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McDonald Observatory

3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
+1 432-426-3640
Website
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Review Highlights
Astonishing Night Sky Star Party!

It was our first trip to the observatory. Climbing the mountain it's a thrill just seeing the... read more

Reviewed 4 days ago
MG L
,
Sterling, Virginia
Awesome place

This place has so much information to share and so many programs offered. The people are very nice... read more

Reviewed 5 days ago
kevinl05
,
San Antonio, 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
“star party” (557 reviews)
“night sky” (104 reviews)
“solar viewing” (70 reviews)
Open Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 - 17:30
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

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Reviews (991)
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1 - 10 of 983 reviews

Reviewed 4 days ago

It was our first trip to the observatory. Climbing the mountain it's a thrill just seeing the first glimpse of world class telescopes perched on top. We had advance tickets for the star party, which was sold out. Outside the sky was thick with clouds...More

Thank MG L
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 3 days ago

Our team at McDonald Observatory Visitors Center is always thrilled to get such great feedback, we hope to see you soon!

Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile

This place has so much information to share and so many programs offered. The people are very nice and friendly. Make your reservations early as they sell out quick. Take your kids they will love it.

Thank kevinl05
McDonald_Obs, Public Affairs at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 4 days ago

Thanks for taking the time to review your experience at the McDonald Observatory Visitors Center. Your advice to make reservations early is great too!

Reviewed 1 week ago

We went to all three shows. Twilight, star party and daytime. All were wonderful. Saw the inside if two of the giant telescopes on top of the mountain. Saw real time pictures from the sun, complete with sunspots. Saw eight different telescopes pointing at Saturn,...More

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

Thank you so much for the 5-star review, come back and see us again sometime!

Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Loved the star party. The moon was bright which limited star gazing but I wasn't disappointed. Evening started out with a brief intro talk. Despite the crowd they have this place set up great. We've been to another observatory in Hawaii for a similar event...More

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

Thank you for your great review. You’re right, the moon can be quite bright. Come back and see us on a night around a new moon when the skies are darker!

Reviewed 2 weeks ago

The first stop on your voyage of discovery is the Welcome Center where you can view a video, sign up for a guided tour, or pick up a brochure for a self-guided tour. Before you leave the building though, make sure you take a trip...More

Thank AuntieM64
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Treated myself to the star party and it was worth the drive from El Paso. Despite the bright, almost-full moon and hazy clouds, the night did not disappoint. The tour started with a talk outside and during the talk we saw a satellite speeding across...More

Thank Noé R
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Very nice experience with great tour guides. The educational center was very dated and torn up....my son did not enjoy that part of the experience. However, the gift shop made up for that. We bought the tickets for the Solar watch.....not really very entertaining.

1  Thank Sarah P
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Not accessible to the the Deaf community. Be sure to see the Powers of 10 video. Lot's of places to picnic on the drive from Fort Davis. Needed jackets for the Star Party.More

Thank Daytonmomma
McDonald_Obs, Manager at McDonald Observatory, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

We would sincerely appreciate any/all suggestions as to how to better serve the Deaf community. Our challenge is that none of our programs are entirely scripted which gives us the ability to adjust our content and react to conditions, activity, events, etc., that occur at...More

Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Reserve your Star party in advance and early during your stay in case if weather. You'll still have time to reschedule. It's a must do if in the area. Beautiful scenic drive too.

Thank mmercado7511
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

We purchased tickets for the star party and solar viewing party (on 2 different days). Star Party was excellent. About 10-12 telescopes focused on different things. Those running the telescopes were easy to talk to and great about answering questions. We loved it. Solar viewing...More

Thank MyZiggyMan
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Questions & Answers
hellogoodbye_7
18 July 2017|
Answer Show 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
18 July 2017|
Answer Show all 2 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
Vote
cdunlap2017
19 May 2017|
Answer Show all 9 answers
Response from TexasPuma | Reviewed this property |
If the weather forecast is clear I recommend the star party. I was last there in December and the star party was cancelled outside, but they offered different programs inside. I have been there in the summer and the star... More
1
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