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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
Christmas Trip

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

Reviewed 2 days ago
Butch K
,
Texas
Perhaps spring or summer would have been better time to attend Star Party

We attended the Star Party on Friday, Jan. 12th. As the moon had not come up, the sky was clear... read more

Reviewed 5 days ago
Gary B
,
Spring Branch, Texas
via mobile
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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 AM - 5:30 PM
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
LOCATION
3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
CONTACT
Website
+1 432-426-3640

Similar Things to Do in Fort Davis

Write a ReviewReviews (1,041)
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1 - 10 of 1,031 reviews

Reviewed 2 days ago

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

Thank Butch K
McDonald_Obs, other at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded yesterday

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

Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

We attended the Star Party on Friday, Jan. 12th. As the moon had not come up, the sky was clear and dark, but unfortunately, the only planet in view was Uranus and with the 20+” telescopes, there is no detail. Perhaps if the moon was...More

Thank Gary B
McDonald_Obs, other at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded yesterday

Uranus is somewhat lackluster as far as planetary telescope targets go. Even through the largest ground based research telescopes you'd be hard pressed to see much detail, as Uranus lacks any distinct features compared to Jupiter with it's striped upper atmosphere or Saturn and its...More

Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

A nice trip with nice people but the main event is the Star party on tues,Thu, sat. Unfortunately too cold for me in Jan. The solar view is a good trip around the facility but a little dry compared to the main event. We will...More

Thank Stevey1631
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Indeed, winter in the Davis Mountains can be quite cold. My recommendation: bundle up, bring some thick blankets, and break out those pocket warmers. Taking a few measures to prepare for the cold conditions can go a long way to making the outdoor event more...More

Reviewed 1 week ago

learned a lot at the star party, it was FUN. So dark out there, it is amazing. Staff was super friendly and very accomedating

Thank Tom B
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

If you had fun AND learned a lot at a Star Party, we consider our mission accomplished. Thanks for visiting and leaving a great review!

Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

We had an excellent time at the star party. We were lucky with clear skies. Viewing thru the different telescopes were really amazing. I suggest hitting the telescopes early while the constellation presentation is going on. While the presentation is good, the lines get long...More

Thank hbfranke
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

If you're super crunched for time or the conditions are particularly brutal, bailing out on the constellation tour can be a great way to snag some quick telescope views and bypass the lines. However, skipping the constellation tour means you might miss out on some...More

Reviewed 1 week ago

My wife and I have attended the star party on three occasions, and it never disappoints. Just be prepared to dress warmly in the colder months. You'll have a spectacular nighttime view of the stars! Hopefully, the weather will cooperate and provide clear skies.

Thank Aggiedirtdoc
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

Clear skies will go a long way to ensure your Star Party experience is super, but don't let cloudy skies scare you off. We'll have an education and entertaining Star Party regardless of the sky conditions. Thanks for visiting, maybe we'll see you again soon!

Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Wow! Have you ever looked up to see an incredible sky full of so many stars they light up the sky? This place should be on your bucket list. I definitely recommend the Twilight Program along with the Star Party. The Twilight Program takes place...More

Thank Sunlovinj
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 1 week ago

We love to hear about repeat visitors, certainly the sky has so much to offer some folks can never get enough. Each season has it's unique atmosphere and the potential targets for the Star Party changes too. You'll see a totally different kind of sky...More

Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We highly recommend the 30 minute drive up to McDonald Observatory. There is a free self-guided tour and inter-active video. The views are fantastic and the drive-up is beautiful. Restrooms are available at the top.More

Thank Michele C
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs Specialist at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

The self guided tour is great for guests that might be crunched for time, it'll show you around the summit of Mt. Locke and give you lots of great information about some of the sights and telescopes. If you're looking for a more comprehensive experience...More

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

One of my favorite activities in this area is the Star Party at the UT McDonald Observatory. It never gets old. Make sure you get your reservations ahead of time, as this party sells out quickly.More

Thank ACWilson
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Your advice to make reservations ahead of time is great, purchasing tickets online (mcdonaldobservatory.org) is the only way to be guaranteed a spot for the Star Party and any of the other regularly scheduled programs. Thanks for the 5-star review, and come back and see...More

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The visitor center is a great place to start your tour. Visit the various telescopes and explore the heavens. You must see the night show to make it complete

Thank chernobog1
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

We're glad you had a great adventure at the observatory, and thanks for leaving the great review!

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Ask a question
Questions & Answers
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
0
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
hellogoodbye_7
17 July 2017|
AnswerShow all 5 answers
Response from McDonald_Obs | Property representative |
Summer nights at the Observatory can be mild-to-cool, so be prepared for anything! A typical evening will start in the 70's and drop down to the low 60's, but we certainly get colder temps too. I'd recommend the 'layered... More
1
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