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McDonald Observatory

3640 Dark Sky Dr, Fort Davis, TX 79734-3010
+1 432-426-3640
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Nice..!!!

I like all the MCdonaldo burger and so there are going with my friend and fully enjoy there. They... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
Ghanshyam K
via mobile
A day at the Observatory

Went went to the Solar Viewing and the Star Party. Had a really good time at the Solar Viewing... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
David j
,
Austin, United States
Read all 1,088 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.
  • Excellent76%
  • Very good18%
  • Average4%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“solar viewing” (76 reviews)
“laser pointer” (39 reviews)
Closed Now
Hours
Hours Today: 10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
LOCATION
3640 Dark Sky Dr, Fort Davis, TX 79734-3010
CONTACT
Website
+1 432-426-3640
Write a ReviewReviews (1,088)
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All reviews
"solar viewing"
in 76 reviews
"twilight program"
in 56 reviews
"laser pointer"
in 39 reviews
"large telescopes"
in 34 reviews
"cloud cover"
in 19 reviews
"new moon"
in 21 reviews
"naked eye"
in 16 reviews
"green laser"
in 13 reviews
"clear skies"
in 17 reviews
"clear night"
in 25 reviews
"star clusters"
in 38 reviews
"day tour"
in 27 reviews
"solar system"
in 28 reviews
"outdoor amphitheater"
in 17 reviews
"light pollution"
in 20 reviews
"milky way"
in 41 reviews
"bring a jacket"
in 19 reviews
Filter

1 - 10 of 1,077 reviews

Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

I like all the MCdonaldo burger and so there are going with my friend and fully enjoy there. They provide best service to their guest and also location us very nice..!!More

Thank Ghanshyam K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Just to be clear, there are no burgers here... The McDonald Observatory has no association with the golden arches. We do have the Star Date Cafe inside the Visitors Center though, so if you're interested in a tasty sandwich or quesadilla with your dark skies,...More

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Reviewed 1 week ago

Went went to the Solar Viewing and the Star Party. Had a really good time at the Solar Viewing, gut to tour several of the telescopes and got a good lay of the land for the entire facility. Sadly, the Star Party was a bust....More

Thank David j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Clouds can be a bummer, but the Star Party always proceeds regardless of the sky conditions. We offer indoor programs for the duration of the event and keep our telescope operators standing by with hopes for improvement in the weather. Regardless, come back and try...More

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Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We only went for the star party. The twilight and star party were both sold out. The road to the place is a narrow mountain road with switch backs. The people presenting all were very knowledgable and helpful. There were 5 telescopes set up for...More

Thank Dan B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Great idea bringing the blankets, they can provide insulation and a little cushion for the stone benches in the outdoor amphitheater where part of the Star Party takes place. Meteors, telescope views, dark skies, we're glad to share the experience with everyone! See you soon!

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Reviewed 1 week ago

We visited the observatory with a group ages 15 to 80. The 15 year old was the most impressed and energetic of our group. However he was disappointed that many of the exhibits in the visitor center were out of order, and in bad need...More

Thank OuCilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Thanks for visiting!

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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Did the tour that included an educational presentation and close up of two telescopes. Rachel was a great presenter, so knowledgeable and good sense of humor. Was easy to tell she is passionate about astronomy. Wish we had visited when our children were in middle/high...More

1  Thank Donna S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

The Guided Tour is absolutely one of the best ways to get an intimate look at the two biggest telescopes here at McDonald Observatory. We're glad you enjoyed your visit and thank you for leaving a 5 star review!

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Reviewed 2 weeks ago

One of the major attractions at the observatory is the "star parties" However, the observatory is located at the top of a dark, twisty road, so we decided to do the solar program, a 2 12 hour guided tour which is partly about the sun...More

2  Thank Beverly D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

The Star Party is definitely the main viewing event, held every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday at the Visitors Center. If you want to look through telescopes, the Star Party is a great opportunity. Don't let the mountain roads scare you though, they are well maintained...More

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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The staff is very easy to work with. We had tickets about 2 yrs ago and decided to postpone and when I went to use again, the process was super simple. Unfortunately you are at the mercy of mother nature so we ended up leaving...More

Thank vinvert1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

You're absolutely correct about being at the mercy of mother nature, the sky conditions can have a dramatic influence on the way our programs proceed. We understand the challenge in visiting such a remote site and thus we try to be accommodating. See you again...More

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Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

We were worried about the full moon but had a great time. There was a full crowd but the lines at the telescopes were not too long. Give yourself time to shop, the gift store has nice tshirts and books. Take a jacket, it really...More

1  Thank Lisa K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Cool temperatures can come at any season, your advice to take a jacket can't be overstated. I'd recommend dressing in layers so you can adjust to our erratic West Texas conditions. Thanks for checking out the Star Party at McDonald Observatory!

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

My husband, 19yr old grandson, and I thoroughly enjoyed the twilight class on the moon. Then, we attended the star party and learned about the constellations. Both instructors were excellent teachers, entertaining as well as very knowledgeable and willing to answer questions. The star party...More

Thank Cherylp24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 3 weeks ago

Sounds like you had a fun filled and educational experience. Thank you for visiting the McDonald Observatory!

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

The best ever constellation review during the StarParty. A must with a visit to this stellar site. One piece of advice, dress warmly for the night programs.

Thank Tara H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

We're glad you enjoyed the Constellation Tour, it's definitely a highlight of any Star Party. Thanks for visiting the McDonald Observatory!

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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
John R
9 April 2018|
AnswerShow all 8 answers
Response from McDonald_Obs | Property representative |
I'd say it's worth it, but I might be a little biased as an employee at the Visitors Center. The 36" can certainly provide some great views when the sky conditions allow. We try to show the widest possible selection of... More
0
Votes
wakeman2013
14 February 2018|
AnswerShow all 11 answers
Response from McDonald_Obs | Property representative |
There are different fees associated with each of the programs. With regards to the Special Viewing Nights, they are more expensive and available only on a limited schedule. 36" Special Viewing Night- $65 per person 82... More
0
Votes
ninibeaner
7 January 2018|
AnswerShow all 14 answers
Response from McDonald_Obs | Property representative |
The Observatory does have the Astronomer's Lodge, but as the name suggests it is primarily for visiting research astronomers. To qualify for use of the Astronomer's Lodge you must be a scientist utilizing one of the research... More
2
Votes
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