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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
Today
10:00 - 17:30
Closed now
See all hours
Hours:
Sun - Sat 10:00 - 17:30
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Description:

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 876 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 650
    Excellent
  • 156
    Very good
  • 42
    Average
  • 13
    Poor
  • 8
    Terrible
home school field trip number 2

first off plan your trip as to what the weather will be. we had a great guide named Shannon, he has been there a while and knows his stuff. the tour starts with a 45 minute... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 days ago
Cindy L
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876 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 869: English reviews
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

first off plan your trip as to what the weather will be. we had a great guide named Shannon, he has been there a while and knows his stuff. the tour starts with a 45 minute either live view or recording from a clearer day. then we went up to the smaller of the two domes. spent about 30 minutes... More 

Helpful?
Thank Cindy L
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
101 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

We have heard about the observatory for years and were delighted to finally visit. We arrived in the early afternoon and signed up for both the daytime sun and telescope tour and the evening Star Party. Both were fantastic! It was super cool to be able to go in and see several of the telescopes. Thy are pretty fanstaic and... More 

Helpful?
Thank Caraduras
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW via mobile

The observatory is a marvelous resource in a beautiful setting. We enjoyed the Twilight Program and Star Party. The Twilight Program is indoors, but bundle up for the Star Party in the amphitheater. The cafe provides nice sandwiches and snacks.

Helpful?
Thank Kcsaucier
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
462 reviews
158 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

We went to a Star Party one evening in October luckily on a clear night. The stars were so exciting to see with the naked eye and also through a telescope. The presenter of the program showed us some great sights with a laser pointed toward the sky. The moon was full so we got to see it through several... More 

Helpful?
Thank houstonnative47
G-Patch, Texas
Level Contributor
452 reviews
194 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 192 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

We hadn't planned on visiting the Observatory, so when we had a free evening during our trip to the area, we decided to drive up to see if we could participate in any of the activities. Luckily (and NOT something that usually happens) we were able to get into the Twilight Program AND the Star Party without reservations (which we... More 

Helpful?
Thank P5_Crazy_Train
Texas
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

The Observatory is fascinating and educational. For those who dig astronomy - or just want to sneak a peek at the sun in real time or stars by flashlight/pointer, this is THE stop for you. The 'Daytime tour and Solar viewing" was packed with information, although a bit long for kids under 6y. The evening programs like the Star Party... More 

Helpful?
Thank AnnaWD5
Texas
Level Contributor
77 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

The night we went there was quite a bit of cloud cover. You couldn't see much so the staff did everything they good to still offer a memorable experience. We will definitely return and hopefully will see more!

Helpful?
Thank fortheloveoffood10
South Texas
Level Contributor
115 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Wonderful place. The day we went it was cloudy and overcast. The solar party was indoors with a presentation in the theater. The star party that night was cloudy and rainy as well. There was an indoor presentation in place of the star party that was informative. We have been there before when skies were clear. We were a little... More 

Helpful?
Thank TexasPuma
Fredericksburg, United States
Level Contributor
21 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We were delighted to attend an hour long presentation on the sun. Kelly did a terrific job and invited questions throughout which he answered clearly taking into consideration that many of us have far less knowledge of astronomy. ( Kelly, you might want to look into the mistaken urban legend about Al Gore's comment regarding the internet. Snopes is helpful.)... More 

Helpful?
Thank Holly L
Spring, Texas
Level Contributor
45 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The Observatory has a great visitor's center and the option to go to two observatories to view the telescopes for no charge. We had anticipated attending a star party but the events were already booked for the week. Definitely reserve in advance if you plan on attending a party. We are from the city and just seeing the scenery and... More 

Helpful?
Thank TexanTraveler77388

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Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of McDonald Observatory and other visitors
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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?