CHICAGO (CBS) — The Adler Planetarium was promising the biggest block party in Chicago on Monday to view the solar eclipse.
The planetarium said Monday’s eclipse is their Super Bowl, and who watches the Super Bowl alone? The Adler is hosting a big party for the special event on the lakefront.
Food trucks, bands, and other partners from around the city will help celebrate the eclipse.
The parking lot was packed with spectators waiting to enjoy various activities leading up to the eclipse.
Several hours before the rare event, visitors were forming what seemed like a never-ending line to get those coveted eclipse glasses outside the Planetarium. The first person in line arrived at 3:30 a.m., waiting six hours to get her free pair.
“It feels like unity, it feels nice, definitely what Chicago needs,” Nancy Quiroz said.
By the time the Adler began passing out the glasses at 9:30 a.m., the line stretched all the way past the Shedd Aquarium and Soldier Field, curving around the sprawling Museum Campus.
Edith Rivera and her family were second in line. Rivera she looked practically everywhere for glasses before Monday’s eclipse, but kept coming up empty, so the Adler viewing party was her last option.
While not quite as long, there also was a big line for glasses at Daley Plaza, for a satellite viewing party. There the line wrapped all the way from the corner of Washington and Clark, around the Randolph side of Daley Plaza, and back down Dearborn to the Picasso statue.
The first person in line said he arrived at 3:45 a.m., even though glasses were not scheduled to be passed out until 11:30 a.m. However, with all the people waiting in line, officials started handing them out about half an hour early.
The Adler also launched two high-altitude weather balloons from Missouri, to record video of the eclipse from above the clouds.
“This was helped designed by our teen interns. Our teen interns really helped design this experiment, and hopefully today we’ll be taking a live feed that comes from those balloons, and showing it to all of our friends that are going to be partying with us,” said Adler curator of experience Annie Vedder.
The party at the Planetarium will include events for kids of all ages, as well as adults.
“We have a stage with a band. We have some demonstrations from Mad Science happening. The Postal Service is going to be here to unveil their really cool new solar eclipse stamp,” spokeswoman Sarah Cole said.
When the eclipse begins around 11:54, a narrator will be on stage to take visitors through the event.
“Once we get the moment of greatest eclipse here, which will be about 87 percent, we’re going to have somebody again reminding everybody to look, but then we’re also going to be broadcasting what’s happening in Carbondale. So we will be able to show totality. We’ll be having some footage from our Horizons balloon, as well as some of the NASA footage,” spokeswoman Sarah Cole said.
Because it’s expected to be a very warm day, the Adler also will be broadcasting a live stream of the eclipse indoors in their theater. Visitors also can check out their Chasing Eclipses exhibit, which shows how scientists have predicted eclipses in the past, and includes a simulation of a total eclipse.
The planetarium also will have staff at Daley Plaza for a satellite viewing party, including telescopes to watch the moon block out the sun.