Cities from LA to Memphis and Chicago and New York to Washington DC and Atlanta are celebrating MLK Day today, the third Monday of January. The day has been officially observed to honor the civil rights leader in all 50 states since 2000. It is an American federal holiday so schools, banks, post office and some business are closed.
Celebrations to honor Martin Luther King Jr range from service projects and parades to concerts and free museum visits.
If in DC go to the Marin Luther King Jr Memorial and watch the Peace Parade from 11 a.m to noon ET on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Milwaukee Place. The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade features musical performances, dancers, and members of civil rights organizations fighting for equal rights.
If in Chicago, you can spend quality time at one of the following events:
Look up the night of Jan 20 into morning of Jan 21. You won’t need a telescope or special glasses. It’s a “Supermoon,” “Wolfmoon,” “Bloodmoon. Ooh, it’s disappearing.
About midnight, CT, the full moon will have fully moved in its orbit between the earth and the sun. so it won’t be reflecting the sun’s rays. The total eclipse will last a long time – an hour.
The Adler Planetarium site lists Central Times for when it begins and happens as partial eclipse starting at 9:34 pm, and total eclipse from 10:41 to 11:43 pm, Jan. 20. Then watch as the moon emerges from behind the earth Jan.l 21.
In Universal Time the eclipse will last almost 3½ hours from the beginning of the partial phase at 3:34 UT until it ends at 6:51 UT. Totality lasts 63 minutes, from 4:41 to 5:44 UT.
So why “Supermoon?” “The moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle,” said Adler Director of Public Observing Michelle Nichols. “Sometimes it is closer to earth so it looks larger,” Nichols said. She noted that the closest it will come near the eclipse will be during the day of Jan. 21 at 1:59 p.m. She calls the appearance of the rising moon seeming to loom large, “an optical illusion.”
She suggested viewers use the thumb test. “Put an arm straight out and cover the moon with your thumb. Then, do it again later when the moon is over head. It will be the same size.”
“Bloodmoon” is a term describing the moon’s color during total eclipse. “Sometimes it looks brick red, sometimes grayish. The sunlight is reflecting at the edge of the earth. The earth has blotted out the blue of the sun so sometimes it could be reddish sometimes grayish. It also depends on how dusty the earth’s atmosphere is,” Nichols said.
“Wolfmoon” is a term for the first full moon of the year, acquired over the years similar to Harvest Moon and Hunter Moon. It also has other names such as Ice Moon according to Time and Date
which explains that people often named the full moons according to the seasons and the phenomena they associated with its time of year.
Where to Watch
View outside your abode. See it happening inside on a live stream at Time and Date Live which will be streaming the event on its site.
But to appreciate and enjoy the lunar eclipse with astronomers go over to the Adler for “Lunapalooza.” The outside observing part is free. Inside events, adults $12, children $8 (members free) include seeing the new Adler show “Imagine the Moon” which charts how people considered the moon over the centuries. Lunar eclipse
Whether coming from out of town or the suburbs, spending a weekend downtown Chicago is such a treat you’ll want to make it an annual outing.
To help with the decisions because there’s so much to do and see, here’s a two-day guide (you probably settled in to your hotel last night) of steps and options.
Choose a hotel close enough to walk to many sights shows and bus stops.
The CTA (Chicago Transit Authority has routes that can take you as close as the Magnificent Mile of North Michigan and as far as the Museum of Science and Industry near Hyde Park. St. Jane Hotel on Michigan Avenue would be an example because it is just south of the Chicago River so the North Michigan Avenue shops are within walking distance going north, it is an easy walk north to Millennium Park with its famed Cloud Gate sculpture (The Bean) where visitors take selfies, plus the Art Institute of Chicago and the Theatre District. And it is near a good bus stop.
But check other hotels and prices at the city’s tourism website, Choose Chicago.
Figure out which shows you would like to see so you can snag tickets for those you want at times you want.
As an example Goodman Theatre is once again doing “A Christmas Carol” with terrific scene design and actors and The Joffrey Ballet is doing “The Nutcracker” with exciting choreography and sets that debuted in 2017.
Find show options at League of Chicago Theatres’ site Chicago Plays
Remember to fit in downtime and coffee breaks so you and yours go home smiling, not exhausted.
