ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Hundreds of people, determined to be part of an ecological event, crowded into the Science Museum of Minnesota Monday for a solar eclipse viewing party.

The outdoor terraces on the third, fifth and sixth floors were jam packed with people, most of whom arrived in time to receive a pair of viewing sunglasses up to specifications to block damaging ultraviolet rays.

Those who didn't have the right eyewear shared with one another, or used a postcard with a pinhole to project the shadow of the eclipse onto another postcard.

Indoors several "solar system ambassadors" could be found explaining NASA's live video feed of the event, and engaging children in homemade rocket propulsion experiments.

There were also tattoo stations where children could get temporary tattoos showing the stages of the eclipse. Throughout the afternoon kids could be seen pointing to the spots on their arm tattoos that matched the phase of the eclipse at that moment.

Minnesota was too far north to be in "totality" territory, and the clouds moved in and put a damper on the party while the moon was still blocking the sun.

But it didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the people who showed up to be part of a common experience, of watching the heavens and reacting as the moon seemed to change the shape of the sun.

"It looks like a crescent moon, only it's a crescent sun!" one middle schooler declared.

And when the sun did peak out of the clouds from time to time, a wave of excitement would move through the crowd, manifested by exclamations.

"It was an awesome experience," one parent told KARE, "And that's why we really wanted the kids to be here for this."