharp and hike together to the LA State Historic Park to view the eclipse together with hundreds of other science loving Angelenos. This event is free and lasts until noon with informative lessons on space and the galaxies beyond our own. Be sure to bring the sunblock and hats, as shade is minimal at the park at this time of day.

1245 N. Spring St.
DTLA
Online: lashp.org

   photo: Bruno Sanchez via Flickr

King Gillette Ranch
Join a ranger at the Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center for a program about the total solar eclipse and more at 9:30 a.m. Afterwards, view the celestial event together from the visitor center grounds with free programs that keep going until 12:30 p.m.

26876 Mulholland Highway
Calabasas
Online: lamountains.org

Rancho Sierra Vista
Join rangers at 9:30 a.m. for children’s’ activities and Native American sky stories. Then, stay to witness the eclipse through telescopes and pinhole boxes. Meet at the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center to take part in this free program.

Cross Street of Via Goleta and Lynn Road
Thousand Oaks
Online: nps.gov

photo: Ken Lund via Flickr

Your Own Backyard
Here’s the facts: the complete total eclipse will only be seen from a thin, diagonal band across the country, starting in Oregon and ending in South Carolina.  However, the remainder of the country (including Los Angeles!) will experience a partial eclipse. About 62 percent of the sun will be covered by 10:20 a.m., when the eclipse will be at its maximum. The entire event will begin at about 9:05 a.m. and end at 11:43 a.m.

Remember, you should never stare directly into the sun (even for the partial eclipse that we will be able to see here!) without specially made specs. Los Angeles Public Libraries will be handing out free solar eclipse glasses so you and your kiddos can safely view the eclipse at home.

Online: lapl.org

Do you have plans to watch the solar eclipse with your kids? Tell us in the comments below.

—Christina Montoya Fiedler