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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
Website
Today
10:00 - 17:30
Open now
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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 880 reviews
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  • 654
    Excellent
  • 156
    Very good
  • 42
    Average
  • 13
    Poor
  • 8
    Terrible
More than one Observatory

We booked online, which we suggest and expected to see two observatory...there are many more. The educational portions of our tour should not be missed. It gives you a better... read more

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed 4 days ago
Camilla S
,
San Marcos, Texas
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880 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 873: English reviews
San Marcos, Texas
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

We booked online, which we suggest and expected to see two observatory...there are many more. The educational portions of our tour should not be missed. It gives you a better understanding of what's out there. Great for kids too. The views are priceless. Take your time and take it all in. Enjoy.

Helpful?
Thank Camilla S
Level Contributor
33 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We sadly went on a cloudy night to the Star Party however they had several indoor lectures on different topics to cover the night. The exo-planets lecture was really good. The volunteers/scientists? who run the telescopes stayed outside in case the sky would clear which in our case cleared right at the very end! But, we did get to see... More 

Helpful?
Thank lc v
Denton, Texas
Level Contributor
38 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

This is one of my life highlights. We started at the Davis Drug store and Hotel, came to the observatory via a beautiful drive where we saw deer, and attended a lecture on Moon Phases, followed by a tour of the facility where I got to "drive" the huge telescope, and then we did the star party. Please, if you... More 

Helpful?
Thank metdo
Palmer
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

The star party was booked. If you'd like to attend a guided evening event, reserve early. The evening events book out far in advance, despite the remote location. So, we attended a daytime tour. Our guide was breathtakingly informed. The presentation was awe inspiring. It made us feel like kids on a school trip, but in a good way. I... More 

Helpful?
Thank Helene A
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

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 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

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?
1 Thank Caraduras
Level Contributor
9 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago 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
463 reviews
159 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
458 reviews
196 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 194 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 2 weeks 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

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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?