Evening Programs

Do you plan to visit McDonald Observatory during the busy Spring Break 2024 period (March 9-16, 2024)?  We offer an expanded programs schedule during this peak visitation time.

Check the calendar for programs and start times.

Star Party

Enjoy night sky constellation tours in the Helen S. Martin Star Amphitheater and views of celestial objects through a number of telescopes in the Rebecca Gale Telescope Park behind the Visitors Center. Star Parties are approximately two hours in length and are fun for the entire family.

In the event that weather is likely to prevent views of the night sky, Visitors Center reservations staff will contact (via text and email) program participants to explain available options. Please be sure to include your mobile phone number and email address when making your reservation. 

Reschedules and Refunds:  On cloudy nights, refunds (minus a $3 processing fee) may be offered. Refunds may only be claimed on the night of the program. Except for weather emergencies (flooding, snow, ice, etc), no-shows will not be rescheduled or refunded.

Special Viewing Nights

On select nights throughout the year, the Visitors Center offers special viewing programs on our large research telescopes. These programs have limited capacity and offer amazing views in an intimate and historic setting on the smmit of Mt. Locke.

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

Important: McDonald Observatory, part of the University of Texas at Austin, is located 450 miles west of Austin and is on Central Time.

The reservation system defaults to one adult pass; please remove that pass if not needed. 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.