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). 

Due to solar eclipse activities, on October 14, 2023, guided tours will not visit the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, but guests may access the telescope gallery during General Admission hours.

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.

October 14 Annular Solar Eclipse:

On October 14, 2023, Texas will experience an annular "ring of fire" solar eclipse. Although McDonald Observatory will only see a partial eclipse, we are preparing for visitors who want to experience it with us. Learn more about solar eclipse events here and across the state.