Posted: 4/14/23

TAMIU LBV Planetarium Celebrates Anniversary and Earth Day, Debuts New Show 


LBV Planetarium

Texas A&M International University’s (TAMIU) Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium celebrated its 18th Anniversary and Earth Day on Saturday, April 15, at noon with the debut of its newest show, Backyard Wilderness.

Dr. Claudia San Miguel, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said the Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium has been one of the campus’ and community’s most popular destinations since first opening in 2005.

“We have proudly welcomed thousands of visitors since our opening, and through innovative programming and experiences, we continue to be a popular community and visitor destination. Having a Planetarium on our campus is a definite draw, but also a catalytic opportunity for collaboration, outreach and research…all of which have been underway continuously since our opening,” Dr. San Miguel noted.

Backyard Wilderness captures the unexpected wonders of nature. It shares a seasonal year around a suburban home, displaying unique wildlife images and behavior – all captured by cameras mounted inside dens and nests and moving along the forest floor and pond bottom, revealing its many inhabitants. 

This immersive, hemispheric, digital film follows the daily dramas of common animals -- like the turtle, heron, frog, raccoon, and dragonfly -- juxtaposed with the activities of nearby humans apparently more concerned with their computer screens and mobile devices. 

Planetarium dome show ticket prices are $5 for general admission, as well as University faculty, staff, students and alumni, and $4 for children, ages 3-12. Tickets can be purchased in-person at the Planetarium’s box office.

Other family-friendly Anniversary activities included creating a Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden by planting wildflower seeds in a pot, as well as a DIY-inspired animal headband and a coloring activity. Hot dogs, popcorn, candy, other snacks, and beverages were sold. 

Planetarium director Peter Davis said its outreach provides a truly unique and memorable experience for audiences of all ages.

“The Lamar Bruni Vergara Planetarium is a community outreach arm of TAMIU and serves South Texans of all ages. It is home to a state-of-the-art system that projects a video image onto an encompassing dome, immersing the audience in a near-virtual reality, surround experience that’s always memorable,” Davis explained.

He noted that Backyard Wilderness has garnered several awards, including ‘Best Children’s Film’ at the International Wildlife Film Festival and ‘Best Creativity Film’ at the Beijing International Film Festival. It also earned Gold Awards for Best Short Documentary, Best Family/Children’s Film, Best Directing, and Best Cinematography at the 52nd Annual Worldfest. 

For more information about the film or to watch a trailer, visit the Backyard Wilderness website at https://backyardwildernessfilm.com/ or the Planetarium’s webpage at https://www.tamiu.edu/planetarium/planetariumshows.shtml.  

For more information, call Davis at 956.326.3128, or email peter.davis@tamiu.edu.