Evening Program: Star Parties

Evening programs routinely sell-out well in advance throughout the year: Reserve your passes below.

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

Every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday evening (except where noted), the Visitors Center hosts our popular Star Party program.

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 at the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center. Star Parties are approximately 2 hours in length and are fun for the entire family. Binoculars are welcome, and are also a great way to get a little something extra from the program. 

Dress appropriately for the weather, the Star Party takes place outdoors. Because of our altitude, it can be cooler than expected at any time of the year. Our amphitheater seating consists of stone benches, so feel free to bring a pad or blanket for added comfort. Please note that there is some walking (at ~6300 ft in altitude) involved to participate in the program.

Star Party start times change with the seasons. Check the calendar for program offerings and start times for the date you plan to visit.

Buy Passes


  Adults DISCOUNT: Military
Senior (65+)
Students (5+)
Children under 5

General Admission

Solar Viewings

Guided Tours

Star Party













*Locals receive free daytime General Admission and Guided Tours.  "Locals" are residents of our tri-county area (Jeff Davis, Brewster, and Presidio) with valid proof of residency.

Passes are required and, in order to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors and protect our sensitive environment, program capacity is limited. Capacity limits are strictly enforced. Star Parties on Holiday weekends often sell out weeks or more in advance. We strongly encourage purchasing Star Party program passes in advance as passes are rarely available the day of the program. Make your reservations below.

UT & Military Discount:  The Visitors Center offers a discount to our UT colleagues with a current valid UT ID. To receive this discount, simply enter any passes for current UT students, staff, or faculty under the Discount category. Active duty military should also select the Discount category.

The Evening Programs passes include General Admission.