Gans Creek Recreation Area

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COLUMBIA - People from around the country are migrating to get a better view of the total solar eclipse. The Great American Eclipse estimates between 1.85 and 7.4 million will be traveling into the path of the total eclipse, with upwards of 1.2 million coming to Missouri.

Some people have even crossed borders to get here for the eclipse. Tom Smart and his friends made the 10 hour drive from Ajax, Ontario to get a premier view of the eclipse.

"Some of us have seen a few eclipses already, total solar eclipses," Smart said. "Guys like me, we've never seen one before so we're really excited to see this big event of nature. We're not sure what it's gonna be, but we're excited to see it."

Smart and his friends made the trip with telescopes and cameras in the trunk of their SUV for the ultimate viewing experience.

"We talked to the parks and rec people and they said the folks who are really serious with cameras and telescopes or anything like that are gonna be here at Gans Park," Smart said. "So we thought we'd do the observing here and the head over to Cosmo for the festivities."

But Smart and his friends aren't the only viewers from out of the country. Hideshi Matsumoto traveled over 6,000 miles from Japan to see the eclipse in Columbia.

"It was a long flight, but tomorrow's eclipse is my first experience, so I'm very excited," Matsumoto said.

While Matsumoto has a telescope and camera like most viewers, his plans during the eclipse are a bit unique.

"I'm taking a movie (of the eclipse) from above. I'm using a minature drone from Japan," Matsumoto said.

Gans Creek Recreation Area is the preferred destination for serious eclipse viewers, but Missouri State Parks is also using the area for a six-hour hike culminating with viewing the eclipse from a bluff-top.