NASHVILLE — While clouds briefly obscured the view of the sun from the Nashville zoo as Monday’s partial eclipse began, it quickly reemerged and remained unobstructed throughout the afternoon, including the entire two minutes of totality.
Nearly 7,000 people came to the zoo for the eclipse, according to spokesman Jim Bartoo. Traffic and parking were unexpectedly manageable. The zoo’s safety team had to assist a couple people suffering from the symptoms related to the high temperature and humidity, but Bartoo said that’s normal for any summer day at the Tennessee zoo.
George Foutch, 50, a chauffeur from nearby Joelton, said it was “without a doubt worth it” to take the day off and spend it at the zoo with his 8-year-old son Garrett.
“It was incredible,” Garrett Foutch said. “I hadn’t seen one before. There were two facts I didn’t realize. The shadows coming through the trees were sickle-shaped, and also right before and after totality there was shimmering on the ground due to the uneven surface of the moon.”
Foutch said he was interested to notice owls start to wake up, sheep start to go to sleep, and cows continue to eat as if nothing was happening.
Many zoo employees took a break from work to gather in their parking lot for totality. While they weren’t near any exotic animals, they did report seeing bats emerge and increased insect activity. Carolyn Diaz, 30, a member of the human resources department, had less effusive feelings about the eclipse, which she said produced a “weird, drunk feeling.”
“I felt very off-kilter,” Diaz said. “It felt like when you feel very weak and overtired and off-balance. It was beautiful, but weird. I’m ready for this day to be over.”