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“no stars that night” 4 of 5 stars
Review of McDonald Observatory

McDonald Observatory
3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
+1 432-426-3640
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Ranked #1 of 6 Attractions in Fort Davis
Type: Observatories/ Planetariums, Landmarks
Activities: Dining, Shopping
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Attraction details
Owner description: University of Texas' observatory on Mount Locke.
League City, Texas
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“no stars that night”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

Unfortunately the night we went it was pretty cloudy so we didn't get to see anything. They kept us entertained with things inside. There is a cool gift shop & displays to see. The drive there is very dark & we missed the turn in so watch closely.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
McDonald_Obs, Manager at McDonald Observatory, responded to this review, February 6, 2013
Thanks! Cloudy skies are no one's favorites .. including the staff's. When it's at all possible, we do set up telescopes to try to do some viewing even when we think doing so might only be a slim possibility. Sometimes it pays off and we get some views through some holes, other times not so much. Even when the possibility of viewing is remote, we still offer our indoor program to encourage folks to come up to be on hand if we can do some viewing. This is why we don't just outright cancel programs .. there are just too many times when the situation has looked discouraging at the onset only to clear or clear enough to do some viewing. Additionally, we've found that many folks tell us that, while they were disappointed to not have looked through some scopes, they felt like they learned a great deal about astronomy and about how astronomers learn so much about the Universe when they've joined our cloudy night programs.

Regarding the turn-off for the Observatory, during Standard Time we keep the Visitors Center open from 10:00a through the Star Party so folks are more than welcome to do the drive up while it's still light out. During Daylight Time, we open an hour prior to the start of the Star Party to encourage the same. As you found, the entrance is not illuminated but then we can't exactly have a lot of streetlights around and hope to preserve our dark skies.

I hope you get a chance to visit again sometime soon and join us for a clear sky Star Party .. preferably one w/o much moonlight so you can enjoy our dark skies.
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English first
Corpus Christi, Texas
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Star Party was Wonderful!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

If you're in West Texas, a Star Party at McDonald Observatory will be a highlight of your trip. We bought tickets on the web ahead of time since they have tons of visitors during the winter holiday.

The entire experience was amazing. Dress warmly in December, and look forward to a great time.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas, United States
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Wonderful star party experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2013

Go to a star party, seeing the stars through the big telescopes is something I will treasure for a lifetime. Loved this place, its well set up and easy to visit.

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth, Tx
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Guide was terrific! On time for the tour and other things to look at while in their store.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

Great tour and information.Guide was terrific and on time. Very informative and worth the small charge. Greta little store to buy gifts.

Visited December 2012
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Houston
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Star Party”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

The Star Party is unique and very interesting. Saw Jupiter through the big telescope. The Hot Chocolate kept us warm.

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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