Dayton Aviation Heritage

2024 Total Solar Eclipse

Composite photo of the phases of an eclipse showing the changing shape as the moon passes in front of the sun. Yellow orbs on a black background.
Composite photo of the 2017 solar eclipse shows partial and total eclipsed conditions as documented at Medicine Bow National Forest, WY.

Photo by Jeremy White

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park 2024 Total Eclipse Watch Party

On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will be visible from Texas to Maine. The path of totality will cross over 27 park units as it makes its way across Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park will be in the path of totality for the 2024 Total Eclipse and we hope you can join us for the fun. Explore YOUR national park, take in the programming and activities, or simply kick back and watch the main event! Visit the park the day of the eclipse, or join one of our watch parties, to receive a free pair of eclipse viewing glasses. Check back often as we add more locations and event information.


What is a Total Solar Eclipse

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, temporarily blocking the sun and casting its shadow on Earth. The moon travels an elliptical orbit around the Earth so the distance between the two is not constant. From our perspective on earth when the moon is closer to us, it appears bigger and can block more of the sun’s light. It aligns perfectly with the sun resulting in a total solar eclipse. When the moon's orbit is further from the Earth it does not completely obscure the sun, thus an annular eclipse occurs (as seen on October 14, 2023). Visit for more information about the 2024 total eclipse.

It is never safe to view the sun without proper eye protection! Click How Do I View An Eclipse Safely? for info on safe viewing practices, creating homemade filters, and much more.

All the World is in Eclipse - Paul Laurence Dunbar in bold above an eclipse with an illustration of Dunbar wearing eclipse glasses and event details below.
Wright-Dunbar Watch Party Flyer


Watch Party Locations

Wright-Dunbar Watch Party

16 South Williams Street
April 8, 2024
1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and Aviation Trail Parachute Museum is a great place to start your eclipse visit to the park or the region. This museum and visitor center is located in the heart of the Wright-Dunbar neighborhood, home to Orville and Wilbur Wright. The watch party will start at 1:00 pm, but the visitor center and museum open for the day at 9:00 am. Outdoor activities are weather dependent. NPS rangers and volunteers will be on hand to pass out FREE eclipse glasses starting at 9:00 a.m.

Activities for the day include:

  • NASA Live Stream of the total eclipse indoors
  • Presentations throughout the day from NASA SCoPE subject matter experts
  • Live viewing of total solar eclipse with Unistellar smart telescopes hosted by SETI/Unistellar astronomer Dr. Ian Weaver
  • NASA Live Stream of the total eclipse indoors
  • Eclipse Art
  • Try on a Parachute. Learn about Skydiving with the ATI Parachute Museum
  • Eclipse Junior Ranger
The event will occur on the plaza and the park information tent will have free solar eclipse viewing glasses and a LightSound set up for the blind and low vision community.

Presentations include:

What makes an eclipse, and why do they matter?

The unusual geometry of the Sun, Earth, and Moon make the eclipses that we see from Earth unique in the solar system. This talk explores what makes eclipses happen, how we predict them, what we've learned from previous eclipses and why astronomers still study them.

History of eclipses and eclipses in history

Many ancient cultures believed our eclipses to be caused by dragons or bears eating the Sun or that they represented the anger of the gods with humanity. Major battles were even halted due to unexpected eclipses, and the deaths of kings and religious figures blamed on them. Slowly the real physical nature of the phenomenon began to be understood, and now eclipses can have a new use: dating events in ancient history.

Eclipses and Relativity

Did you know that a solar eclipse was key to proving Einstein's theory of General Relativity correct? This talk about the two eclipse expeditions made over 100 years ago to make the test, what they did and why, and what they found.

Wright Memorial Watch Party

2380 Memorial Road, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
April 8, 2024
1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Stroll the grounds of the Wright Memorial and stand on the crossroads of Ohio history. Explore the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center before grabbing your spot for the total eclipse! NPS rangers and volunteers will be on hand to pass out FREE eclipse glasses starting at 9:00 a.m.

Activities include NASA livestream in the theater, an Eclipse Junior Ranger activity, exhibits on the Wright brothers and the history of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The event will occur on the Wright Memorial grounds so please bring a blanket and chairs to set up your own viewing space. Rangers on site will have a LightSound set up for the blind and low vision community and will pass out free solar eclipse viewing glasses.

Exhibits focus on the Wright brothers' development of the world's first practical airplane in 1904 and 1905, the development of their company’s flying school starting in 1910, and the accomplishments of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base since those early days of flight. Journey down to the humble Ohio cow pasture where Orville and Wilbur refined their experimental flying machine and conquered the air.

Huffman Prairie Flying Field Watch Party

Gate 16A, off of 444 Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
April 8, 2024
1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Explore the field where Wilbur and Orville learned how to fly. NPS rangers and volunteers will be on hand to pass out FREE eclipse glasses starting at 1:00 p.m at the 1905 Replica Hangar site at Huffman Prairie. This location is accessed at Gate 16A off Rt. 444, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The event will include free eclipse glasses and the Eclipse Junior Ranger activity. Take a hike at Huffman Prairie or explore the field where the Wright brothers discovered practical flight. This watch party is for those that would like to experience safe eclipse viewing without all the crowds.


