Buy Tickets for Programs

NOTE: The Visitors Center will close at 4pm on Thursday, December 14 so that our staff can attend the annual McDonald Observatory holiday party.

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

Programs often sell-out: Reserve your tickets below.

Visiting during "Spring Break" (March 10-17, 2018)? See our Spring Break page for an expanded schedule of programs.

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 site. Programs begin at our Visitors Center, not on the mountaintop. The Visitors Center includes exhibits, a theater, cafe, and gift shop.

Use the tools below to buy tickets. Carefully check the date of the programs you're reserving, and the number of tickets you need for each, before you buy. 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/$6 $5/$6 $5/$6 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.

In Fort Davis with no internet access? A reservation kiosk is available at the Fort Davis Chamber of Commerce (in Memorial Square) 9am - 3pm Monday through Friday.

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 at least make note of the confirmation code you'll receive from our system. Passes will be under your last name at the Information Desk.

Visiting during "Spring Break" (March 10-17, 2018)? See our Spring Break page for an expanded schedule of programs.

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

Be sure to click on the "Book" button on the final reservations page as your final step in making your reservation. Failure to click the "Book" button will result in no reservations being made.


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