Two-day weekend divided by location
Day One: South of the Chicago River
Do breakfast at Free Rein, a French brasserie with a patisserie up front that has great croissants but the restaurant also does omelets, oat meal, smoothies and other dishes. Free Rein is at 224 N. Michigan Ave. attached to St Jane Hotel.
After relaxing over coffee, stroll west and south a couple of blocks to Macy’s at State and Randolph Streets to see how the department store decorated its State Street windows this year. Cross State Street to catch the #146 Museum Campus bus on the west side of State Street, and the north side of Washington Street. At he Museum Campus you can see the dinosaurs and mummies at The Field Museum , Penguins and dolphins at the Shedd Aquarium and the Destination Solar System show at the Adler Planetarium.
Tip: The museums have shops that are good for picking up last minute gifts.
Catch the #146 bus back to State and Randolph in front of Macy’s to go up to its Walnut Room on the 7th floor for lunch and to see its three-story tree.
If you couldn’t get a reservation for the Walnut Room, you probably can sit in the bar to the side and do lunch there.
After breakfast cross Michigan Avenue at Randolph Street to walk through Millennium Park, take photos at “The Bean,”hen walk up the Nichols Bridgeway, a walkway from the park’s “Great Lawn” that goes over Monroe Street to the 3rd floor of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing.You have a good view of the skyline and the park if you turn around. The Art Institute doesn’t open until 10:30 a.m. so linger over coffee or picture taking at Millennium Park.
Along with seeing famous paintings, visit the Art Institute’s Thorne Rooms. About seven of the approximately 100 miniature period rooms are decorated for the holidays. But all of them are fascinating.
Tip: Shops in the Art Institute’s main building and modern wing have great gifts.
Take a break with hot chocolate or soup on the mezzanine of the Modern Wing or do lunch at the Park Grill at street level of Millennium Park to watch ice skaters. Or visit the Chicago Architecture Center on Wacker Drive. Its diorama on the main floor shows the Chicago Fire and architectural places of interest. The exhibit upstairs is about skyscrapers. Both exhibits are superb and Chicago is internationally known for its architecture.
Return to the hotel to relax before heading out for cocktails, dinner and a show or go ice skating in Millennium Park followed by a casual dinner at The Gage across Michigan Avenue from the park.
If going to the Goodman Theatre to see “A Christmas Carol” consider making a reservation next door at Petterinos. The restaurant has excellent calamari and a reasonable wine list.
Day Two: North of the Chicago River
Do breakfast at Pierrot Gourmet, a European-style café and bistro similar to Free Rein but this restaurant is attached to the Peninsula Chicago Hotel at Superior and Rush Streets. If you can’t decide on ordering a dish on the menu or trying one of the pastries, eat there and take something to go. The Peninsula Chicago overlooks the Magnificent Mile
Browse the shops on the Magnificent Mile. There are individual stores such as Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany, department stores such as Bloomingdales and Nordstrom and indoor malls such as Water Tower Place, the 900 North Michigan Shops and the Shops at Northbridge.
Take a lunch break at Marisol, a new, neighborhood dining spot that is street level at the Museum of Contemporary Art a block east of Michigan Avenue. The dishes are innovative and yummy. Marisol is at 205 E. Pearson, a block east of Water Tower Place.
Restaurant access has no museum charge. However, there is a wonderful exhibit of Enrico David’s work, “Gradations of Slow Release” at the museum that is definitely worth a look
There are restaurants and food stands at the zoo. When through saying goodnight to the penguins and polar bear, head back to the hotel for a well-deserved night cap and rest.
Shop until ready to go into the John Hancock Center just north of Water tower Place for great views of the city. Take the elevator up to the 96th floor for cocktails and view or to the Signature Room on the 95th for dinner and a view. Reservations are a good idea.
The next time a total solar eclipse crosses the United States isn’t that far off. It’s April 8, 2024
If you didn’t have a chance to experience totality on Aug. 21, 2017 you might want to plan where you want to see it next time. Even if you don’t go you might know someone who will. So save those eclipse glasses if lucky enough to have a pair.
Carbondale, IL will again be dead center when the eclipse path crosses the United States. But the path of the 2024 total solar eclipse will cut the opposite direction. It will go from Mexico in the southwest to Maine in the northeast as it moves across Texas, Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, New York and Vermont.
