Getting on/off motorcoach; traveling about 120 miles, approximately 6.5 hours total, depending on stops and traffic. Standing up to 2 hours; seating available. Climbing 5-10 steps for Star Party; dress warm.
At the hotel, we’ll have a breakfast buffet featuring hot and cold dishes and beverage choices of milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.
We’ll hop back on the motorcoach for a field trip to the Fort Davis National Historic Site. As the U.S. Park Service describes it, Fort Davis is one of the best surviving examples of an Indian Wars frontier military post in the Southwest. We’ll have a presentation by a local expert about life here and begin to develop an appreciation of native inhabitants of the region, Buffalo Soldiers, early settlers, and the importance of mail coaches and freight wagons during the westward expansion of the United States. At the post hospital, we’ll get a glimpse of what frontier medicine was like.
At a popular restaurant in Fort Davis, we’ll have lunch with a beverage choice of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. As we eat, a longtime resident of the area will tell us about life out west and share some of the area’s history.
We’ll then ride to the McDonald Observatory. With observatory staff, we’ll set out on a walking field trip to explore the Visitor’s Center. In the auditorium, we’ll have a solar viewing. We’ll learn how the Sun formed and what changes solar experts predict over the next 5-6 billion years. Then, we’ll ride to the Observatory. We’ll set out on a walking field trip with observatory staff to observe and learn about the large, state-of-the-art telescopes and the important research conducted here. Afterwards, we’ll have some independent time to explore exhibits in the visitor center and contemplate advances in the world of astronomy before returning to Fort Davis.
We’ll board our motorcoach and ride to a popular local restaurant. We’ll have a plated meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
We’ll ride back to the McDonald Observatory for a Star Party. In the outdoor amphitheater, an astronomer will tell us about the observatory as well as visible planets and constellations. As we listen, we’ll gaze at the sky and see what we can observe with just the naked eye; far away from city lights, the stars, moon, and planets are visible with amazing clarity. Then, we’ll have an opportunity to view the magnificence through the myriad of telescopes around the plaza. Note: Depending on the weather, the Star Party may take place indoors using virtual sky simulation software. Then, we’ll ride via motorcoach back to the hotel. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.