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McDonald Observatory

3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
+1 432-426-3640
Review Highlights
One of my favorite places in all of Texas!

This is a must see attraction in west Texas. The Star Parties are held at night, after sunset, and... read more

Reviewed 3 days ago
Suzanne Z
Austin, Texas
Great Place

We drove a long way to come to a star party and were unlucky enough to have a cloudy night. They... read more

Reviewed 5 days ago
Buffalo, Missouri
Read all 978 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.
  • Excellent77%
  • Very good17%
  • Average4%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“star party” (549 reviews)
“night sky” (103 reviews)
“solar viewing” (69 reviews)
Closed Now
All hours
Hours Today: 10:00 - 17:30
Suggested Duration: 2-3 hours
3640 Dark Sky Drive, Fort Davis, TX 79734-1337
+1 432-426-3640

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Reviews (978)
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1 - 10 of 970 reviews

Reviewed 3 days ago

This is a must see attraction in west Texas. The Star Parties are held at night, after sunset, and are phenomenal!

Thank Suzanne Z
Reviewed 5 days ago

We drove a long way to come to a star party and were unlucky enough to have a cloudy night. They offered us refunds or passes but we chose to stay and look at what we could. That turned out to be Jupiter and it's...More

Thank chevybb
Reviewed 5 days ago

Great place to visit and enjoy while learning about the solar system and stars. Great tours that you can do on your own or with groups.

Thank kimberlym695
Reviewed 6 days ago via mobile

Stopped here on our way to Alpine and were impressed by the operation. We only had time to participate in the presentation about our Sun, with live viewing (with 8 minute delay) of our life sustaining star. Martinique did a wonderful presentation of about an...More

Thank pfefmeister
Reviewed 6 days ago

Amazing experience suited for all astronomy levels... can't believe I waited so long to see this place! Attended the 8:15 Twilight program which gave Dad & I a good overview of the solar system in prep for the Star Party at 9:45... so worth staying...More

Thank Rocko713
Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile

Went to a Saturday night star party with my wife, daughter-in-law, and 3 kids and there was plenty to do. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed looking through the telescopes at Jupiter Saturn and the globular cluster M13. The gentleman making the presentation on the constellations also pointed...More

Thank Lonnie J
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

Got the tickets to the Star Party. One of the coolest things I've done. Everything about the evening was perfect. We were fortunate with a cool, crisp, clear night and the lecture was one of the best. To say informative is an understatement. Then to...More

Thank Rick K
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I took my 17-year-old grandsons to the Twilight and Star Party at the Observatory. Although it started out as a cloudy night, the skies cleared and we were able to see so much. It was a highlight of our trip!

1  Thank Sandra G
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

I won't be able to fully communicate just how wonderful our experience was at Mcdonald Observatory over Spring Break this past March. We booked our ticket for a day time tour and for a Star Party a couple of months in advance (thankfully!) We arrived...More

Thank stayce33
Reviewed 3 weeks ago via mobile

I agree with other reviews that stopped here during the day. My hopes were a little high because I thought the visitor center would be more of a planetarium but I was mistaken. The visitor center is disappointing and you can finish it in about...More

Thank Veronica B
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Questions & AnswersAsk a question
I am trying to decide between the star party and the 36" telescope viewing. From what I read on the website it is not possible to both in the same night so trying to decide which will be the best for our 1 night that we will be there in July.
18 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
Monica N
If we want to participate in all three tours offered. Is there somewhere to wait or something to do while waiting for the Twilight and Star Party? Observatory closes at 5:30 and the other two events start until a couple of hours later, is there something to do while waiting?
8 May 2017|
Answer Show all 5 answers
Response from McDonald_Obs | Property representative |
Depending on the time of the year, the Visitors Center either stay open (generally from October through mid-March/Spring Break) or closes at 5:30p and reopens approx. 1.5 hours prior to the Star Party start-time for that... More
j b
What motel with good ratings is closest to the McDonald Observatory?
30 March 2017|
Answer Show all 10 answers
Response from DallasGBRdiver | Reviewed this property |
The Indian Lodge in Ft. Davis State Park is old but nice. It would be my first choice for nice lodging reasonably close to McDonald Observatory- about 20 miles away. The park is natural and quiet. Cell phone service there... More