Consider then, taking a spring vacation in Austin or Dallas Texas, Indianapolis, Toledo or Cleveland, Ohio or the Buffalo, Niagara Falls area or even Montreal. Chicago won’t be in the direct total solar eclipse path until Sept. 14, 2099.
To go now to walk across the map visit Adler Planetarium’s “Chasing Eclipses” exhibit. It has a terrific floor map of the total solar eclipse path for 2017, 2024 and 2099.
The Adler also has a total solar eclipse experience at one end of the exhibit complete with cooler air, expected sounds and a good visual eclipse.
Why experience totality
The following quote from Adler Astronomer Larry Ciupik, the Doane Observatory director, describes what he saw in Capo San Lucas, Mexico July 1991.
“It didn’t matter how much I knew about it or prepared for it, my first total solar eclipse was unexpected and unlike anything I’ve ever seen!” Ciupik said on an Adler web site.
He went on to explain. “In the last few seconds before totality, the sky darkened to a deep blue, then purple, and faint wavering lines appeared—shadow bands—whisking across the sand of our beachside site. Suddenly, the Sun itself dramatically changed. I took off my special solar viewing filter and saw what looked like a hole in the sky surrounded by a pearlescent glow. The Sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, resembled outstretched wings several times wider than the hole on each side.”
Also, totality will last longer on its path. It will range from three minutes plus seconds to four minutes plus seconds over most of the United States in April 2024 instead of the two minutes plus seconds it did in August 2017. For the 2024 path click here and at Time and Date.
To figure the time of the eclipse in the city you want to visit check its latitude and longitude then go to NASA Path.
The information is thanks to NASA and Fred Espenak. The numbers are in Universal Time so for central daylight time subtract 5 hours and eastern daylight time subtract 4 hours.
“Chasing Eclipses”is up now through through Jan. 8, 2018. The Adler Planetarium is on the Museum campus at 1300 South Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60605. For ticket and other information visit Adler Planetarium and call (312) 922-7827.
Just about everyone in the Chicago area knows that the moon will block out most of the sun midday, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.
And most of them have heard that they need the certified glasses to watch the event or watch through a hole aimed at the ground where they see the event’s shadow.
Chicago will be in about 87 percent darkness during the height of the eclipse by 1:19 p.m. which is enough to feel the temperature change and that night has come.
So, the question is where to watch. Certainly Chicago’s TV channels, including WGN, will be broadcasting. But to experience the event with others check the places listed here and your local library, park district, forest preserve district or junior college.
Adler Planetarium on the Museum campus at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, provides the best overall experience because along with giving out the proper glasses at no charge, it will have free general admission so visitors can see its “Chasing Eclipses exhibit. The Adler will also have lots of outdoor activities. For details visit Adler Eclipse Fest.
Chicago Botanic Garden at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, is holding a viewing party from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Esplanade and in the Krasberg Rose Garden. The event includes free solar glasses (one per family while supplies last) that will begin distribution at 10 a.m. There will also be other activities. For details visit Botanic Garden Eclipse.
Chicago Park District will host eclipse events at 20 parks and include glasses provided by the Adler Planetarium until they run out. For park locations visit Chicago Park District Eclipse.
Chicago Public Library will host viewing events at several branches. For the one nearest you click CPL Events.
Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston, will have a viewing party at its main location on Orrington Avenue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more details visit EPL.
Lake County Forest Preserve District has a solar eclipse viewing party at Ryerson Woods, 21950 N. Riverwoods Rd, Riverwoods, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.. It’s free and for all ages but adult supervisions required for children.. Viewing will be by indirect projection. Viewer supplies and instruction available. Visit LCFP.
Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville is having a viewing picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Naperville residents and members free. General admission is $5. Bring lunch. Limited space so first come basis. Viewing glasses are complementary. More information at NaperSettlement.
Park District of Oak Park and Oak Park Public Library will host a viewing party at Scoville Park, 800 Lake St., Oak Park. They will have some solar glasses and instruction on pinhole viewers. If conditions dictate the event will be at the library. For more information visit PDOP.
If standing in the right place at the right time, your world will start to get cooler as the sun seems to disappear. Then, it will be dark and chilly. And no, you won’t be watching a sci-fi movie or be experiencing the end of the world as described in mythology. You will be experiencing a total solar eclipse.
