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“Beautiful night sky with millions of stars” 5 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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Certificate of Excellence 2014
Activities: Dining, Shopping
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Attraction details
Owner description: University of Texas' observatory on Mount Locke.
Austin, Texas
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Beautiful night sky with millions of stars”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 15, 2013

We went to both the Twilight Party and the Star Party on a Tuesday night. Both programs were excellent. The presenter was knowledgeable and made it interesting for those of us who do not know much about stars and constellations. The highlight of the night was being able to look through the telescopes and see Saturn and it's rings and to see the night sky without light pollution. The sky was so clear and the stars so bright it felt like you could reach up and grab a handful of stars.

Visited May 2013
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English first
Houston, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“TSP Technical Tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2013

The extra detail and time spent explaining the history was great. Also getting to visit the Hobby Eberly telescope inside the actual room was awesome.

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sugar Grove, Illinois
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Definitely -- GO THERE”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 7, 2013

We were fortunate, the Tuesday night we had tickets for was clear with 1/4 moon. They do not offer refunds if the sky/weather does not cooperate. There is an initial presentation for everyone that includes a tour of the night sky. Our presenter was knowledgable and funny. His laser pointer will show you exactly what constellation or star he is talking about. After that presentation you have your choice of about 5 different telescopes to look through. You have to be patient and stand in line -- how long depends upon the size of the group that night. But it's totally worth the wait. We saw all the rings of Saturn; the mountain in the middle of the Bay of Tranquility; and so much more. Amazing. It might be a bit much for smaller children and it can get chilly in the evening so bring something warm. We didn't leave until after 11:30 p.m. so if you need a nap during the day to stay awake that late please prepare. But really -- a very special, memorable experience. Get tickets early -- we understand they sell out fast.

Visited April 2013
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McDonald_Obs, Manager at McDonald Observatory, responded to this review, May 8, 2013
Thanks for the comments! Just to clarify a few points .. even though we don't offer refunds for cloudy Star Parties, we've had many folks tell us that they felt like they learned a great deal about what goes on at an Observatory, how astronomers learn so much about the Universe, and more than a few things about the Universe through the various talks and activities we present on cloudy nights.

The number of telescopes will vary depending on how many people we expect to attend the night's program. This is why we strongly encourage making reservations .. w/o getting a reasonable estimate of how many might attend, there's no way to know if we have a sufficient number of telescopes available.

Our Solar Viewings, Guided Tours, Twilight Programs and various Special Viewing Nights do, indeed, sell out. However, our Star Parties do not .. they're open to all. As mentioned above, though, we do still strongly encourage reservations even for the Star Parties to help us plan for the evening.

And, just an fyi .. it's Sea of Tranquility .. not Bay. Wouldn't want you going around the rest of your life using the wrong name! :o) Also, Tranquility doesn't have much of a mountain range. Based on when you joined the program, we think you likely would be referring to the mountain in the middle of Theophilus .. a prominent crater with an impressive central peak most notable just before 1st Quarter Moon. Hope that helps!
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Texas
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Don't Miss the Star Parties”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

The night sky is incredible here, and the programs always fun. Bring a jacket and try to plan a trip when the moon is dark!

Visited April 2013
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Corpus Christi, Texas
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
11 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Universal”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2013

Last time we did the Star Party and it was great. This time we did the Guided Tour with Rachel and she did an awesome job explaining everything. Highly recommend the tour.

Visited May 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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