Please see our directions page for more information about how to easily access the park.

Located in west-central Ohio, the park is easily accessible via I-70, I-75 or US Route 35. The main park visitor center, Wright Dunbar Interpretive Center, is located at S. Williams St. and W. Third St. in Dayton.

The Ohio Writing Project logo in white leters on a red background.
Ohio Writing Project

Miami University

Ohio Writing Project and the Total Eclipse

Calling all Educators!

The Ohio Writing Project is a site of the National Writing Project at Miami University. OWP is a network of K-12 Teachers, university faculty, researchers, and writers working to advance writing and the teaching of writing. On April 8, 2024, much of the OWP teacher community will be near or in the total solar eclipse path.

We can't think of a better reason to read, write and create.

In partnership with the Dayton Aviation National Heritage Park and the National Writing Project, OWP teachers have created resources you can use in your classroom connected to the big day. Resources include information about the OWP eclipse day, Saturday April 6th at the park, an online collaborative writing space designed by the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State and featuring the Dunbar poem, and OWP resources that you can easily use in your classroom to read, write or create with the eclipse in mind. A focus of many of the resources is Dunbar's poem, "A Madrigal" which features the line, "All the world is in eclipse."

Check them out here.
Cover of Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer book showing eclipse, mountain, waterfall, forest and wildlife in a cartoon style.
Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer


Become a Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer

The Eclipse Junior Ranger program will be offered at Dayton Aviation Heritage NHP as well as other participating National Park Service sites in the path of the April 8, 2024 eclipse. Stop into the park daily to pick up your book, or join us one of our ranger-led Eclipse Ranger programs. For a list of sites participating in the program please follow this link: Eclipse Explorer Junior Ranger Program, and to participate at home download your own Eclipse Explorer Booklet and printable badge today!

Total Eclipse Events and Activities


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A NPS ranger looks skyward through eclipse glasses. A park sign and arrowhead are in the background.
Plan like a Ranger with these eclipse FAQ's

NPS Photo

Frequently Asked Questions

Will special areas be designed in the park to view the eclipse?

No, but we are holding three watch parties in the park to offer safe viewing and additional opportunities to explore. The watch parties will occur at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center, and at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field.

How close will parking be to the designated viewing areas, and how will they be marked?

While the park does not have designated viewing areas, each of the watch parties will have banners and other info booths at each location.Wright-Dunbar Watch Party: There is significant street parking around the park, as well as public lots. Huffman Prairie Flying Field Watch Party: Parking limited at Simms Station, and so we ask that guests please use the large gravel lot at the Rod & Gun Club if the lot is full.Wright Memorial Watch Party: Parking is limited in the lot and will be focused to accessibility; a large parking lot will be available using the open area east of the visitor center.

Should heavy traffic be expected?

We recommend carpooling and arriving early to find parking closest to where you'd like to be. Traffic could be heavy at the start end of the of the eclipse, and highways may be congested due to eclipse watchers from other areas coming into the path of totality.

How many people do you expect to be in the park for Totality?

We are expecting anywhere from 300-1000 people over the course of the day.

Will food services, restrooms, water, and other services be available?

Food services will be available at the food hall adjacent to the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center. Water and restroom services will be available at all three watch parties. Water will be limited at Huffman Prairie Flying Field so please bring snacks and water if you plan on attending.

Will areas be designated for the setup of telescopes?

There will be a designated area for telescopes at the Wright-Dunbar Watch Party, but participants are free to set up telescopes in grassy areas at the Wright Memorial and Huffman Prairie watch parties.

Will the park host special programs and activities for kids or families before or after Totality?

Yes, please check our calendar or our Facebook page for more information on programs before the eclipse day. On April 8, there will be activities for kids and adults to learn about the eclipse and have fun both before and after Totality!

Can eclipse related merchandise be purchased in the park: books, stickers, postcards, magnets, etc.?

Yes! Eclipse-related merchandise can be purchased at the park bookstore at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center.

Where can I get eclipse safety glasses?

The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center, and the Huffman Prairie will have safe solar viewing glasses for free on the day of the eclipse.

Does the park have an ink cancellation and a sticker stamp for my National Parks passport book?

Yes! The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center has the ink cancellation and stick stamp in the bookstore right now, and the Huffman Prairie Flying Field will have a cancellation on Eclipse Day.

Can I bring my pet?

Pets are allowed on the grounds but must always remain on a leash. Pets are not allowed in any of the buildings.

What happens if it is cloudy on the day of the Eclipse?

There will still be plenty of fun! The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center will have two experts from the NASA SCoPE program giving talks about the Eclipse throughout the day and a NASA livestream of the Eclipse from southern Texas. The Junior Ranger Eclipse Explorer program will also still be available.

Learn More About Solar Eclipses

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    Last updated: April 12, 2024

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    16 South Williams Street
    Dayton, OH 45402


    937 225-7705

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