Unless you plan to be in the south Pacific or South America on Dec. 14, 2020 or in Dallas, Indianapolis or Cleveland, April 8, 2024, your best bet to experience a total solar eclipse is in the United States Aug. 21, 2017 along a diagonal path from Salem, Oregon in the northwest through Carbondale, IL in the Midwest to Charleston, South Carolina in the southeast.
Direct Time and Place
In the Midwest, people who travel to Carbondale in southern Illinois will see the moon totally blocking the sun for about 2 minutes and 41.6 sec. It’s actually safe to look when the sun is totally covered then. but not before or afterwards. If you don’t think that’s a long time to be in the dark try watching a clock tick off the seconds.
Carbondale, home of Southern Illinois University, is one of the best places to go to because of the long blockage beginning at 1:20 p.m. CDT and because it is one of NASA’s official sites. The Adler will have an event in Carbondale where astronomers and eclipse chasers will converge. Total coverage last about 2 minutes and 42 seconds.
You can draw your own line on a map from Salem, OR to Charleston, SC to see what other towns are in the eclipse path. Even though the blockage won’t be as long as in Carbonadale they will have a total eclipse. The towns along the path are all expecting visitors so are hosting eclipse events.
For example for Oregon visit Salem, Madras and Oregon for festivals, where to stay and what to do. If near Salem the eclipse is at 10:19 a.m. PDT and lasts 2 min, 4 sec.
For Carbondale, go to SIU. Totality there happens at 1:20 CDT. Also check out Charleston where the eclipse ends on US soil. Charleston is in the dark for about one minute, 40 seconds. For other places in South Carolina visit Great American Eclipse SC .
Accommodations have been going fast along the eclipse path so if planning to travel to a city where there will be total darkness don’t wait to find a place to stay whether camping or looking for an inn.
Those places mentioned are dead center on the path but that doesn’t mean you wont have a great eclipse moment several miles away.
In Chicago, the moon will begin blocking the sun about 11:54 a.m.CDT, reach maximum coverage about 1:30 p.m. and be all the way through by 2:30 p.m.
“While it won’t be absolute total blockage in Chicago, the city will experience a 90 percent eclipse,” said Adler Planetarium astronomer Larry Ciupik. And that is with Chicago located about a six and a half hour drive north of Carbondale.
Thousands of people are expected to join the Adler’s watching party, according to Ciupik. Proper glasses will be handed out until the supply is gone. For the Adler’s big eclipse bash visit Adler Eclipse. For official NASA viewing sites visit NASA Event Locations.
It’s not OK to look while the moon is moving across the sun even when a little bit of the sun is peeking out. Looking at the sun when there is not total blockage will damage the eyes. See NASA for more eclipse information and NASA Safety for viewing tips.
You have to use certified glasses to watch. Another way is to look at the events shadow on the ground by turning your back to the sun and making a peep hole with your hands, one in front of the other as described on the NASA safety site.
So take advantage of the event by making it a summer vacation but don’t wait to make arrangements.
The kids are saying yea, no school for a week. But what’s a parent to do when there is more to plan for than a weekend outing?
From a tomb and T Rex to penguins and planets, the Museum Campus has lots to keep families fascinated for an entire day.
Penguin antics also make visitors chuckle at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Lego is a hit at the Museum of Science and Industry and at the Legoland Discovery Center in west suburban Schaumburg.
The Centennial Wheel and musical play equipment are awesome at Navy Pier. Check them out and enjoy.
Explore Chicago’s Museum Campus
Youngsters don’t all like the same things but on Chicago’s Museum Campus at the south east end of the downtown, you can probably satisfy two different interests if you plan carefully.
Children fascinated by mummies, dinosaurs and native American tribal life will love the Field Museum while adults will likely want to detour over to its gem exhibit.
Anyone who likes penguins or pretty much anything live that moves through water will want to stop at the Shedd Aquarium across from The Field.
Budding astronomers and space explorer wannabes will want to go to the Adler Planetarium that’s further down the museum campus’ arm.
Families might be able to take in some of two places but really shouldn’t try to do all three museums on the same day.
