Buy Tickets for Programs

Please visit us! See some of the largest telescopes in the world and learn about fascinating science in a daytime guided tour. At night, enjoy fabulous views of celestial wonders through telescopes operated by our expert guides.

The Gift Shop and the StarDate Cafe will be closed on August 22nd, 2019.  Cold/pre-prepared sandwiches, cold drinks, and various snacks will be available for purchase via the Information Desk. Regular programs will occur and the rest of the Center will be open.

Programs often sell-out: Reserve your tickets below.

Important: McDonald Observatory, part of the University of Texas at Austin, is located 450 miles west of Austin and is on Central Time.


Join us for any (or all!) of the following programs at our West Texas observatory. The Visitors Center features exhibits, a theater, cafe, and gift shop and is where you can learn more about our programs. 

Use the tools below to buy tickets. The system defaults to one adult pass. If you don't need that pass, click the number field and select zero.

K-12 Teachers: Bring your class to the observatory for an educational and inspiring Student Field Experience.


  Adults Military
Senior (65+)
(under 6)
Solar Viewing & Tour (Daytime or Day Pass) $8 $7 $7 free
Solar Viewing Only $5 $4 $4 free
Twilight Program $5 $5 $5 free
Star Party $12 $10 $8 free
Other Programs Prices Vary

Prices shown are for online reservations only - prices are higher for passes purchased at the door.

Volume Discounts

Groups reserving for a Solar Viewing, Tour, and/or Star Party receive automatic discounts:

  • Buy 5-9 passes — 50 cents off every pass
  • Buy 10-19 passes — 75 cents off every pass
  • Buy 20 or more passes —$1 off every pass

No group discounts are available for Twilight or Special Viewing Night (SVN) passes. SVN passes are reserved separately from other reservations to ensure that important information about those programs is sent to you. See the SVN pages for more info.

Please include all members of your party in your tour reservation. Contact us for more information or to let us know if you have special needs. Bring a printout of your online receipt, or make note of the confirmation code you receive from our system. Passes will be under your last name at the Information Desk.

The system defaults to one adult pass. If you don't need that pass, click the number field and select zero.

If you're 65 or over and want the senior discount, choose the "Snr (65+)" pass only. There is no need to purchase both an adult and a senior pass.

Be sure to click on the "Book" button on the final reservations page as your final step in making your reservation. 



Visitors enjoying a star party at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center at McDonald

Star Party

Know Before You Go

Dress warmly (especially for evening programs) and bring your reservation confirmation with you. The Visitors Center is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Central Time (and additional hours on Star Party nights) every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The phone number is 432-426-3640.

When to Visit
Special Needs & Concerns
Visiting with young children
Cell Phone Usage
StarDate Café Hours of Operation
Frequently Asked Questions
General Information Printout