We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

McDonald Observatory

Certificate of Excellence
Improve this listing
Sponsored by:
Map
Satellite
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Your filters are still active.
There are no pins in your viewport. Try moving the map or changing your filters.
Sponsored by:
Get directions
Address: 3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
Phone Number: +1 432-426-3640
Website
Today
10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Activities: Dining, Shopping
Description: The McDonald Observatory Visitors Center staff appreciate all of the...
The McDonald Observatory Visitors Center staff appreciate all of the positive reviews (and even some of the negative ones, too!) that well-meaning and well-intentioned visitors have left over the years. However, we feel that TripAdvisor does not provide anywhere close to the level of management tools needed to combat the misinformation that routinely is provided by, again, well-intentioned visitors to others visiting its pages. With no way other than the "management response" feature to cull and corral the sometimes wildly misleading information posted on these pages, we feel that using TripAdvisor for anything beyond getting the general feel of the establishment is pointless.
read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 538 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 403
    Excellent
  • 92
    Very good
  • 25
    Average
  • 10
    Poor
  • 8
    Terrible
Twilight Program and Star Party

Both these events, which are held several times each month, are fascinating and informative. There is a "virtual tour" of the night sky held in the observatory's theater, followed... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed July 5, 2015
Bill T
,
San Antonio, Texas
Add Photo Write a Review

538 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Your overall rating of this attraction
Roll over, then click to rate
  Click to rate
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2015 NEW

Both these events, which are held several times each month, are fascinating and informative. There is a "virtual tour" of the night sky held in the observatory's theater, followed by an evening under the stars with a guide or instructor pointing out various features overhead. It is an experience not to be missed.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Kerrville, Texas
Level Contributor
90 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015 NEW

Absolutely a must see for all. Good public outreach. This sis a very well organized effort to help explain astronomy.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Richmond, TX, USA
Level Contributor
91 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015 NEW

We almost didn't make it to this observatory b/c a Tripadvisor poster said road was "challenging". I prefer not to drive at night and since this was a vacation, I wanted to keep stress to a minimum. I assure you there is NOTHING to worry about. Roads are in excellent condition, with wide shoulders, soft curves and no dangerous fallouts.... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
123 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015 NEW

We purchased in line in advance our tickets for the night time observatory "star show" at the McDonald Observatory. Cloudy weather led to cancellation, but the communications were strangely incomplete...we sat for 30 minutes trying to figure out what the plans were and when my wife finally asked the "star watch" guy with the microphone what was happening, his somewhat... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2015 NEW

Our group included ages 10 to 75, and although we all enjoyed it a great deal, it is probably best suited for those that come in with both an interest in the heavens, plus vigorous enough to withstand a little walking and some cool temp for stretch. That's a pretty broad range and, if you fall within then it can... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2015 NEW

So worth the trip! We saw both large telescopes along with amazing solar pics. Can't wait for the next trip and something new to see.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2015 NEW

Our family did the telescope tour, the sun tour, the twilight tour and the star party. We learned so much in the afternoon and evening that we went. Each of the tours were informative and were given by interesting people that truly are invested in the continual work that goes on at the observatory. We purchased tickets in advance online,... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
Alpine, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 attraction reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015 NEW

This observatory is by far one of the finest facilities in the country. Just a fantastic place to see all the constellations, and anything else you desire to see.

Was this review helpful? Yes
West Texas
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2015 NEW

Fort Davis is known for its dark skies, and that's why this observatory is here. The star party was informative, with the docent tailoring his talk from the novice to the experts in the crowd. Fascinating.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2015

Costs more than it's worth. Not much to see in the museum. The star party consists of some locals with small telescopes pointed at various celestial bodies. Not very impressive at all. May be ok once, but not twice.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Been to McDonald Observatory? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about McDonald Observatory

Address: Address: 3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
Phone Number: +1 432-426-3640
Location: United States  >  Texas (TX)  >  Fort Davis
Open Hours:
Sunday 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Monday 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Tuesday 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Wednesday 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Thursday 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Friday 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Saturday 10:00 am - 5:30 pm
Average Prices: USD 15 - 15

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Register now for free — and start getting automatic notification of new reviews, responding to traveler feedback, adding new photos to your listing and much more.

Manage your listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of McDonald Observatory and other visitors
3 questions
Ask a question

See all questions (3)

Questions? Get answers from McDonald Observatory staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?