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McDonald Observatory

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
Phone Number:
+1 432-426-3640
10:00 - 17:30
Closed now
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Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:30
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours

The McDonald Observatory Visitors Center staff appreciate all of the...

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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 959 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 717
  • 168
    Very good
  • 44
  • 13
  • 9
puts the Griffith to shame

We spent most of a day here, starting with the mid-day tour and solar viewing. After a scenic drive in the afternoon, we returned for the evening program about the moon (truly... read more

Reviewed 4 days ago

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959 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 951: English reviews
Level Contributor
36 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

We spent most of a day here, starting with the mid-day tour and solar viewing. After a scenic drive in the afternoon, we returned for the evening program about the moon (truly interesting for all ages) and then the Star Party. I knew that there would be multiple telescopes set up for viewing, but did not realize they would be... More 

1 Thank AixTex
Level Contributor
27 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Of the many fantastic places like Alpine, Marfa and Big Bend the McDonald observatory is a must see during your trip. To see the stars the sky must be clear so make sure you check your forecast. I would also recommend that you arrive to the observatory early so you can enjoy all the educational programs and star parties before... More 

Thank Paulwang127
Brenham, Texas
Level Contributor
50 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

This was on our bucket list to visit. Very informative and educational. Promotes space education for all! We viewed the Solar Session/Film and the Star Party at night. It was so crowded that it is hard to wait in line for the lunar views through the telescopes. We were disappointed that only a few constellations were pointed out. Ended after... More 

Thank Texas_traveler77833
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

Star Party was an amazing experience! You must try it, if you can. They tell you all about the stars

Thank Joel I
Crockett, Texas
Level Contributor
91 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

We were not able to go the the Star Party, so that is still on the bucket list. However, we went during the daytime and still enjoyed it. The Welcome Center is amazing! From the peak, you can see such a long way.

Thank trfdar
Seguin, Texas
2 reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Had the most awesome evening at the McDonald Observatory in March of this year it was our first trip to Fort Davis and the observatory was high on my list of things to do I was not disappointed we started off the evening with the twilight party got to see all kinds of videos of all of the constellations very... More 

Thank missmermaid777
Hereford, Arizona
Level Contributor
213 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 week ago

We went to the Twilight program (fun lecture, nice how the speaker involved the kids in the audience) and then the Star Party. Well worth it. Such a beautiful site and the opportunity to look through good telescopes at Jupiter and some star clusters, just unsurpassed. Also wish I had a laser pointer like the outdoor speaker had when showing... More 

Thank Liza W
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
172 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Well worth the drive to the very remote location. We did the twilight show and star party, then the solar view and tour the next day. Worth every penny. Dress warmly because it does get cold!!! We got to see more space and stars than I ever dreamed. Staff was very friendly and funny - smart too!

Thank Karen G
Round Rock, Texas
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Although I have been to the Star Party several times before , this was my 1st trip in a number of years. They keep adding on and improving it. It is cool just to go up there and see how an observatory is set up and run. On the other hand, the cost is $18 to listen to a generic... More 

Thank David F
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
127 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

great program for learning of the stars and getting a chance to view stars, the moon and visible planets through several telescopes. night programs only done 3 nights a week and sell out so make reservations. they also do sun viewing tours during the day and they also sell out great people manning the telescopes and the program introduction.

Thank jfp01

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Questions & Answers

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
  • How do I get there using public transportation?
  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?