Tip: While on the museum campus walk past the aquarium towards the planetarium .then turn around and look at the city. This is where journalists take photos of the skyline and TV broadcasters go for a super camera op of Chicago’s skyline. Your photo will look like you are out in a boat on Lake Michigan because you are on a peninsula.
Put on your minor’s hat or thinking cap at the Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry south of downtown should satisfy all interests from its coal mine experience, Lego exhibit and futuristic thinking room to Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, the Great Train Story’s model railroads and the Mirror Maze.
Tip: On April 8 and 9 and April 15, you can also see special Robotics week events.
You play at Navy Pier
Navy Pier, a 3,300 foot long entertainment pier jutting into Lake Michigan from Illinois Street east of the Mag Mile is home to the Chicago Children’s Museum, a Ferris-type ride called the Centennial Wheel that is almost 200 feet high and ethnic festivals in its Crystal Garden.
Tip: There is also an IMAX Theater so check out its film schedule. Plus do ‘Impulse: An Interactive Art Exhibit,’ in the Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier, now through May 21. It’s a light and sound experience where visitors can try out seesaws and other play equipment that produce different tones and colors when activated.
Watch animals play at the zoo
Stroll through Lincoln Park Zoo to see two new, polar opposite, animal habitats: South African penguins in their cozy cove (It’s not icy) and Arctic polar bears in a coldly comfortable place.
Tip: The zoo and its Lincoln Park environment are fun places to spend a day so plan on eating at Park Place Café which has Mexican, Italian dishes and burgers or if warm enough, the roof top Café at Wild Things above the Wild Things gift store. .
Discover what can be done with Legos
From things to ride, play with and see in 4D to Star Wars episodes to experience, there is an entire Lego world at the Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg, Entry and experiences are ticketed so plan ahead because tickets are timed to prevent overcrowding, particularly during winter and spring vacation breaks.
Tip: Online tickets save money so check it out at Tickets.
From top museums to university programs and volunteer projects there are lots of places to spend time off work or school on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 16, 2017.
MLK Day celebrates the birthday of the famed civil rights leader (Jan. 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) on the third Monday of January. It is a federal holiday so most schools and banks are closed and there won’t be any U. S. Postal deliveries.
However, Chicago’s museums are open and several are offering free general admission to Illinois residents. In addition, some of them have extended free general admission to other days the third week of January.
On the Museum Campus, that arm sticking out from Lake Shore Drive in Lake Michigan at 12th Street, look for the Adler Planetarium at the far eastern end at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.
The Shedd Aquarium sits in the middle of the arm at 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive and The Field Museum is by the entrance to the campus at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive.
The Art Institute of Chicago has free programs in its Ryan Learning Center from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.. They range from performances and stories to art projects. Check out the day’s schedule here. Visitors for these programs enter the Modern Wing entrance at 159 E. Monroe St. to go to the Learning Center. The museum is also free all day for Illinois Residents. Main entrance is at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
Several suburbs have volunteer projects taking place on MLK Day. Check your suburb.
On the North Shore, Highland Park has invited Illinois Secretary of State Jess White who was a student of Dr. King, and the Jesse White Tumblers to appear. In addition, the town has several service projects. The Recreation Center of Highland Park is the headquarters for the events. They run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. See HP for details.
The Village of Deerfield is collecting supplies for the homeless and has organized service projects. The Deerfield Village Hall is headquarters for a Day of Service from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For details click Deerfield.
The university has programs at its Evanston and Chicago Campuses
A play by Allie Woodson about what it means to be young, gifted and black is performed Jan. 13 at 7:30pm and Jan. 14 at 2and 7:30 p.m. at Shanley Pavilion, 2031 Sheridan Rd.
“Social Movements for Racial Justice: From the Chicago Freedom Movement to Black Lives Matter” is Jan. 21, 10 a.m. in Fisk Hall 217, 1845 Sheridan Rd. The program is an intergenerational presentation and discussion about racial justice movements in Chicago over the last 50 years. Authors of the book The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King and Civil Rights Activism in the North will share personal experiences marching with Dr. King..
NASA astronaut Mae Jamison, a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, gives a keynote address Jan. 23, at 6 p.m.p.m. in the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive.
NASA astronaut Mae Jamison will speak Jan. at noon at the Hughes Auditorium, 303 E. Superior St.