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McDonald Observatory

3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
+1 432-426-3640
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92%
Ranked #1 of 6 Attractions in Fort Davis
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Type: Observatories/ Planetariums, Landmarks
Activities: Dining, Shopping
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Attraction details
Owner description: University of Texas' observatory on Mount Locke.
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426 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2014 NEW

McDonald Observatory offers great tours at 11 am and 2 pm daily. Our leader was expert in all matters astronomical. Tour lasted 2 hours plus and was very inexpensive. Got to operate one of the huge telescopes, viewed live images of the sun and got a thorough and fascinating freshman orientation in the stars and the planets. Visitor Center was... More

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Pearland, Texas, United States
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2014 NEW

Great night! We're not avid astronomers, but we loved the star party. A big thank you to all the volunteers who manned the 12 telescopes and helped novices like ourselves navigate the night sky.

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San Antonio, Texas
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
25 attraction reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2014 NEW

The nighttime star party is great. On the night of our visit it was clear and dark so the stars were bright and easy to see. The guide did a great job of narrating our tour. He answered all questions that were asked and after the main show we all were allowed to view some of the stars through about... More

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Edmond, Oklahoma
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2014

The observatory has a day tour and an evening star party. During the day you get a tour of the observatory by one of the staff and if lucky get to move the 8 ton telescope. Very knowledgeable and interesting. The star party has 7 telescopes et up allowing you to look at star clusters and Nebulae. Bring a pillow... More

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Granbury, Texas
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2014

Great tour of the Observatory. Guide was very knowledgeable. We will take the tour on our next visit. We will also do the nighttime tour next time.

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Fort Davis, Texas
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 attraction reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2014

Over the years I've visited the McDonald Observatory, no matter what time of year you visit...Bring a jacket if your going to be there after dark... This place is neat to visit, Great gift shop with a star, space, galaxy theme. Reasonably priced for a family visit. I recommend the guided tour of the 3 telescopes. This is something not... More

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McDonald_Obs, Manager at McDonald Observatory, responded to this review

While I would like to thank you for your positive review, if you've visited the Observatory many times over the years and have never paid for a Star Party, you sort of owe us quite a bit. Star Parties are most DEFINITELY NOT .. I repeat, NOT free! Current online reservation prices are $12 for adults, $10 for Military/Senior/UT, and... More

Austin, Texas
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 attraction reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2014

Great time at the star party. Went to the twilight program as well but if I went again I would just attend the star party. I would also recommend taking many layers, jacket hat gloves etc no matter what the weather forecast says. Also if attend the twilight party take all of your layers in at that time because it... More

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Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2014

It wasn't exactly what I was expecting but still an interesting place to visit. The outdoor program was quite informative and the presenter did a great job of explaining things in terms a "non-astronomer" could understand without being condescending. I wasn't expecting to wander around to various portable telescopes and wait in line to take a quick peek thtough the... More

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McDonald_Obs, Manager at McDonald Observatory, responded to this review

Thanks for the review! We have a pretty detailed description of the Star Party available on our site that leaves little doubt about the nature of the activities we offer during that program. There are a number of challenges involved with providing display screen views of objects at the Star Party. I'll discuss them here but the same and more... More

Kerrville, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2014

Absolutely the most beautiful place to see a sky full of stars! The "Star Party" was worth the trip & the fee. The drive is scenic, too. A must see destination anytime one is in that area. We have been twice and will go again. Lovely little town of Ft. Davis was a nice place to visit and shop as... More

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Arlington, Texas
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2014

McDonald Observatory is the only professional observatory to give the general public access to giant telescopes. Plus these are some of the darkest skies in the Lower 48. Even without a telescope you will be amazed at what has been over your head every night. Search http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/visitors/programs/special-viewing-nights for info on viewing nights on the 107" & 82" telescopes. These are... More

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