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McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis

#1 of 9 in Things to do in Fort Davis
Must see · Observatory · Museum
One of the country's major astronomical research institutions, McDonald Observatory has four impressive telescopes. The largest--the 9.2 m (30 ft) Hobby-Eberly telescope--ranks amongst the largest in the world. Stop by the observatory visitor center to see the staff in action and learn more about their projects and programs, as well as the science of space. Join a guided tour for inside access, or even watch live telescopic images of the sun during a solar viewing session. Be sure to book ahead online, however, as tickets can sell out very quickly. Set at an elevation of 2,070 m (6,790 ft) in the mountains of West Texas, the observatory is part of the University of Texas at Austin, and works closely with its science departments. Plan my trip to Fort Davis with suggested itineraries provided by Inspirock.
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McDonald Observatory reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
1,276 reviews
  • Even though we could not tour inside the telescopes, we still learned a lot. Tours are $10 for adults. Let them know if you can’t walk uphill. The parking area at the first telescope is below the...  more »
  • Husband has been talking about visiting the Observatory for years. He follows them on Facebook and attends their virtual events. Finally found our way here. Like others say..... Make reservations....  more »
  • I did the 82inch telescope special viewing night and it was AMAZING. We saw about 7 objects that night due to rain/clouds. The staff was super helpful and informative. I'm definitely making it a point to go back.
  • The observatory was amazing. My grandson's school had Field trip today and it was great to see how engaging our guide, Rachel, was with the kids. She was great and was able to keep the trip so upbeat and informative. We did have one issue with the staff in the cafe. Because there were 6 people ordering hot food and he said he could not serve food to anyone associated with the school. We attempted to explain we were not part of the group and he got short and refuse to serve us and changed the menu screen to snacks only. That left a bitter taste for wanting to come back. Or if you go bring your own food. The cookies yummy.

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