Evening Programs

All programs require advance reservations, which are subject to capacity limits. Access to the Observatory grounds is only allowed for visitors with reserved passes.

Check the calendar for programs and start times.

Evening Sky Viewing:


On scheduled evenings, the Visitors Center offers a completely outdoors, open-air star gazing tour. Enjoy an unaided-eye tour of the evening sky including major constellations, bright stars, and other objects of interest including the Moon, planets, and satellites from the outdoor Amphitheater at the Visitors Center. Visitor Center staff share information about some of the practical uses of the stars, the mythology of some constellations, and the scientific understanding of various patterns and objects in the night sky. Binoculars are welcome, and are also a great way to get a little something extra from the program.

Please note that the program, at this time, does NOT include telescope viewing.

Your evening program ticket includes access to the Visitors Center, including the exhibit hall and gift shop. Doors open one hour prior to the program start time. Program length is approximately 1 hour.


Dress appropriately for the weather. The Visitors Center is located at approximately 6,300 ft (2,000 m) above sea level in the Davis Mountains. All programs take place entirely outdoors and evenings can be very cold at any time of the year. The amphitheater seating is stone benches; feel free to bring a blanket or cushion for added warmth and comfort. 

Online advanced reservations for passes are required, and in order to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors, program capacity is limited and strictly enforced. 

Programs may be cancelled at any time due to weather or public health concerns.


The system defaults to one adult pass. If you're 65 or over and want the senior discount, choose the "Snr (65+)" pass and remove the adult pass. Be sure to click on the "Book" button as your final step in making your reservation. 

McDonald Observatory is located 450 miles west of Austin and is on Central Time.


 

Amphitheater with Milky Way

Amphitheater with Milky Way (horizontal)