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McDonald Observatory

Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
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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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380 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
addison, United States
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014 NEW

This is a fabulous place because you can see so many stars! Plus, you get to see the huge telescope. It's massive.

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5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2014 NEW

My first trip to the McDonald observatory was supposed to be a short time killer as I had very little interest in astronomy as an adult. However I spent the entire day and late into the night there. Somewhere along way attending lectures, tours, and the Star Party I found the joy I experienced as kid in the backyard with... More

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Tulsa, Oklahoma
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
12 attraction reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 18, 2014 NEW

We spent a day here with our son & two grandkids - one 9 and one 12-year-old. It was a GREAT experience - yes, very educational and fun!!! The kids were interested and my wife & I LOVED it!! You can do the three tours in one day, which we did, but next time we want to spend more time... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
30 attraction reviews
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2014

This observatory operated by the University of Texas is well worth a trip. They have a number of large telescopes, as well as several smaller ones. There are star parties and educational lectures for visitors. Also tours of some of the telescopes. For anyone interested in astronomy this is a great attraction. Nearby Fort Davis is also worth a trip.... More

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Alpine, Texas
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
6 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2014

We took our 10 year old granddaughter to the Observatory for both a Twilight and a Star Party. The Twilight Party was indoors and was very educational. The Star Party was a big hit. They pointed out the visible planets and stars, then showed us how to find many of the constellations. The night sky is amazing...everything is seen so... More

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15 reviews 15 reviews
7 attraction reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 15, 2014

But - the day tour was interesting. Be prepared to do a good bit of standing. The staff is knowledgeable, professional, friendly ... a very informative tour. The movie was well done, and the facility on the whole was well presented. You will learn a lot!

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San Antonio
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2014

We did a Star Party, a solar viewing with tour and a Special Viewing Night program. The Star Party was a solid 4 stars. It started with a very basic astronomy and constellation lesson. then we moved to the viewing area. Numerous telescopes were staged, with each pointing at a different celestial object. An astronomer was posted at the stations... More

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4 reviews 4 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2014

We enjoyed the tour, and the self-guided walk through the museum. The personnel were very knowledgeable. Seeing saturn through the large telescope was incredible. We saw features on the moon including shadows that were mind-blowing. It is cool up there even in July so bring a jacket! A big highlight was when one of the presenters gave my daugher some... More

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Houston, Texas
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

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

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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