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McDonald Observatory

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

Let me start by saying that you definitely need to make reservations online. Don't just show up... read more

Reviewed 5 days ago
DandTLee
via mobile
Came for the stars but got clouds

We came on a Friday night for the Twilight program and the Star Party. We don't see so many stars... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
tridcod
,
Annandale, New Jersey
Read all 1,013 reviews
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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%
Travellers talk about
“star party” (575 reviews)
“night sky” (109 reviews)
“laser pointer” (41 reviews)
Open Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 - 17:30
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
LOCATION
3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
CONTACT
Website
+1 432-426-3640

Similar Things to Do in Fort Davis

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Reviews (1,013)
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1 - 10 of 1,003 reviews

Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

Let me start by saying that you definitely need to make reservations online. Don't just show up. They sell out! We enjoyed the whole evening. The constellation talk was very informative. The highlight for us was seeing Saturn and it's rings. I would caution parents...More

Thank DandTLee
Reviewed 1 week ago

We came on a Friday night for the Twilight program and the Star Party. We don't see so many stars in the East due to light pollution, so we were anxious to see an unobstructed view of the night sky. The twilight program was an...More

Thank tridcod
Reviewed 1 week ago

We drove 7 hours for a night viewing at the 107" telescope. Our program guide, Judy, was perfect for the job. She is charming and engaging, and started the evening off very well. Dr. Cochran was the guest astronomer. He brought a very complicated science...More

Thank RSTexas5554
Reviewed 1 week ago

We attended three guided tours; The Star Party, Modeling The Night Sky and Solar Viewing. Each had a different objective. I would say The Star Party was humbling, brought into focus by a very knowledgeable guide. Modeling The Night Sky was very interactive led by...More

Thank Harlan H
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Sounds like you got to experience the full range of programs, seeing the contactless cleaning in progress is a special treat too! Thanks for sharing you positive review!

Reviewed 1 week ago

We attended the Star Party and Modeling the Night Sky! Both were excellent. This is a wonderful opportunity to view the beauty of the heavens. Staff presenting the talks were very knowledgeable and excellent speakers.

Thank judybhutch
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Our program staff members are always happy to get such great compliments, thanks for the 5 star review!

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The staff at the observatory are fully prepared to amaze no matter the weather. We attended a classroom lecture on exoplanets, which was interrupted with the announcement that there was a cloud break. We filed outside to access several high-powered tracking telescopes (smaller than those...More

Thank ExploreFun4
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Thanks for sticking around for the experience in spite of the cloudy conditions! We always try to stay flexible and adapt to the sky as it changes, telescope viewing is our #1 priority for the Star Party.

Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

First of all make sure you plan to go on a night when the moon is not out and hopefully no clouds. I went on a night where the moon was over half full and drowning out many of the stars you could see and...More

Thank Lionel P
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Sounds like you had a good time despite that pesky moon. The moon is quite bright and you'll definitely see more stars and deep sky objects when the it isn't up during the Star Party. Thanks for the great review, and for leaving all the...More

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Most interesting activity on our recent vacation. Staff at the observatory was friendly and eager to help everyone learn. Clouds caused them to alter plans, but when clouds left late in evening, the staff immediately hustled to get telescopes up and let everyone see planets...More

Thank JimWorstell
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Thanks for your visit and we're glad you got to enjoy some telescope viewing during the Star Party. Our staff is dedicated to showing everybody the sky in whatever way the conditions allow, whether clear or cloudy!

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

As stated in Texas Monthly--Mc Donald is the crown jewell of Texas. 3 major Telescopes--Largest is 9 meters. Many first time discoveries including multiple exoplanets-- A leading facility in the study of dark energy. Exceptional public education including outside "Star Parties", presented in the round...More

Thank david c
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Thanks for visiting and leaving a great review! The Observatory is indeed one the pinnacles of science and educational outreach in the State of Texas. We're fortunate to have the support of the University of Texas at Austin and visitors like you!

Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The drive to the observatory was breathtaking. We had a great time as a family. Plenty to see and do for both kids and adults. Some of the displays were not working however. Hopefully they will be fixed soon.

Thank gracielatercero
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Highway 118 snakes through the Davis Mountain Range up to the McDonald Observatory and definitely provides some breathtaking vistas. Thanks for bringing the whole family and for leaving the positive feedback!

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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
hellogoodbye_7
18 July 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.
2
Votes
hellogoodbye_7
18 July 2017|
AnswerShow all 4 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
1
Vote
cdunlap2017
19 May 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
1
Vote