Another must-see attraction in Fort Davis  is the remarkable McDonald Observatory (on Hwy. 118, 16 miles west of Fort Davis, 432/426-3640, www.mcdonaldobservatory.org , 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m., $8 adults, $7 children 6–12, additional charge for star parties). Sitting high atop 6,791-foot-tall Mt. Locke, the observatory makes good use of its position approaching the heavens.
Three large domes beckon visitors to the facility, which opened in 1939 with the world’s second-largest telescope and has served astronomers and visitors ever since. The observatory’s impressive equipment includes the massive Hobby-Eberly Telescope, with a 36-foot-wide mirror composed of 91 laser-aligned segments, and two other telescopes to monitor the sun, stars, and planets.
Visitors have the option of attending informative guided tours (11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) solar viewings (30 minutes before the tours) and dramatic star parties (after dusk every Tues., Fri., and Sat.), but the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are reason alone to make the journey.