Visit the Observatory

Sundial courtVisitors enjoy the sundial court at the Visitors Center in Fort Davis, Texas.

The Frank N. Bash Visitors Center is the public outreach center for McDonald Observatory in West Texas. We aim to inform, educate, and inspire through our public programs, and support the teaching of the science and hobby of astronomy.

The Visitors Center is your check-in point for all public programs. Inside, extensive exhibits explain what astronomers do at the observatory. The Visitors Center also includes a theater and gift shop.

Below, find out more about our public programs, including daily tours of the large research telescopes and our famous thrice-weekly Star Parties under some of the darkest night skies in the continental United States.

Special Viewing Night programs on the 36" (through July), the 82" (April & July), and the 107" (through the end of 2014) have been posted. Check out all of them by clicking on Special Viewing Night below or the link above. If you haven't visited the Observatory in a while, perhaps one of these programs on our big 'scopes can justify your trip!


Special 36" "Planet-fest" programs May 2, 3, 5, & 6

View the Moon, Jupiter, Mars, & Saturn as well as a number of deep-space targets on these unique programs!


Open House - April 26th, 2014

Visiting on April 26th? Check out our Open House activities celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the dedication of our 82-inch Otto Struve Telescope.