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McDonald Observatory

3640 Dark Sky Dr, Fort Davis, TX 79734-3010
+1 432-426-3640
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Review Highlights
Star Party a must!

Do Not Miss the Star Party! Seriously, it is an amazing experience. After we had made our... read more

Reviewed today
nannyg264
,
San Antonio, Texas
Amazing experience for future astronomers

When we booked this trip, we didn’t know it would be a new moon. It was the PERFECT setting for... read more

Reviewed yesterday
2610TX
,
TX
via mobile
Read all 1,095 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” (77 reviews)
“laser pointer” (39 reviews)
Closed Now
Hours
Hours Today: 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
LOCATION
3640 Dark Sky Dr, Fort Davis, TX 79734-3010
CONTACT
Website
+1 432-426-3640
Write a ReviewReviews (1,095)
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All reviews
"solar viewing"
in 77 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
"clear night"
in 26 reviews
"green laser"
in 13 reviews
"clear skies"
in 17 reviews
"star clusters"
in 38 reviews
"day tour"
in 27 reviews
"solar system"
in 28 reviews
"outdoor amphitheater"
in 17 reviews
"light pollution"
in 21 reviews
"milky way"
in 41 reviews
"bring a jacket"
in 19 reviews
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1 - 10 of 1,084 reviews

Reviewed today

Do Not Miss the Star Party! Seriously, it is an amazing experience. After we had made our reservation, we read about the size of the crowds and were a bit hesitant. The crowd is not a problem at all. The presentation is very interesting and...More

Thank nannyg264
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed yesterday via mobile

When we booked this trip, we didn’t know it would be a new moon. It was the PERFECT setting for stargazing that evening. The stargazing talk at the amphitheater was a bonus to both novices & self-proclaimed experts. Most of the people running telescopes at...More

Thank 2610TX
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

Went to twilight program, star party, and solar program. Too cloudy to see much but staff had cloudy day program and show us a lot digitially. Wish I could see more stars on their telescopes but only so much they could control. Great programming and...More

Thank Samantha J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
See more reviews
Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We enjoyed the information and star gazing. The workers were very informative and patient with children that tend to bump the scopes. They also stayed on top of where the scope was pointed to make sure everyone could enjoy the viewings. The laser pointer used...More

1  Thank Melany V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The tour of the telescopes and surrounding facilities is incredible and very informative. The tour guide, Shannon W is very knowledgable and answered many questions about the facility and the space program. The star party is a must also and is very informative and entertaining....More

1  Thank rwmoreau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

The tour was very informative and enjoyable-----even in the DOWN POUR!! Thankful for the clearing skis for the STAR PARTY!! We looked at galaxies, galaxies, planets, stars, THE HEAVENS!! BEAUTIFUL !! Great for all ages!!

Thank mmcf1994
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Great observatory. We had a wonderful guide. She was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We were not able to go to the night sky party but went during the day to see the solar video. it was really interesting.

Thank Noreenanmarina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks 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 4 weeks 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

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks 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 4 weeks 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

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 weeks 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 4 weeks 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!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
John R
April 8, 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
1
Vote
wakeman2013
February 13, 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
1
Vote
ninibeaner
January 6, 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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