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McDonald Observatory

3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
+1 432-426-3640
Review Highlights
A must

Very cheap treat for a good history in astronomy, seeing a big telescope and enjoying the premises... read more

Reviewed July 3, 2016
Houston, Texas
Too cloudy

We were "so" exited to get there and see the observatory on Star Party night that the clouds were a... read more

Reviewed July 3, 2016
via mobile
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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.
  • Excellent77%
  • Very good17%
  • Average4%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travelers talk about
“night sky” (109 reviews)
“solar viewing” (72 reviews)
“star parties” (81 reviews)
Open Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
+1 432-426-3640

Similar Things to Do in Fort Davis

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Reviews (1,017)
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251 - 260 of 1,007 reviews

Reviewed July 3, 2016

Very cheap treat for a good history in astronomy, seeing a big telescope and enjoying the premises. I could have lived without some audience's questions ( people need to read or at least think before they open their mouth hence kudos to the tour director-...More

Thank cesi100
Reviewed July 3, 2016 via mobile

We were "so" exited to get there and see the observatory on Star Party night that the clouds were a let down. No visible stars. Do get tickets reserved before...online. we will be back. Tickets were refunded. We were told in town it was monsoon...More

Thank Lizardia
Reviewed July 2, 2016 via mobile

Highly recommend you make reservations for night time star gazing that happens every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. Fourth of July weekend all was sold out so did a self guided tour instead. Kids enjoyed interactive activities but if you want to listen to information and...More

Thank Karina E
Reviewed July 1, 2016

McDonald Observatory is a must see, but it is a good idea to purchase your tickets well in advance. We had tickets for a Tuesday and witnessed several people leave disappointed because the evening programs were sold out. The drive to the observatory is beautiful...More

1  Thank TrailingR0se
Reviewed June 27, 2016

This is my 3rd time here and we love this visit every time. The star party is the main attraction and Fridays, Saturdays and Tuesdays, make sure to RSVP online in advance as this is becoming a more popular attraction, especially in the summer. There...More

Thank Jeremy M
Reviewed June 24, 2016 via mobile

Although a bit off the beaten path, this is a great place to spend a day and evening. Daytime tours of the working research telescopes as well as solar observation. Have supper at observatory or in the town of Ft. Davis. There is a twilight...More

1  Thank greenjay1
Reviewed June 21, 2016

I took a tough crowd here (15 high school students) and they were totally skeptical when they found out about the trip, but they LOVED it. I couldn't get them to leave. The staff give a fantastic (brief) talk about the stars, pointing out constellations...More

Thank cgrant2708
Reviewed June 21, 2016

When we went to the observatory, it was closed. It was still very nice to visit. We saw deer and admired the fantastic view from so high up. This is a very nice place to visit, even if it is closed. It was truly gorgeous.

1  Thank 813nicki
Reviewed June 19, 2016

we went, knowing we were not going to tour anything. they have a visitors center, with a small cafe, and a gift shop. there is one that you can drive to and go in. it is really cool, to see the inside of one of...More

Thank Martha S
Reviewed June 16, 2016

Very informative star watching party. Staff was very friendly and were knowledgeable. Partly cloudy that night, but amazing views of the moon and Jupiter thru the telescopes, looked like you were so close to them. Nice gift shop. Didn't eat at the restaurant, so can't...More

Thank verbina72
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Questions & Answers
July 17, 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from Philip P | Reviewed this property |
Generally attending the Star Party the weather is in the 50's due to altitude. Should wear a jacket and long pants.
July 17, 2017|
AnswerShow all 5 answers
Response from McDonald_Obs | Property representative |
Summer nights at the Observatory can be mild-to-cool, so be prepared for anything! A typical evening will start in the 70's and drop down to the low 60's, but we certainly get colder temps too. I'd recommend the 'layered... More
May 18, 2017|
AnswerShow all 10 answers
Response from TexasPuma | Reviewed this property |
If the weather forecast is clear I recommend the star party. I was last there in December and the star party was cancelled outside, but they offered different programs inside. I have been there in the summer and the star... More