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McDonald Observatory

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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
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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.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 558 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 418
    Excellent
  • 96
    Very good
  • 26
    Average
  • 10
    Poor
  • 8
    Terrible
Most beautiful view of the stars in all of the lower 48! Highlight of our trip!

For our trip to the McDonald Observatory, we booked in advance the 11:00 AM Solar Viewing and Tour and also bought tickets for the night-time Star Party at 9:30 PM. The solar... read more

5 of 5 starsReviewed August 4, 2015
Amanda M
,
Greenville, Texas
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558 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Greenville, Texas
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2015 NEW

For our trip to the McDonald Observatory, we booked in advance the 11:00 AM Solar Viewing and Tour and also bought tickets for the night-time Star Party at 9:30 PM. The solar viewing takes place in the main visitor center, and the guide showed us "live" views (it takes time for images of the sun to travel back to Earth)... More 

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San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
52 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 4, 2015 NEW

My experience as a whole was awesome. The twilight seminar was cool but a little long. The demonstrations were fun. It was very educational and would be cool for anyone interested in astronomy. Be courteous and limit your cell phone use at the star party.

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Land O Lakes, Florida
Level Contributor
42 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2015 NEW

Yes, it does rain about once a year and it happened to be the one night we were there. We started the day with a solar party and tour, which including a lecture on solar evolution and stellar fusion. We then went to the top of the mountain to see the inside of the larger telescopes. At night, we attended... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Hockley, Texas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2015 NEW

Very best place for viewing the stars. Tours and programs were excellent. We loved visiting McDonald Observatory every time we camped at Fort Davis State Park.

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Round Rock, Texas
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2015

I grew up in Marfa Texas and we go back there every few years. This trip we took our granddaughter. The view of the surrounding area is magnificent and when you plan ahead and get a tour usually ( from 11am til 2pm) you can learn and see how very large telescopes work and about astronomy. Wonderful attraction for the... More 

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Abilene, Texas
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2015

Start party was great. The kids loved it. very educational. Definitely would do it again. The guides there are the best.

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Level Contributor
36 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2015

this is an amazing place to view the stars. We visited on a tuesday night and really enjoyed the class about how to spot satellites as well as the constellation tour. Make sure you read the web site before you go. There are days when the facility is not open .. Also i prefer to go on the new moon... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Level Contributor
15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2015

Have gone to three Star Parties so far. Always different, because it's always a different time of year. Kids love looking through all the telescopes afterwards. Guide is incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining. Go during the day and revisit at night!

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El Paso, Texas
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2015

Visited the observatory in the end of April. We planned on making it to the Star Party, which was completely worth it! The light pollution is completely minimal, which allows for a greatly visible night sky. They also set up 7 telescopes to view various solar system objects (Jupiter, Venus, two views of the moon, center of the milky way).... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Fort Worth, Texas
Level Contributor
130 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2015

I remember coming here as a child and wanted to experience it as an adult. So, I drove four hours to come to the star gazing party. Initially two other people were going to come with me. After i got the tickets they said they couldn't go. I immediately emailed the costumer service department to let them know an error... More 

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Additional Information about McDonald Observatory

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

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Questions & Answers

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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?