Sundial, Bok Tower Gardens popular for eclipse-watchers

- While the Bay Area didn't get the full effect of the solar eclipse Monday, residents came out to see the moon partially cover the sun anyway. 

In Polk County, Bok Tower Gardens was the place to be. It's the highest spot in central Florida and there's plenty of space to sprawl out and look skyward. Within 15 minutes of opening, the gardens gave out 400 sets of glasses to watch the eclipse and 1,000 people showed up throughout the day. That's triple the number that would normally turn out. 

Many of the spectators were kids who will have great memories for years to come.

"It was first like a Pac-Man, and then it was turning into a smiley face and then a very small smile," 8-year-old Ethan Paynter described.

In Pinellas County, where else to watch the sun eclipsed by the moon than the Sundial? 

People waited in line for hours to get free eclipse-watching glasses. Some were enthusiastic about seeing this once-in-a-lifetime celestial event.

Others were just happy for the opportunity to have a little party during the workday Monday.

“Cocktails and the eclipse! A great mix!” one woman said.

Signs were posted throughout the area warning folks to only look at the sun through approved eyewear. Some skipped the direct approach, looking at the shadow through cereal boxes and iPhone screens.

One thing is certain: The shops at Sundial saw an increase in revenue over their typical Monday afternoon.

Perhaps the best part of this event was the collective pause taken by people across the country to experience the eclipse as one.

“This is history! I probably won’t be here for the next one,” one man said. 

If you missed it, don't worry. There's going to be another one. But not until 2024.

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