Daytime Tours and Solar Viewings


McDonald Observatory remains closed to the public


Daytime programs often sell-out in advance throughout the year: Reserve your tickets below.

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

Join a Guided Tour for an up-close look at large research telescopes at McDonald Observatory in West Texas.

A Daytime Pass includes access to the exhibit gallery inside the Frank N. Bash Visitors Center, the Solar Viewing Program in our theater (typically 45-50 minutes), and a guided tour of our large research telescopes (approximately 90-100-minutes). Check the calendar for program offerings and start times.

Passes for the Solar Viewing-only may also be purchased for those who may be on a tight time-schedule.

Self Guided Tours of our largest telescope, the 362-inch Hobby-Eberly Telescope, are available at no charge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. See the drop-down text below for more information on what parts of the facility are available to the public.

K-12 Teachers: Bring your class to the observatory for an educational and inspiring Student Field Experience.

The system defaults to one adult pass. If you don't need that pass, click the number field and select zero. If you're 65 or over and want the senior discount, choose the "Snr (65+)" pass only. There is no need to purchase both an adult and a senior pass.

Be sure to click on the "Book" button as your final step in making your reservation. 


The Information Desk and the Astronomy Gift Shop at the Frank N. Bash Visitors C

Information Desk

Know Before You Go

Dress warmly (especially for evening programs) and bring your reservation confirmation with you. The Visitors Center is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Central Time (and additional hours on Star Party nights) every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. The phone number is 432-426-3640.

When to Visit
Special Needs & Concerns
Pet Policy & Service Animals
Visiting with young children
Cell Phone Usage
StarDate Café Hours of Operation
Frequently Asked Questions
General Information Printout