Daytime Programs

The Visitors Center is open 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Check the calendar for programs and start times.

General Admission:

Explore the Visitors Center exhibit gallery and gift shop and take a self-guided tour of both summits. 

Solar Viewing:

This theater-based program includes live views of the sun (weather permitting) as well as a discussion of the formation, visible features, and the future of the Sun. On not-so-clear days, previously-captured video and stills are used. This is typically a 45-50 minute program.

Guided Tours:

Experience an up-close look at large research telescopes at McDonald Observatory. The program includes general admission to the Visitors Center and a guided tour of two of our research telescopes (approximately 90-120-minutes). 

Special Tours:

Travel back in time to see the first telescope built at McDonald Observatory! The 82-inch Guided Tour includes admission to the Visitors Center, as well as a guided tour of the 82-inch Otto Struve telescope.  Guests will visit the dome building and observing floor, learning about the history of the Observatory and operation of the 82-inch telescope, then and now. Duration is approximately 75 minutes. The 82-inch Telescope is not wheelchair accessible.  Transportation from the Visitors Center to the summit of Mt. Locke is provided. Reservations Required.

Group Reservations are available for 15 or more people. Astronomy Field Trips are available for school visits.

* Residents of Jeff Davis, Brewster, and Presidio counties receive free General Admission and Guided Tour passes with valid proof of residency. 

Please include all members of your party in your reservation, including children of any age. For the safety of all of our guests, minors must be accompanied by an adult (18 or over) on all of our public programs. Contact us for more information or to ask about accommodations.