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McDonald Observatory

Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
432-426-3640
Website
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Ranked #1 of 6 attractions in Fort Davis
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Observatories/ Planetariums
Activities: Dining, Shopping
Traveler Description: This is a must-see if you are in the area!  Spectacular views from all levels.  The Star Party is both informative and awesome - checking out the... more »
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372 reviews from our community

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English first
Houston, Texas
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014 NEW

It's been many years since we traveled to the Fort Davis area so when we decided to visit again, we definitely made plans to visit the Observatory. Registered online for the tours a few days before we left on our trip. The speakers made each of the presentations entertaining as well as educational. The new (to us) visitors center, amphitheater... More

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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2014 NEW

The McDonald observatory offers many activities, including Star Parties, Telescope Tours, Real-Time Viewing, Lectures, etc. We enjoyed a tour of the entire observatory, including an opportunity to operate the 107 inch telescope. We attended a presentation on solar astrophysics, including real-time viewing and exploration of features on the sun, all seen on a large screen in the comfort of an... More

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Grand Prairie, Texas
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2014

My wife and I enjoyed the sites of Fort Davis and it's spectacular scenery but the trip to the McDonald Observatory was the icing on the cake. We attended the Star Party on a clear crisp evening when the stars lit up the sky. Our journey began with a presentation in the indoor auditorium that touched on the history of... More

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San Antonio, Texas
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

The first Star Party I attended was in 1992. It was very simple--a couple of UT graduate students, a few amateur astronomers with their personal telescopes and a group of visitors. There was no amphitheater, no gift shop, no cafe, no multimedia auditorium and no admission charge. It was most enjoyable. Since that night, I have attended four more, the... More

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Hays County, Texas, United States
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
4 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

Dark skies, low-light pollution, high elevation make for great viewing. Nice info/ed center, with day tours to the big scope, and evening 'Star Parties' to see the universe and beyond.

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Houston, Texas
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

When we went, we had made reservations for the star party, but the sky was too cloudy. The Observatory provided several presentations as a substitute, and each was very helpful. An alternative was rain-checks, but we weren't sure when we would return. The staff is learned, helpful, and willing and able to answer questions. The gift shop has nice mementos,... More

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Sheffield, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 29, 2014

Skies were pretty cloudy when we arrived, but the staff were friendly, welcoming and tried there best to show us the night sky through gaps in the clouds. Saturn and Mars were out, as well as being pointed out an iridium flare and the International Space Station passing. Big green laser pointers to circle the area of the sky we... More

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Pensacola, Florida
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
22 attraction reviews
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2014

We spent $12 per ticket on the star party, and were disappointed. We get the same views by participating in our local astronomy club. Very crowded, you waited in lines at five different telescopes. A star party is not a trip to the mountain top to look through the big telescopes. The scopes are housed in observatory miniatures around an... More

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McDonald_Obs, Manager at McDonald Observatory, responded to this review

While you obviously visited our site to purchase your passes, you apparently missed quite a bit of other information. We're quite clear on where the Star Parties take place and with what equipment. If, as you've indicated, you visited in June, there hasn't been a night (except when it was raining or cloudy) when we've had fewer than 7 or... More

Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 24, 2014

My husband and I visited the observatory this past weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am not a big fan of astronomy but this was very fun for me. :)

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McDonald_Obs, Manager at McDonald Observatory, responded to this review

Many thanks for your short and to-the-point review. It's nice to see that even folks who don't believe that astronomy is for them can enjoy their experience at the Observatory! More

Austin, Texas
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
10 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2014

Situated in the prettiest part of Texas, McDonald Observatory is a place every Texan must see. We attended the twilight program, the star party and had reservations for an evening of viewing on the 36" telescope. Unfortunately the clouds did not cooperate and the visibility was fair at best. But what we did see was awesome. We are already planning... More

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