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McDonald Observatory

3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
+1 432-426-3640
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Review Highlights
Star party is great

Attended the twilight program and the star party. Really enjoyed all the knowledge that was... read more

Reviewed yesterday
KKAustin
,
Austin, TX
via mobile
Star Party: Bring a blanket and expand your mind!

It was a cold evening, with a clear sky, and we met in the Visitor's Center with at least 80... read more

Reviewed yesterday
ronjasper
,
Jasper, Canada
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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.
  • Excellent77%
  • Very good17%
  • Average4%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“night sky” (111 reviews)
“solar viewing” (73 reviews)
“star parties” (83 reviews)
Closed Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
LOCATION
3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
CONTACT
Website
+1 432-426-3640

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Write a ReviewReviews (1,050)
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All reviews
"night sky"
in 111 reviews
"solar viewing"
in 73 reviews
"star parties"
in 83 reviews
"twilight program"
in 54 reviews
"laser pointer"
in 38 reviews
"star gazing"
in 44 reviews
"daytime tour"
in 22 reviews
"cloud cover"
in 19 reviews
"new moon"
in 21 reviews
"naked eye"
in 16 reviews
"green laser"
in 13 reviews
"clear skies"
in 16 reviews
"clear night"
in 23 reviews
"star clusters"
in 37 reviews
"light pollution"
in 21 reviews
"solar system"
in 28 reviews
"outdoor amphitheater"
in 17 reviews
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1 - 10 of 1,040 reviews

Reviewed yesterday via mobile

Attended the twilight program and the star party. Really enjoyed all the knowledge that was shared. The staff seems to love what they do.

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

It was a cold evening, with a clear sky, and we met in the Visitor's Center with at least 80 people. We were led to the Amphitheater where we were treated with an educational and fun overview of what we were to see, and what...More

Thank ronjasper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 days ago

We did the day tour and that night also did the Star Gazing Party. The staff at the observatory are all very knowledgeable and we got to see so much. It's definitely worth the trip! I'd recommend it for both adults as well as children.

Thank helenpowers
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 days ago

You are correct, the Observatory has something for people of all ages! Thank you for your great review.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 4 days ago via mobile

We reserved for everything except the 36” telescope. Solar review, Star Party explanation and star party. We ate dinner there and shopped at the gift shop The 2pm lecture was informative, but long Still we were scheduled to be there all day. We had made...More

Thank cmduck
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 days ago

Thank you for spending your time to write such a great review!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

We attended the Star Party on Presidents Day weekend, but we took off early because we weren’t prepared for how cold it would be after the sun went down (take blanket and cocoa). The sky was mostly cloudy this night, though we did see some...More

Thank Diane 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 2 days ago

You've got a couple of great pieces of advice for future visitors: Avoid exposing yourself or others to artificial light sources please! These lighting concerns are something that usually gets addressed by the Star Party host at the beginning of the event, definitely having your...More

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

We booked a 2,5h daytime tour not knowing if we were going to enjoy it, however it exceeded out expectations. Our guide, Rachel, was very knowledgeable and a great speaker/story-teller. It is a very interactive tour which begins in a theater with a live image...More

Thank 134AlexG
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 days ago

The Guided Tour is a great way to see and learn about the cutting edge research that takes place at the McDonald Observatory. Rachel is always a delight and appreciates your kindness! Thank you for checking out the McDonald Observatory and recommending us to others!

Report response as inappropriate
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Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We attended both evening programs and really enjoyed the narration. The programmes run on selected days of the week, so you may need to adjust your itinerary to attend the programs. The Twilight Programme is indoors and lasts one hour. The host brings you up...More

Thank KarishkaLondon
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 days ago

Thanks for taking the time to leave such a thorough 5 star review!

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

We enjoyed the solar presentation and the guided tour of the observatory. It was all very informative. We got a kick out of looking at images from the live telescope pointed at the sun in real time, and learning about what we were seeing. The...More

Thank Rosemary W
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 days ago

Seeing the 107" Harlan J Smith Telescope gliding across the sky is truly a wonder to behold, and getting to be the one to push the button takes it to a whole new level. We're glad you had a great day at the McDonald Observatory!

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Reviewed 4 weeks ago

We took the afternoon tour conducted by a member of the staff. The facility is amazing and the telescopes are much more impressive than we anticipated. If you are in the area and have the time be sure and visit.

1  Thank Jim V
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 days ago

Thanks for visiting!

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

Took the grandkids to a Starlight program during the /Christmas holidays. Thoughly enjoyed the experience

1  Thank Butch K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
McDonald_Obs, other at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 4 weeks ago

Thanks for bringing the family, we're glad you had a good time!

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
wakeman2013
13 February 2018|
AnswerShow all 9 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
6 January 2018|
AnswerShow all 12 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
hellogoodbye_7
17 July 2017|
AnswerShow all 2 answers
Response from Philip P | Reviewed this property |
Generally attending the Star Party the weather is in the 50's due to altitude. Should wear a jacket and long pants.
2
Votes
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