Welcome to Friends of McNeil River

Friends of McNeil River is proud to have provided a
financial grant to assist in the 
production of the “River of Bears”.



Come to Alaska to see the largest gathering of bears in the world! Shot in stunning 4k fulldome video, River of Bears takes you to the legendary McNeil River State Game Sanctuary, where more than one hundred brown bears congregate each summer to fish, mate and prepare for the harsh Alaska winter.

Immerse yourself in this wild setting while learning from experts how the bears navigate one another with remarkable intelligence in order to survive. You will never see these iconic animals the same way again.  

Schedule at the UAA Planetarium

Click on the links to jump to the show descriptions on the UAA web page.

Shows started in mid January and throughout February. See the planetarium webside for more information on the next presentations available. As each of the shows has sold out almost immedietely after being announced, you’ll have to be a bit bearish in grabbing the next available tickets.

Shows are free for current UAA Planetarium members, $10 for adults, $5 for UAA students (with a valid ID), and $5 for children (4-18 years). Because the theater is dark and can be scary for young children, we do not recommend bringing kids under the age of 4. Maximum seating capacity is 67.


We hope you get a chance to view it.  Log onto the UAA Planetarium website for a schedule of times of showings and for ticket reservations. Once the semester is over at UAA, the presentation will be shown at the Anchorage Museum Planetarium for the summer. For potential out-of-state presentations at other planetariums, contact the Planetarium Director at (907) 786-1838 or planetarium@uaa.alaska.edu for more information.



Photo: River of Bears creative team Jonathan VanBallenberghe and Travis Rector. Philip Hall/University of Alaska Anchorage

Article: By  | January 13, 2014 – 5:15 pm

UAA Planetarium Offers Unique Look Into McNeil Bear Sanctuary

If you are lucky enough to get a permit, the McNeil River Sanctuary in Southwest Alaska offers an opportunity to safely get up close and personal with the largest congregation of brown bears in the world. Read more >>

“McNeil has a lottery system and at its peak, the odds are about 1 in 10 for getting in,” says Rector. “So there are a lot of people who want to go, but don’t get to go. What our planetarium can do is give you an immersive video experience and the sensation of being there.” 

Read full article here >>