We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Fun learning experience”

McDonald Observatory
Ranked #1 of 12 things to do in Fort Davis
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: 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.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase
Austin, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Fun learning experience”
Reviewed June 26, 2012

Sign up for the tour online. 2.5 hours with guide who really knows his stuff. You get to see two world-class telescopes up close and personal.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
Thank Steve F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,003 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    757
    175
    48
    13
    10
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Houston, TX
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“More stars than you can shake a stick at!”
Reviewed June 20, 2012

The McDonald Observatory is hands down one of the best places in Texas to see stars. Go to their website to sign up for a Star Party in advance...they are well worth it. Staff astronomers explain the constellations in detail, and in a memorable way. The telescopes offer more than enough detail to see the moons of Saturn, star clusters, and whatever else happens to be in view that night. Check the weather and dress warm...even Summer star parties can be chilly at these higher elevations.

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
Thank 2pctmilk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Angelo, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Awesome starts”
Reviewed June 11, 2012

A must see and do when traveling in this area. the star party is great. Be sure to take a nap during the day so you can stay up late. Bring a jacket and cap. It was 98 degrees during the day, but a breezy 65 at 10:00pm and felt colder! BEAUTIFUL STARS!

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
2 Thank Matt L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Wowza”
Reviewed June 6, 2012 via mobile

My family drove six hours through west Texas to see the transit of Venus in June 2012. Having never been to the observatory before, we were worried that the drive might not be worth it. It was. The presentation was very educational. I appreciated that the information presented was not watered down too much. We also stayed for the star party, which was remarkable! There was a constellation tour, telescope viewing, and a very happy, informative staff.

Helpful?
2 Thank dvalde2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Deer Park, Texas
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“The Stars are Bright!”
Reviewed June 3, 2012

We were there practically all by ourselves. The staff is so nice and knowledgable. Fun!! The solar presentation is super cool, you can almost see "real" time activity of the sun.

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
Thank kschuetzle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to McDonald Observatory? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing