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.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

McDonald Observatory

Certificate of Excellence
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Get directions
Address: 3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
Phone Number:
+1 432-426-3640
10:00 - 17:30
Open now
See all hours
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.

read more

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 944 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 705
  • 165
    Very good
  • 44
  • 13
  • 9
Star Party

What an experience to stand and see the stars so clearly. Even though it was a packed spring break crowd still very special.

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Dunblane, Perthshire
via mobile
Add Photo Write a Review

944 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
  • More
Showing 936: English reviews
Dunblane, Perthshire
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

What an experience to stand and see the stars so clearly. Even though it was a packed spring break crowd still very special.

Thank CharlieWhite
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

we went on an afternoon tour with guide Kelly, who's knowledgeable and fun and made it a great experience.

Thank txnightowl
El Campo, Texas
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We had a great time here. Were able to tour 2 of the buildings housing the telescopes. We had a great tour guide, she answered most every question that was asked about the telescopes and was very enthusiastic about her job...

Thank Karen T
Level Contributor
365 reviews
95 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 107 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The presentation was very entertaining, I learned a lot! We had to wait awhile to see the telescopes but the Moon was worth it. I loved seeing the planets up close. A really fun experience! Bring a jacket, it gets cold at night.

Thank Kuhllikethat
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
215 reviews
108 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Being able to see the sky through the 17 telescopes setup to reflect the presentation of the sky before was fascinating. Even though there was almost a full moon that added a lot of light the presenter with his laser was able to show us stars, constellations, planets and the dippers. I even learned how to estimate latitude using Polaris... More 

1 Thank Marilyn A
Mansfield, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
40 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Attended a Star Party with our 10 year old son. Oh my goodness it was amazing. He loved the close up of the moon and I must admit it was spectacular! We saw so much thought their numerous telescopes and the Astronomers present were friendly and a wealth of knowledge. This is a must see for any visitor to the... More 

2 Thank Denise S
Lubbock, Texas
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

Awesome place to visit. They have a star party at night. Make your reservations ahead of time because it sells out quickly. Make sure to take the driving route around this observation ...it's beautiful. The route will be given to you at the McDonald Observation, must ask for it.

Thank abeandsarah
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
337 reviews
88 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 129 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We had a cloudy night so we did not get the full benefits of the star party but we learned a lot and enjoyed ourselves. Kelly gave a great twilight program about the moon. Star party was officially cancelled but they provided informative alternatives. There is a cafe there but lines get long. Good gift shop with lots of cool... More 

Thank travelingworkingmom
McDonald_Obs, Manager at McDonald Observatory, responded to this review

Thanks for the positive review of even a cloudy night program. Sorry to see that the weather didn't cooperate for you ... I hope you get a chance to come back and experience our beautiful skies. BTW, the Star Party wasn't "canceled". The indoor programs we offered was the Star Party for the evening. Even though we started off with... More 

Graham, North Carolina
Level Contributor
12 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

Be sure to make reservations early, as all shows sell out. We went to all 3 of the offerings. The Star Party is not to be missed! More stars that we've ever seen in the sky. Memorable was using many of the less gigantic telescopes and seeing the clouds of Jupiter along with 4 of it's moons, plus a spiral... More 

Thank dherron100
Lubbock, Texas
Level Contributor
91 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We bought tickets about two weeks in advance to a Saturday night Star Party and it is a good thing we did as I'm sure it was a sell out. It was simply amazing how many stars you could see with the naked eye from up there! Be sure to bring a coat as it gets chilly at night and... More 

1 Thank Lisa G

Been to McDonald Observatory? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

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

Claim Your Listing

Questions & Answers

Here's what previous visitors have asked, with answers from representatives of McDonald Observatory and other visitors
13 questions
Ask a question

See all questions (13)

Questions? Get answers from McDonald Observatory staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
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?