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Rare Total Solar Eclipse Coming to the Crane Trust

Every spring, the Crane Trust is home to the overwhelming migration of over half-a-million Sandhill Cranes but this summer, on Monday, August 21st, the Crane Trust will also be home to a rare total solar eclipse.

The Crane Trust has partnered with SolFest to host an eclipse viewing unlike any other. Located on historic prairie, away from the lights of the city, guests are anticipated to experience a clear view of the sky directly in the path of totality.

“The millions of people who are expected to witness the astronomical event won’t show up just because solar eclipses are exceedingly beautiful — they’re also exceedingly rare,” said Lon Tweeten and Jeffrey Kluger from As the sun, moon, and earth align, those at the Crane Trust will experience darkness at midday for 2 minutes and 33 seconds – one of the longest times in the nation. This Great American Eclipse is the first to touch the state of Nebraska since 1954 and the last to touch the state until 2106.

People have traveled to remote deserts, desolate lands, and open oceans to be in the path of totality for a total solar eclipse. Those wishing to experience totality for the 2017 Great American Eclipse need only to visit the Crane Trust. The Crane Trust’s Nature & Visitor Center (CTNVC) is conveniently located just off Exit 305 on Interstate-80 at 9325 South Alda Rd, Wood River, NE 68883. Make sure to make your plans in advance and don’t underestimate the traffic that will be flowing into the area to witness this rare event.

At the CTNVC, guests can expect to find interactive educational displays, the Crimson Crown gift shop, the Hornaday Art Gallery, a herd of genetically pure bison, a lookout tower, bridges over the Platte River, and, of course, the wide open prairie with miles of trails from which to view the eclipse.

The event itself can last about three hours so guests are encouraged to bring chairs, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, bug spray, and water. Admission is free. There will be bbq lunches, courtesy of HyVee, available for purchase. Guests can also bring their own food and drink, but are encouraged to “pack it in, pack it out” in order to help maintain the cleanliness of the CTNVC’s trail system. Be prepared to view the eclipse safely with certified eclipse glasses, which are available for purchase at the CTNVC for $2 while supplies last. There is no smoking, alcohol, bicycles, or motorized vehicles allowed on any of the Crane Trust’s trails. Public restrooms will be available. Due to extremely limited parking at the Crane Trust, SolFest will be offering shuttles from Hastings. For more updates, join our event on Facebook.

The CTNVC will be open on Saturday and Sunday, August 19th and 20th from 9:00am to 5:00pm, and will be open on Monday, August 21st from 7:00am to 5:00pm. The schedule for the day of the eclipse is:

10:00am: Speaker, Diana Nevins, with the Omaha Astronomical Society will discuss the science behind the eclipse, what to expect when viewing the eclipse, as well as safe viewing techniques

11:34am: Beginning of partial eclipse

12:58.23 – 1:00.56: Total eclipse (2 minutes and 33 seconds in totality)

2:26pm: End of partial eclipse

We hope you choose to join us on the prairie for this once in a lifetime experience!