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McDonald Observatory

Certificate of Excellence
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Get directions
Address: 3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
Phone Number:
+1 432-426-3640
10:00 - 17:30
Closed 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.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 894 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 666
  • 157
    Very good
  • 43
  • 13
  • 8
Full moon

It was a great star party. The crowd wasn't too big. Very interesting! We will be going back next month.

5 of 5 bubblesReviewed yesterday
Boyd, Texas, United States
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894 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 887: English reviews
Boyd, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed yesterday NEW

It was a great star party. The crowd wasn't too big. Very interesting! We will be going back next month.

Thank LB_RB2013
Grapeview, Washington
Level Contributor
515 reviews
222 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 168 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

We have looked at stars and galaxies at other observatories, so instead decided to try the late morning viewing of the sun. Our guide started with information about the sun and then moved the remote telescope to different areas of the sun to watch projected on the screen in the auditorium. We then had a tour of the observatories up... More 

Thank Jim B
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

McDonald Observatory is a treat that leave one amazed. Be ready for a night of interesting learning and magnificent viewing of the heavens. The observatory is a structure but within the structure are people who tell a realistic and captivating story of time and space. The Star Party event is entertaining and filled with information that comes alive at the... More 

Thank Philip P
San Antonio, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

We spent the better part of a day visiting the observatory because it was so interesting. We did the guided tours and the Star Party. While it was an excellent tour, some of it was way more detailed than I could understand, but still very enjoyable...take from it what your level of understanding can handle. It is out in the... More 

1 Thank Geri W
Aubrey, Texas
Level Contributor
68 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

My husband and I enjoyed the star party, but we felt like there were too many people. We did not get a chance to look at all of the telescopes because the lines were too long. I am sure we could have stayed longer but we felt like it was too packed. The actual star party host guy was really... More 

Thank EmKay823
San Antonio, Texas
Level Contributor
65 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

The trip to get to the Observatory is part of the fun. It's a beautiful drive through the Davis Mountains. We went on a Friday in February, which ensured us of a crowd free day. We booked tickets online for the tour and the sun lecture in the afternoon, the twilight lecture, and the star party. All 3 events were... More 

Thank Mommabearsmith
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Definitely a must see!! Do the tours and star gazing!!! Wow! Plan ahead, especially in warmer months, we were told that thousands visit from schools and groups.

Thank Sheri R
The Woodlands, Texas
Level Contributor
87 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We went to the Star Party and viewed many constellations which were well described by the docent. We saw Orion nebula and full moon through the telescopes. Amazing

Thank Cheesehead_In_Texas
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Our star party was rained out, so we chose to stay for the indoor program rather than take a refund. It was an interesting program, and we're glad to stayed. we decided to go to a second one a few days later, with better weather, and that one was spectacular. Volunteers had their rather large telescopes trained on interesting things... More 

Thank Deanna D
Cascade, Idaho
Level Contributor
41 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

As I checked into Indian Lodge at the state park at dusk, staff suggested I hustle up the road to the Star Party. Although late, it was worth every minute I was there. An astronomer gave us a guided tour of the night sky - complete with a bright almost-full moon. And, there were telescopes we could look through. Awesome!!!

Thank jonneh126

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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?