Buy Tickets for Programs


McDonald Observatory remains closed to the public


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.

Programs routinely sell-out throughout the year: 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+)
(age 5-College*)
(age 0-4)
Solar Viewing & Tour (Daytime or Day Pass) $9 $8 $8 free
Solar Viewing Only $6 $5 $5 free
Twilight Program $6 $6 $6 free
Star Party $15 $12 $10 free
Other Programs Prices Vary

* Current college student with a valid school ID. Current UT system faculty, staff, and students should also use this category.

Group Discounts

Groups of 10 or more reserving for a Solar Viewing, Tour, Twilight Program and/or Star Party receive automatic discounts (the reservation system will automatically calculate and apply the discount for you.)

No group discounts are available for Special Viewing Night (SVN) passes. SVN passes should be 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 (including passes for children age 4 and under). Contact us for more information or to let us know if you have special needs. Bring a printout of your online receipt, a digital copy on your device (note that the Observatory does not have public WiFi and is out of cell range) 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
Pet Policy & Service Animals
Visiting with young children
Cell Phone Usage
StarDate Café Hours of Operation
Frequently Asked Questions
General Information Printout